Deputy editor of French newspaper Le Figaro Yves Threard was condemned after arguing during a television appearance that Islamophobia doesn’t exist because everyone has the “right to hate religion.”

During a broadcast of Le Grand Soir (the grand debate) on Monday night, Threard brazenly stated, “I hate the Muslim religion.”

The comments were made in the context of a discussion surrounding the banning of the Islamic veil in public as well as the recent murder of 4 people at a police station in Paris by a man who had converted to Islam.

Julien Odoul, a member of France’s populist National Rally party, related the story of how he and his colleagues “had asked the president of the Regional Council in France, Marie Guite Dufay, to tell a veiled Muslim woman accompanying her son at a school activity to remove hijab or leave,” reports Morocco World News.

Dufay refused to ask the woman to leave, accusing National Rally of whipping up a “surge of hatred” and being “unworthy of elected officials of the republic.”

Threard responded by saying he had once left a bus because he saw a woman wearing the full veil and that Islamophobia “does not exist,” because everyone has the “right to hate religion.”

In the same country where Islamic jihadists slaughtered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists for expressing similar views, numerous public figures piled on to denounce Threard.

“Thank you for the idea,” tweeted journalist Samuel Gontier. “From now on, I will wear a veil to take the bus to avoid any meeting with Yves Threard.”

“This month of October is particularly violent, I feel that everyone is freewheeling. When will it stop,” asked journalist Jennifer Pademi.

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