Macron had recently said that the Algerian nation did not exist before French colonial rule and that another had preceded his country’s colonization, referring to the Ottoman empire.
Reacting to those remarks, head of Association of Algerian Muslim Ulama Abdul-Razzaq Qassoum said the Ottomans were not colonizers because they came to Algeria at the invitation of Algerians to help against the Spanish Crusader aggression, TRT Arabic reported.
He added that the Ottomans did not kill Algerians, destroy their land or plunder their wealth as the French did.
On the contrary, Qassoum said, they were very helpful to Algerians.
He added that the Ottomans did not impose their language on Algerians and did not fight their beliefs either.
The French colonialism brought tragedy and misery to Algeria and its people, he went on to say.
Algerian President Abdelmedjid Tebboune condemned Macron’s remarks as an “unacceptable insult” to the victims of French colonial rule, recalled his country’s Ambassador to France Antar Daoud for consultations and closed airspace to French military aircraft used by the latter in its counterterrorism operations in the Sahel.
In a televised interview Sunday, Tebboune narrated an official account of the French massacre of nearly 4,000 worshipers during the 1830-1962 colonial era.
The worshipers were killed as they staged a sit-in inside an Ottoman Mosque called Ketchaoua in an effort to stop it from being converted into a church.
Algeria represents the most recent and bloodiest example of France’s colonial history on the African continent.
Approximately 1.5 million Algerians were killed and millions more displaced in an eight-year struggle for independence that started in 1954.
Paris has never officially apologized to Algeria as a state for its colonial policies.