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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko © Mikhail Klimentyev/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko offered French leader Emmanuel Macron his mediation in relations with Muslims, he told a meeting with Metropolitan Veniamin of Minsk and Zaslavl, BelTA news agency reported.

“Muslims have never created any problems for us. I often say that Muslims at all elections supported the authorities and me as a president nearly 100%. We will never allow ourselves to do what the French president recently started saying about the freedom of speech and religious feelings: what will this give you in a country if you start criticizing Muslims? Perhaps, he just needs mediation between him and Muslims? I can help him here because I have very good relations with Muslims,” Lukashenko said.

The president stressed that it is absolutely unacceptable to “interfere in the feelings of believers.”

On October 16, Samuel Paty, a history and geography teacher, was decapitated after exhibiting Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad during a class, dedicated to freedom of expression. After the killing, French President Macron announced a campaign against followers of radical ideologies and related organizations and promised that France would not renounce publishing the caricatures.

In the wake of this, mass street protests ensued in a number of Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries. Their participants condemned the publication of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons. They chanted slogans in defense of Islam and dubbed Macron “the enemy of Allah.” Demonstrators burnt French flags and ripped and trampled on Macron’s portraits.