Middle Eastern countries boycott French goods after cartoons against Prophet, country urges for end to embargo

Amid outrage among Muslims after cartoons against the Prophet Mohammed (ﷺ) were published in France, and the French premier defended it, calls to boycott products from the country have been growing.

After several Middle Easter supermarkets boycotted the products, France has urged the Middle Eastern countries to end calls for a boycott which seem to be growing online and offline.

Terming the calls “baseless”, the French Foreign Ministry said the demands for a boycott were being “pushed by a radical minority”.

On October 16, an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin beheaded Samuel Paty, a teacher who had shown caricatures of Prophet Mohammed in a class on freedom of expression, Paty was beheaded outside his school in a suburb outside the French capital.

While eulogizing the teacher on October 21, the President of France Emmanuel Macron declared that “France will not give up cartoons”.

The President also said that Paty was “killed because Islamists want our future”.

Macron’s comments have led to a huge furore in the Arab world and beyond. In response to his remarks, a number of shops in Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar have removed French products, while protests were observed in Libya, Syria and Gaza.

Amid the outrage, pictures on social media are showing Kuwaiti store workers removing French Kiri and Babybel processed cheese from shelves.

Meanwhile, a number of Jordanians have changed their Facebook profiles to add the message “Respect Mohammad the Prophet of Allah (God)”.

In Islam, making any caricature or image of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) or Allah is considered very offensive.

However, Macron, on Sunday, doubled down on his defence of French values in a tweet that read: “We will not give in, ever.”

Accusing him of not respecting “freedom of belief” and marginalising the millions of Muslims in France, political leaders in Turkey and Pakistan have slammed the French President.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested, for a second time, that Macron should seek “mental checks” for his views on Islam.

Macron has earlier this month, before the teacher’s killing, already announced plans for ‘tougher laws to tackle’ what he referred to “Islamist separatism” in France.

Describing Islam as a religion “in crisis”, he said a minority of France’s estimated six million Muslims were in danger of forming a “counter-society”. Macron was also accused of repressing Western Europe’s largest Muslim community through his anti-Islamic moves.


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