French President Emmanuel Macron has defended a French teenager who received death threats after an expletive-laden Instagram rant against Islam, saying blasphemy is "no crime".
This happened after 16-year-old Mila received a slew of death threats for calling Islam "a shitty religion", prompting her family to be put under police protection and meant she could no longer attend her school in southeast France.
Macron’s intervention comes after his justice minister, Nicole Belloubet, was criticised for claiming Mila’s attack on religion was “an attack on freedom of conscience” while saying the death threats were “unacceptable”.
The case has sparked a furious public debate in France, a strictly secular republic with a large Muslim population. The education authorities have since found another school for the teenager.
“In this debate we have lost sight of the fact that Mila is an adolescent. We owe her protection at school, in her daily life, in her movements,” Macron said in an interview with Le Dauphiné Libéré newspaper.
The president added that in finding a new school for Mila, “the state has fulfilled its responsibilities” and that children needed to be “better protected” against “new forms of hatred and harassment online that can be destructive”.
The controversy has come just over five years after a group of French cartoonists from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were gunned down by jihadist gunmen after poking fun at the Prophet Mohammed.