The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the UAE has said that French President Emmanuel Macron was correct in his call to “reform” Islam in order to “integrate” Muslims into society. “[Muslims] have to listen carefully to what Macron said in his speech,” Anwar Gargash told German daily Die Welt, “He doesn’t want to isolate Muslims in the West, and he is totally right.”
Gargash rejected claims that Macron is seeking to exclude Muslims. “[Muslims] need to be integrated in a better way. The French state has the right to search for ways to achieve this in parallel with combating extremism and societal closure.”
The UAE official accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of exploiting the anti-Macron anger across the Arab and Muslim world for personal gain. He praised Macron’s hostility against the Turkish leader.
“French President Emmanuel Macron is one of the few European politicians who is openly opposing Turkey’s regional expansion,” said Gargash. “Europe needs to take a united position on Turkey.”
He claimed that Erdogan exploits weaknesses for his own gain. “When confronted with red lines, he will be prepared to negotiate.”
Gargash’s statements came amid continued popular protests in the Arab and Muslim world against Macron’s remarks on Islam in which he accused Muslims of “separatism” and defended the publishing of cartoons supposed to be of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Following calls for a boycott of French products, Macron was interviewed by Al-Jazeera. He cooled the rhetoric and said that he understands the feelings of Muslims about the cartoons.