The Norwegian government has joined others around the world in strongly condemning recent attacks by Islamic extremists in France. Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said Norway fully supports French President Emmanuel Macron’s campaign to ensure freedom of expression and fundamental human rights.
“We have been very clear both in our solidarity with France and in our clear condemnation of the attacks,” Søreide told Norwegian Broadasting (NRK) on Thursday, after another Islamic extremist had used a knife to kill three people at the largest church in Nice. The attacks came after a French teacher had been killed earlier this month for showing students drawings of the prophet Mohammed as part of teaching them about the issues the drawings raise.
Søreide and Prime Minister Erna Solberg also called on other political and religious leaders to protect freedom of expression, distance themselves from extremism “and, not least, dampen the level of conflict.”
Søreide and Solberg have also criticized Turkish President Tayipp Recep Erdogan for adding to the conflict through his own harsh criticism of Macron and his emotional reaction to an unflattering drawing of himself. “We think that what Erdogan did in attacking Macron’s defense of freedom of expression is unacceptable, and we have expressed that,” Søreide told NRK. “We see that (human rights and freedom of expression) are under pressure many places around the world, and therefore we and others must do what we can to protect them.”