French President Emmanuel Macron presents his strategy to fight what he calls ‘separatism’ on October 2, 2020 in Les Mureaux, outside Paris [File: Ludovic Marin /Pool via AP]

The “Muslim question” today is fast becoming what the “Jewish question” was in 19th-century Europe. Negative attitudes towards Islam and Muslim communities are increasingly setting limits to religious tolerance, pluralism and democracy.

French President Emmanuel Macron appears to have consciously taken the lead in launching a secular crusade to “save the soul of Europe” but his actions are misguided because they play right into the hands of the extremists he purports to target. Publishing sacrilegious and tasteless cartoons of the Prophet of Islam and doubling down on them is not defending freedom of expression; it

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