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Open letter from Ramiz Mehdiyev to Mr. Macron: ''Who supports the Armenian occupation in your example...''

Open letter of the President of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, Academician Ramiz Mehdiyev to the President of the French Republic, Mr. Emmanuel Macron

Dear Mr. President!

  As it is known, the rapid spread of insulting cartoons targeting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in France in recent days and the open support of this unpleasant tendency by the leadership of the Fifth Republic and by you personally have been met with justified anger and protest from the Muslim world. As a manifestation of this outrage, the heads of French diplomatic missions in the Middle East were summoned to the Foreign Ministries of these countries and given a note of protest, as well as a widespread campaign launched to boycott French goods. The Islamophobic behavior of the French leadership has caused deep concern in Azerbaijan, where the vast majority of the population is Muslim and is dominated by centuries-old traditions of tolerance.

 Of course, the incident that caused the cartoon scandal - the murder of high school teacher Samuel Paty on October 16, 2020 by a Muslim teenager, who insulted his religious feelings in front of his peers, caused us the same anger and regret. There can be no justification or explanation for such behavior. All manifestations of violence are unacceptable.

 However, instead of giving an objective legal assessment of incident, taking precautionary measures against intolerance and religious violence, the French leadership chose to insult Islamic values, especially the Prophet Muhammad, thereby provoking a wave of protests in the Muslim world. There have been incidents in France in the past, such as the insult of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and in most cases have resulted in a tragic end. The most obvious example of this is the massacre that took place in 2015 in the editorial office of the famous French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

 It is also true that the organizers of the cartoon scandals have never received such open political support from previous heads of state of France, and there have been no attempts to legitimize their actions in such an aggressive way. Statement by French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin that it is legal to openly broadcast cartoons that degrade the religious feelings of Muslims and support of this statement by President Macron led to an opinion that France is gradually abandoning fundamental human rights and universal values such as tolerance.

 Mr. Macron, remember that you are the head of a state governed by the rule of law, where many people live and where different faiths coexist. According to the French constitution, you are the president of all French people, as well as Muslim citizens of France. Protecting the rights of citizens and respecting their fundamental rights and freedoms is one of your most important responsibilities. Giving the green light to insult the religious feelings of some French citizens by discriminating on religious grounds is, first of all, a gross violation of French law. Also, the intolerant position of the French leadership on this issue means that the values and legal norms established by the Great French Revolution gained by blood and perseverance of the French people, have been erased.

  Yes, I do not rule out that your position on Islamic values, especially on the Prophet Muhammad, is the product of your worldview. Of course, everyone is free to believe in one religion or another, or to approach a historical figure. It is impossible for anyone to force their views on another. But in any case, the limit of this freedom cannot be so unrestricted as to offend the feelings of others. Most importantly, Mr. Macron, you and some members of your team must understand the responsibility of the high government positions they hold, and be able to put aside hatred and sympathy and be guided by the rule of law and the high interests of France.

  Along with all this, Mr. Macron, it would be good for you to study the activities, personality and heritage of the Prophet Muhammad carefully and objectively, free from the captivity of stereotypes. This will help You to understand the true mission of the progressive role played by this prominent, noble figure in the history of mankind in the seventh century. You will be convinced that the West had to travel for centuries to achieve the democratic political tradition established by the Prophet Muhammad 14 centuries ago, and that fascism and anti-Semitism, which are characteristic of Europe, have never been observed in the Islamic world, as a result of his established system of values.

 I think it is necessary to bring to your attention one more point. The crimes, massacres and looting committed by European colonizers in the Middle East in the 18th and 20th centuries are well known. The history of French colonialism is also an undeniable fact. Against this background, the representatives of the Muslim people who resisted the European colonizers never linked the incidents with Christianity, including the Prophet of that religion, Jesus Christ. On the contrary, Jesus Christ has always been held in high esteem by Muslim theologians and thinkers, who regarded him as one of the greatest representatives of the prophetic mission. The mentioned tradition is based on a culture rooted in Islam, the teachings of the Holy Quran, and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad.

 Muslims have never blamed Christianity or Jesus Christ for the fascist leaders brought up in Europe, such as Hitler and Mussolini, or for the Inquisition executioners such as Tomas de Torquemada, and have never attacked these sacred values. In my opinion, this is the greatest rationality, tolerance and culture. Attacking the Prophet Muhammad, who lived 14 centuries ago and preached peace and brotherhood at all stages of his life, due to a group of fanatics who committed terror and violence under the guise of Islam, is nothing but a manifestation of simple thinking and lack of culture.

 I must note with regret that the people of Azerbaijan also suffer from your habit of making decisions based on your personal sympathy or hatred in important foreign and domestic policy issues. Your reaction to the anti-terrorist operation launched by the Azerbaijani army in Karabakh on September 27 this year in accordance with all norms of international law will forever be remembered by Azerbaijanis as a clear example of subjectivity and biased approach. By supporting occupation of Azerbaijnai lands, Nagorno-Karabakh and its seven surrounding regions of Azerbaijan recognized by the world, including France, by Armenia for nearly 30 years, you are opposing your country's mediation mission under the OSCE Minsk Group. You should know that by obstructing the implementation of 4 UN Security Council resolutions confirming the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, you are undermining the system of legal relations formed in the world after the Second World War.

 For some reason, the French leadership and the media, trying to justify the criminal regime in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the actions of the aggressor Armenia, turn a blind eye to war crimes such as the killing of Azerbaijani civilians by rocket attacks in Ganja, Mingachevir, Barda and Tartar. As the head of a state with a mission to ensure peace, you must stay away from such blatant pro-Armenianism and apologize to our people, as President Ilham Aliyev said. Remember that going down in history as a patron of child murderers, criminals occupying the territory of another country, cannot bring positive results to anyone, including you.

 Also, anyone who supports the Armenian occupation in your example and tries to oppose the just cause of Azerbaijan should know that such attempts are in vain. The determination of President Ilham Aliyev and the bravery of our army, the solidarity of people and state will sooner or later ensure the triumph of Azerbaijan's just cause in the Karabakh war. No external force will be able to prevent this. Victory is on the sight of justice!


President of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences,

Academician Ramiz Mehdiyev