Members of Syrian Community Centre of Windsor protest, condemn France over Muhammad cartoons

·2 min read

Members of the Syrian Community Centre of Windsor gathered outside city hall on Friday to protest France 's reaction to Muhammad cartoons.

The group of about 30, held up signs condemning French President Emmanuel Macron for recent anti-Muslim comments and his staunch support of secular laws that deem caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad as protected under freedom of speech.

"So here we're at least doing our part in Windsor as the Syrian Community Center and expressing, raising awareness across all social media platforms and by standing here, we're showing that we don't condone those actions and we don't support them," said Ibrahim Alsalkhadi, youth representative of the Syrian Community Centre of Windsor Ont.

For days, protests have taken place across the world in Muslim-majority countries, in effort to condemn France over Muhammad cartoons.

The demonstrations follow a gruesome beheading near Paris of a French teacher who showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in class. The 18-year-old Chechen refugee who carried out the attack was later shot dead by police.

Alsalkhadi said the violent behaviour carried out in the attack is not condoned or supported, adding that he believes the accused belongs to "extremist groups."

"Our religion definitely does not support such actions," he said.

Macron and members of his government have vowed to continue supporting such caricatures as protected under freedom of expression.

Dale Molnar (CBC)
Dale Molnar (CBC)

Muslims around the world, including members of the Syrian Community Centre of Windsor have been calling for both protests and a boycott of French goods in response to France's stance on the caricatures.

Alsalkhadi said while the protest in front of Windsor city hall is symbolic, he also hopes the demonstration "inspires" the Canadian government to respond to "disrespectful actions against Muslims."

"So if the government sees those actions and how the Canadian citizens are offended by those actions, then the Canadian government might be as well might as well be inspired... to take more effective actions and, for example, boycott France and just take better actions to prevent France from continuing with such disrespectful actions to Muslims," he said.