PARIS (Reuters) – A Pakistani minister on Sunday withdrew comments she made earlier that President Emmanuel Macron was treating Muslims like Nazis had treated Jews in World War Two.
France’s foreign minister had demanded Pakistan authorities withdraw the comments posted on Twitter by Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari.
She posted the remarks following a clash between Pakistan and France over the publication of images of the Prophet Mohammad by a French magazine.
The images have sparked anger and protests in the Muslim world, especially in Pakistan.
“Macron is doing to Muslims what the Nazis did to the Jews – Muslim children will get ID numbers (other children won’t) just as Jews were forced to wear the yellow star on their clothing for identification,” Mazari had said in a tweet linking to an online article.
The article was however amended earlier on Sunday to reflect the fact that the idea, if implemented, would be applied to all children in France and not just to Muslim children.
In a follow-up tweet on Sunday, Mazari initially doubled down on her claims following a condemnation by France’s foreign ministry late on Saturday, which described them as “blatant lies, imbued with an ideology of hatred and violence.”
Later on Sunday, however, Mazari tweeted: “The article I had cited has been corrected by the relevant publication, I have also deleted my tweet on the same.”
She said she had been alerted to the correction by the French ambassador to Pakistan.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had told RTL radio the comments were unacceptable and should be withdrawn from Twitter, but said he was remaining prudent because some media had been taken advantage of and had since clarified their articles.
Pakistan’s parliament at the end of October passed a resolution urging the government to recall its envoy from Paris, accusing Macron of “hate-mongering” against Muslims.
Macron had paid tribute to a French history teacher who was beheaded by an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of speech.
French officials have said the beheading was an assault on the core French value of freedom of expression.
After satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo re-published the cartoons in September, Macron defended secularism, saying the freedom of belief went hand in hand with freedom of expression including the right to blaspheme.
(Reporting by John Irish,; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, William Maclean)