On October 1, 2020, Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) aired a debate about Islam in France, in the wake of President Macron's statement that "Islam is in crisis." Islamic scholar Wasfi Abu Zayd said that Muslims in France and the West should behave morally and respect their local laws, but that the Western countries that talk about Islamic terrorism should reflect on their own history and the bloodshed and terrorism for which they have been responsible. He also said that France is no authority on freedom and democracy, and that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad contradict Western values. France-based Islamic scholar Sheikh Bashir Hassan, a member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, responded that Muslims who view Western countries as oppressive should stay in their own countries. He pointed out that European countries have opened their gates to Muslims and provided them with healthcare, rights, and greater freedom than they had in Islamic countries. He further argued that there is a defect in the way Muslims interpret their faith.
Wasfi Abu Zayd: "It is true that some mistaken actions occur, and they distort the image of Islam, especially in the West. The Muslims who live in the West must behave wisely and morally. And they are doing so, praised be Allah, but there are some individual actions that are being emphasized by the media and obscure the civilized picture of the Muslims who live there – moderate Muslims who live their lives and respect the laws of the countries they live in.
"However, why don't these countries that talk about Islamic terrorism take a look a at their own history, and the crimes they perpetrated in the countries they occupied? Why doesn't America look at what it did in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere? Why doesn't France look at all its killing and bloodshed in Africa? Why don't these countries look at their bloody history and the terrorism they have carried out for more than a century?"
Sheikh Bashir Hassan: "This kind of discourse nourishes terrorism, as a mater of fact. Bringing back the colonialist era and everything that France did... This discourse should not be directed at the Muslims here, in Europe. It seems to justify, indirectly, these crimes [of Islamic terrorism].
"They are considered to be citizens or residents of this country. Whether they have been given residency or not, they have to abide by the laws of the country and respect its constitution. This country opened its gates for them. They receive free healthcare..."
Host: "Dr. Bashir, our time is limited... Please answer my question."
Hassan: "Anyone who hates France and Europe and considers them to be oppressive and terroristic, should not go there. He should stay in his country."
"The freedom of religion that is given to the Muslims in France and in the rest of the European countries is much greater than the freedom of religion they are granted in their Arab and Islamic countries. Let's be honest. There is n shortage here of Islamic universities, institutes, centers, books, and websites. You have the right [to practice your religion] as long as you respect the law and the constitution, and don't hurt anyone. Why don't we take responsibility and say that we have a defect in our reading of religion, and that we have a defect in our [religious] concepts? Why do we always throw the responsibility on others? It is a problem, to be honest."
Abu Zayd: "Dr. Bashir lives in France and he is forgiven for what he says. But we should not hide our heads in the sand. France cannot teach about freedom, democracy, and matters of that sort. One should not forget about France's history. If some Muslims perpetrated certain crimes, there are also crimes that were perpetrated [against them].
"We do not say this in order to justify some things that Muslims did. We condemn unlawful behavior by some Muslims, and behavior that is in acceptable by the laws of the shari'a. But at the same time, America [sic] mocked the Prophet Muhammad in the Charlie Hebdo magazine. This contradicts all the Western laws. Mocking religions and religious symbols gives rise to the fitna which we are talking about right now. There should be restrictions on freedom of expression."