Treatment on a mental level

Erdoğan says Macron is crazy for not being a fan of political Islam.

France has recalled its ambassador to Turkey for consultations after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insulted his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

He said Mr Macron needed a mental health check for pledging to defend secular values and fight radical Islam.

Mr Macron has spoken out forcefully on these issues after a French teacher was murdered for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class.

That is, for showing cartoons of Mo as part of a class on freedom of speech. The BBC should have included that instead of making it sound as if Paty showed the cartoons just for the hell of it.

Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad can cause serious offence to Muslims because Islamic tradition explicitly forbids images of Muhammad and Allah (God).

Islamic tradition can forbid what it likes but it’s not the boss of all of us. Paty was teaching a class in a school, not a madrassa; we are not required to obey Islamic tradition.

But state secularism – or laïcité – is central to France’s national identity. Curbing freedom of expression to protect the feelings of one particular community, the state says, undermines the country’s unity.

It’s not a “community,” it’s a religion. Calling it a “community” is manipulative.

Responding to Mr Macron’s campaign to defend such values – which began before the teacher was murdered – Mr Erdogan asked in a speech: “What’s the problem of the individual called Macron with Islam and with the Muslims?”

He added: “Macron needs treatment on a mental level. What else can be said to a head of state who does not understand freedom of belief and who behaves in this way to millions of people living in his country who are members of a different faith?”

Erdoğan is the one who is not understanding freedom of belief here. Freedom of belief includes not believing in any god, and it includes freedom of questioning, discussion, analysis, doubt, disbelief, non-belief.

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