In France, a country which has been traumatized in the past eight years, including two which killed more than 200 people, by 36 terrorist attacks motivated by the Islamic State, these general steps have been widely endorsed.
The passionate advocate of French laicism, President Emmanuel Macron, indicated that Islam requires an Enlightenment, while his Minister of Home Affairs spoke about a ‘civil war.’
Since French President Emmanuel Macron said earlier this month that Islam was in a “crisis,” a divide between France and Muslim nations has emerged.
Boycott France—How It All Started
Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old middle school teacher, was killed on 17th October after he took a free speech class in which he exhibits the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo cartoons by Prophet Mohammad. The same cartoons inspired Charlie Hebdo ‘s 2015 terrorist attack, killing twelve of them.
What Happened To The French Teacher?
Since a young Muslim has decapitated a French schoolteacher who showed a class of cartoons of Prophet Muhammad, France has carried out hundreds of raids on accused Islamic militants, shut down a large mosque, and shut down certain Muslim relief organizations.
What did France’s President Emmanuel Macron say?
Even before Paty’s murder, Macron defended Charlie Hebdo Magazine, claiming that freedom of speech included the right to be blasphemous and pledged at the beginning of September to condemn in France what he described as “Islamic separatism.”
Then on October 2, Macron declared that Islam was “in turmoil” throughout the world and declared pursuit of distinguishing faith and education and the national public sector.
“The problem is the philosophy which claims on better guidelines than those of the Republic,” Macron said.
After Paty’s assassination, Macron came out to defend the teacher and said, “[Paty was killed] because he expressed in the classrooms the independence transmitted and perpetuated in schools, the Republic which comes alive each day”.
Samuel Paty has been killed for wanting Islamists and for knowing they’ll never get our future with calm heroes like him.
How Did The Muslim Countries React?
In parts of the Muslim world, demand is growing to boycott French products in protest against the cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, who are viewed as Islamic blasphemous, openly defended by President Emmanuel Macron.
In Kuwait, over 50 of its stores were scheduled to boycott French goods through a non-governmental chain of hypermarkets. There has already been a protest movement in Jordan, which has been signposted by several grocery stores because they have not sold French products.
A number of businesses in Qatar, including the Al Meera retail chains with more than 50 branches in the Arab region, do the same. The University of Qatar has said it indefinitely postponed the French Cultural Week.
There and in Qatar, a strong follower of Mr. Erdogan and of the Muslim Brotherhood, French products were removed off shopping shelves. A copy of that in Paris’ Gare de Lyon, the restaurant Le Train Bleu in Doha, capital of Qatari, is currently serving French meals, with no French ingredients imported.
It also condemned “discriminatory and deceptive attempts to equate Muslims with extremism.” Jordan’s Minister for Foreign Affairs has not specifically criticized Mr. Macron but opposed “the publishing of Prophet Muhammad cartoons under the ruse of freedom of speech.”
Saudi Arabia condemned the publishing of the Prophet Mohammed’s “inflammatory” cartoons but stopped seeking action against France. In response to Paty’s murder, Riyadh also condemned terrorist actions.
In the state-run press of Saudi Arabia, an unnamed official of the Ministry of External Affairs said that the Kingdom “rejected any move to connect Islam and extremism and condemned the Prophet’s offensive cartoons.” The highest religious authority in the Kingdom said that “defamation” of the Prophet “serves only extremists,” and “these insults have nothing to do with freedom of speech.
Mr. Erdogan has every reason to try to change Turkish focus abroad, especially when attempting to make himself the face of the Muslim world and guardian of the faith. But as much as Mr. Macron’s assault angered many Europeans, the boycott of French products resonated in the Middle East and North Africa, especially in the former French colonies.
An anti-France rally in the capital, Dhaka, has been organized in Bangladesh with around 40,000 people burning Mr. Macron’s effigy and demanding a boycott of French goods. The Bangladeshi Government was also called upon to command the French ambassador to Paris and to threaten the breaking down of the French embassy.
Malaysia says “gravely worried” about Paty’s brutal killing “increasing open hostility against Muslims.
In a tweet, foreign minister Hishammuddin Hussein announced, “As a rule, we denounce strongly any divisive language and any offensive act that seeks to defame the religion of Islam”.
Hishammuddin said that Malaysia, with a multiethnic Muslim population of just over 60%, is working with the international community to “promote mutual respect among faiths.”
President Imran Khan, Pakistani Prime Minister, has accused Mr. Macron of splitting and fostering Islamophobia.
“It’s the time that President Macron caused more polarization and marginalization, which contributed to radicalization, but he should have put healing on the radicals and denied space,” he said in a series of tweets.
“The feelings of the millions of Muslims in Europe and around the world have been attacked and ruined by President Macron clearly without any understanding of Islam.”
Freedom Of Muslim Speech
In view of its concern about protection and recent controversial comments by Islam leaders, a French Muslim Organization for Human Rights has announced plans to extend its operations beyond France.
“We, as an organization, don’t believe like we can function comfortably because our lives are endangered and the government considers us an enemy,” said the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF).
The organization said in the last week that the French Government declared its plan to dismantle the association as a part of its war on organizations that it deems a security threat, they have been threatened with hate messages, death danger, and insults.
The Turkish communication boss Fahrettin Altun tweeted on Monday, saying that “President Macron’s latest speech against Islam is once again an indication of a European official who struggles for relevance.
Altun emphasized that in France and in Europe, Macron discriminates against Muslims while “trying to manipulate fears and prejudice” for a political reason too.
“Macron continues the old Fascist playbook which so threatened Jews in Europe,” he said.
Wrapping It Up
Emmanuel Macron was called from Morocco to Pakistan to justify himself on the right to blasphemy and even the Gulf States were boycotting French goods. After two recent terrorist attacks, they say the French president stigmatized Islam wrongly.
At last week’s tribute to Samuel Paty, Macron using blunt words, a French schoolteacher beheaded by a free expression political lesson with cartoons of Prophet Mohammed. The gruesome murder preceded a petition in the social media calling for Paty’s sacking and the shutdown of a Paris Mosque.