France’s Muslim council has threatened to disband in a row over a court case against a paper that published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. The council has been meeting to discuss its position with the issue becoming the hottest topic in the presidential campaign. During the hearing against Charlie Hebdo, the head of the council learnt of presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy’s letter of support for the satirical weekly.
The French Muslim Council believes the Charlie Hebdo case should remain outside the realm of politics. But that is in no way possible for the conservative candidate Sarkozy, who says it touches everyone’s freedom of expression.
“I prefer an excess of carricatures rather than not enough. I understand that practising Muslims might have their feelings hurt but they have to understand that France has a tradition of critical cartoons, and I’m not ready to break with that tradition,” he said.
Sarkozy’s position has also ruffled feathers in the Muslim Council because it was he who set up the body when he first served as Interior Minister. Nothing will be decided before the verdict is announced on Thursday night.