The chief of the Muslim World League has slammed 'false' Muslims who tarnish the reputation of the religion. The comment from Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, the secretary-general of the Makkah-based international Islamic organization, came a week after French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled plans to confront 'Islamist separatism' in the country.
"There are people who are falsely considered Muslims ... These have harmed Islam's reputation with their radicalism and extremism â and sometimes, their violence, including their terrorism," Al-Issa told MBC television.
Responding to Macron's comments, Al-Issa referred to the Makkah Declaration of 2019, which said Muslims should respect the constitutions, laws and cultures of the countries they are living in.
Macron's speech, delivered outside of Paris, came in the backdrop of the perception that Islam is increasingly becoming a threat to France's core values. In recent years, France has seen brazen Islamist attacks against the hallowed French ideals of secularism and freedom of expression. As many as 130 people were killed in the Paris terror attack in November 2015, which were claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis). Earlier that year in February, the Islamist terror attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo killed 12 people including many journalists.
Al-Issa concurred with the view, stating that extremists have harmed Islam's reputation. "These do not represent Islam at all, and if we defend them â whether directly or indirectly, (that would mean) we are exactly like them," he said.
Macron had stated in his speech that radical Islam was a danger to France as it sought to hold its own laws above the state laws and tried creating 'counter-society'.
Asked about Macron's comments, Al-Issa told the channel that extremists and terrorists were the first to isolate themselves from Islamic society," Saudi Arabian newspaper Arab News reported.
The daily noted that Al-Issa had stated that his mission was to wipe out extremist ideology from Islam.