French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has been severely criticized at an international religious gathering in Tehran for republishing offensive cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
Addressing the gathering on Tuesday, Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Qaemmaqami condemned the decision by Charlie Hebdo to re-circulate the sacrilegious cartoons of Prophet Muhammad as an act of “savagery.”
Representatives from Nigeria, Yemen, Argentina and Pakistan attended the international gathering.
“That the French publication says ‘it has done the right thing and will do that again’ is indicative of an inherent malice,” Qaemmaqami said.
“We hope that humanity will have a change of heart and that the current Satanic rule, which is a throwback to the ignorance of the past will end soon,” he added.
The cartoons were republished earlier this month on the eve of the trial of suspects in a deadly attack on the paper’s office five years ago, drawing strong criticism from Muslim countries who call it an Islamophobic act.
French President Emmanuel Macron refused to condemn the measure, citing freedom of expression, claiming it was not right for a political leader to get involved in editorial matters.
In Iran, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei condemned the French magazine, saying such hostile moves are rooted in the “deeply anti-Islamic policies” of Zionists and arrogant governments.
Ayatollah Khamenei also denounced as “unacceptable” French politicians’ refusal to condemn the blasphemous caricatures under the guise of respecting free speech.
Also speaking at the Tuesday gathering, Zohreh Elahian, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, slammed human rights organizations for their double standards on freedom of speech and religion.
“Today, the glittering slogans of peace and justice in Western societies have become a tool for genocide and insult to the holy Prophet of Islam,” she said, criticizing the rights bodies for turning a blind eye to the French magazine’s move, which has hurt feelings of Muslims in France and across the world.
While claiming to be advocates of freedom of belief and religion, the rights bodies remain silent in dealing with anti-Islam moves by Western countries, said the Iranian lawmaker.
Referring to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which says
no one has the right to take action that triggers war, Elahian said the move by the French magazine was aimed at provoking “Muslim anger” and an ensuing retaliatory measure, which would thus help fuel “Islamophobia” in the Western world.
The Iranian parliamentarian further criticized the United Nations for its failure to denounce such anti-Islam measures taken by Western societies.