French President Emmanuel Macron’s criticism of the killing of a teacher in the suburbs of Paris by Islamic extremist and his decision not to “give up cartoons” depicting Prophet Mohammed has brought about a massive outcry.
Already the Muslim world is now rising to this decision with governments condemning the French President and many boycotting French products. In fact, social media is on fire with videos and calls to boycott all French products.
“We will not give in, ever. We respect all differences in a spirit of peace. We do not accept hate speech and defend reasonable debate. We will always be on the side of human dignity and universal values,” Emmanuel Macron tweeted, responding to the calls of boycott and condemnation from Islamic states.
Nations in the Arab world have formally protested, with some Islamic nations sending formal notes and many activists defending Islam, including Tawakkol Karman, a prominent Yemeni human rights activist and Nobel Peace Laureate who said, “Macron’s attack on Islam reveals intolerance and hatred which is shameful for the head of a state like France,” she said.
In her tweet on reform of the religion, Tawakkol Karman said, “Muslims alone are concerned with that, and they will do that.”
Recall that last Friday, Emmanuel Macron caused controversy when he said that, “Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world today [not only in France].”
Following Macron’s statement, #boycottfrance, #boycott_French_products, #ProphetMuhammad have been trending on Twitter.
In many countries social media users have changed their profile pictures on Twitter and Facebook with the banner “Muhammad the messenger of Allah”.
Reports from Kuwait have indicated that, the Alnaeem Cooperative Society, a large series of supermarkets in the Gulf state, said it will remove all French products from the shelves.
Many other trade groups such as the Suburb Afternoon Association, Eqaila Cooperative Society and Saad Al Abdallah City Cooperative Society, also followed suit.
In Qatar, Alwajba Dairy Company and Almeera Consumer Goods Company said they will boycott the French products and will provide other alternatives, according to reports.
Qatar University has postponed the French Cultural Week in protest of the anti-Islam insults.
“Any denigration or violation of the Islamic beliefs, sanctities and symbols are absolutely rejected,” the university said in a statement, adding, “These insults harm the universal human values and the high ethical principles of all societies.”
The worst fall out of the controversy has been between Turkey and France. An incensed Ankara lashed out at Paris. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during an address on Friday questioned President Macron’s mental state.
“What else can one say about a head of state who treats millions of members from different faith groups this way: first of all, have a mental check. What’s the problem of the individual called Macron with Islam and with the Muslims?… Macron needs mental treatment… You are constantly picking on Erdogan. This will not earn you anything. There will be elections (in France) We will see your (Macron’s) fate. I don’t think he has a long way to go. Why? He has not achieved anything for France and he should do for himself,” he said.
The office of Emmanuel Macron described the comments as insulting and said the French ambassador to Ankara, Hervé Magro, would be recalled for consultations, just short of cutting off diplomatic relations and permanently recalling the French envoy.
Pakistan’s Prime Minster Imran Khan, in a series of tweets, wrote, “Hallmark of a leader is he unites human beings… rather than dividing them. This is a time when President [Emmanuel] Macron could have put healing touch, and denied space to extremists rather than creating further polarisation and marginalisation that inevitably leads to radicalization,”
“It is unfortunate that he has chosen to encourage Islamophobia by attacking Islam rather than the terrorists who carry out violence, be it Muslims, White Supremacists or Nazi ideologists,” he added.
In Bangadeshi, the youths also protested against the French government’s support to provocation against Islam, calling for “boycott of French goods.”
The Islamic Youth Movement, a religious group, staged a rally in the capital Dhaka. They rejected the “provocative activities” in the name of freedom, pushing for cutting of diplomatic ties with France.