By Wassim Saifuddin
BEIRUT (AA) – Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Thursday said insulting the Prophet Muhammad hurts feelings of Muslims around the world.
"If the acts of murder and terrorism are a cause for denunciation, rejection and condemnation, then insulting the Prophet is also an attack on the feelings of Muslims worldwide," he said in a tweet.
Moderation is key to coexistence in Islam, the veteran politician named prime minister for a fourth time, added.
He has pledged to form a new government to tackle the country’s worst crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war.
His statement comes on the occasion of the Prophet's birthday, and amid an ongoing anti-Islam rhetoric in France.
Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron described Islam as “a religion in crisis," and announced plans for tougher laws to tackle “Islamist separatism” in France.
Tensions further escalated after the the murder of a high school teacher, Samuel Patty, on Oct. 16, who showed blasphemous cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class.
Macron defended the caricatures, saying France would “not give up our cartoons."
Insulting cartoons by Charlie Hebdo, a weekly French magazine, were also projected on buildings in a few cities.
Since then there have been international condemnations, calls to boycott French products, as well as protests in many parts of the Muslim world.
*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara