A woman was beheaded by a knife attacker who also killed two other people at a church in the French city of Nice on Thursday, police said, in what the city’s mayor described as a terrorist attack.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan criticized Macron’s comments for the defamatory images, calling them “promoting Islamophobia”.
He was referring to President Macron’s speeches in which he criticized Muslims and promised that he would not “stop the cartoons” depicting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
“By attacking Muslims, apparently without realizing it, President Macron has attacked and harmed the feelings of millions of Muslims in Europe and around the world,” said Prime Minister Imran, adding that “the last thing the world wants or needs.
He also called on the major social media company Facebook to place a ban on Islamophobia and hatred against Islam as it had imposed on the Holocaust.
Mayor Christian Estrosi later claimed that the attacker had repeatedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God Almighty), even after his arrest by police.
Estrosi said on Twitter that the knife attack took place in Notre Dame church or near the police station to arrest the attacker.
Police said three people were killed and several others injured in the attack. France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said he had been asked to investigate.
One of the people killed inside the church is believed to be a church leader, says Estrosi, adding that a woman tried to escape inside the church and fled to a bar facing the 19th-century neo-Goth building.
“The man who allegedly attacked the knife was shot by police while under arrest. He is on his way to the hospital, alive,” Estrosi told reporters.
It is not immediately clear what the purpose of the Nice attack was, or whether there is any connection to these offensive paintings.
Since Paty’s assassination, French officials – with the support of many citizens – have also emphasized the right to produce drawings, and photographs have been widely displayed on machines in collaboration with the slain teacher.
That has sparked outrage in parts of the Islamic world, with some governments accusing French leader Emmanuel Macron of pursuing an anti-Islamic ideology.
“Enough is enough,” Esther said
“Now is the time for France to free itself from the laws of peace in order to completely eradicate the Structure-fascism from our region.”
The mayor said the victims were “brutally killed”.
“These methods are the same, without a doubt, those used against the brave teacher at Confans Sainte Honorine, Samuel Paty,” he said, referring to a French teacher who was beheaded earlier this month during an attack on a suburb of Paris.
A police source said the woman had her head cut off. French politician Marine Le Pen also spoke of the assassination in the attack.
Reuters reporters at the scene said police armed with automatic weapons had placed a security cord around the church, located in the Nice organization Jean Medecin, which is the city’s largest shopping center. Ambulances and fire trucks were also at the scene.
Safety alerts have been raised to a very high level
Following the incident in Nice, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the French security plan had been upgraded to a very high standard.
Castex also told the French National Assembly that the government’s response to the attack would be strong and not hot.
Rejection and solidarity
French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to visit Nice, Esther said.
In Paris, lawmakers in the National Assembly saw a one-minute silence with the victims.
A representative of the French Council of Islamic Religions strongly condemned the attack.
“As a sign of mourning and solidarity with the dead and their loved ones, I urge all Muslims in France to abolish all Mawlid holiday celebrations.” The 12th holiday of Rabiul Awal is the birthday of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which is celebrated in France on Thursday.
Sentences also came in from the international community, as Britain and Germany had declared unity and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called the attack “disgusting and brutal”.
Von der Leyen went on to say that the whole of Europe stood in solidarity with France and remained united and determined “even on the forehead and in the extremes”.
Turkey also condemned the “brutal” knife attack, offering its “unity” despite the ongoing conflict in Paris.
“We strongly condemn the attack that took place today at the Notre-Dame church in Nice,” the State Department said in a statement expressing condolences to the victims’ relatives.
The Vatican stated that terrorism and violence have never been tolerated.
“Today’s attack sows death in the place of love and comfort, the house of the Lord,” Department spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement.
“It is a moment of pain in a time of confusion. Terrorism and violence will not be tolerated. ”
He said Pope Francis was informed and prayed for the victims. The pope hoped that the French people would “respond in a united way to evil for good”.
Russia, in commenting on the attack, said it was “unacceptable” to kill people, but added that it was wrong to insult believers.
A man has been shot dead after threatening passers-by
In another incident, French police shot and killed a man in Montfavet, near the southern French city of Avignon, after he had previously threatened passersby with a gun, police said, confirming media reports.
According to the French radio station Europe 1, the man had shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greater).
The murder of a teacher
The attack came as France was in a state of shock at the beheading earlier this month of a French teacher in central Paty in Paris by a Chechen native.
The assailant had said he wanted to punish Paty for showing students drawings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in social studies.