Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reacted to the grisly murders in a French church amid worldwide Muslim anger over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad by saying that free speech "is not without limits," the Guardian reported.
What are the details?
Muslims have been furious at the French government for refusing to take action against its citizens for public displays of Muhammad, which have been in solidarity with free expression after a French schoolteacher was beheaded by a Chechen refugee on Oct. 16, apparently over the teacher showing Muhammad cartoons to his class.
Effigies of French President Emmanuel Macron were burned over his defense of the right to publish such caricatures, the Guardian reported, adding that Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said "we are in a war against an enemy that is both inside and outside."
Thursday's deadly terrorist attack took place inside the Notre-Dame Basilica in Nice, the paper said, adding that the three people who died were a 60-year-old woman who was almost decapitated, 55-year-old Vincent Loques — the church sexton — and a 44-year-old Brazilian-born mother of three.
Officers described the scene as a "vision of horror," the Guardian reported, adding that Nice's police chief, Richard Gianotti, said officers shot a man "who was holding a knife" and "had just killed three people" and was "was shouting 'Allahu Akbar.'" The suspected attacker, 21-year-old Brahim Aouissaoui from Tunisia, was in serious condition in a local hospital, the paper noted.
"Any symbol of the republic or Christianity is a potential target," Gianotti also said, according to the Guardian. "We have to be vigilant, we have to be attentive."
Nice attack: knife attacker kills three people at church in France youtu.be
Trudeau, however, worded his reaction to the killings with more — er — nuance.
"We will always defend freedom of expression," Trudeau said Friday, the paper reported, adding that the the far-left politician tempered that sentiment by saying that "freedom of expression is not without limits. We owe it to ourselves to act with respect for others and to seek not to arbitrarily or unnecessarily injure those with whom we are sharing a society and a planet."
According to the Post Millennial, Trudeau also seemed to compare the showing of Muhammad images to yelling "fire" in a crowded theater — and emphasized that "in a pluralistic, diverse and respectful society like ours, we must be aware of the impact of our words, of our actions on others, particularly these communities and populations who still experience enormous discrimination."
More of the same
This is far from the first time Trudeau has made such comments:
- In 2016, after Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's death, Trudeau called Castro a "remarkable leader" and said he had "deep sorrow" over his passing. That drew the ire of U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Marco Rubio (Fla.), both who are of Cuban decent.
- A year later he raised eyebrows by saying that former ISIS fighters can be de-radicalized and integrated back into the Canadian community and "be an extraordinarily powerful voice for preventing radicalization in future generations and younger people within the community."
- In 2018, he accused a woman of "racism" and "intolerance" after she yelled questions to him about "illegal immigrants" during an outdoor event in Quebec.