Macron’s controversial comments on Islam: Calls grow to boycott of French goods | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 26, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:01 AM, October 26, 2020

Macron’s controversial comments on Islam: Calls grow to boycott of French goods

Calls to boycott French goods are growing in the Arab world and beyond, after President Emmanuel Macron criticised Islamists and vowed not to "give up cartoons" depicting a controversial topic for Muslims. 

Macron's comments, on Wednesday, came in response to the beheading of a teacher, Samuel Paty, outside his school in a suburb outside Paris earlier this month, after he had shown the cartoons during a class he was leading on free speech. 

The teacher became the target of an online hate campaign over his choice of lesson material -- the same images that unleashed a bloody assault by Islamist gunmen on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the original publisher, in January 2015.

The backlash against Macron's comments on Islam intensified Sunday, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again urging him to have "mental checks."

But Erdogan on Saturday urged Macron to have "mental checks" for treating "millions of members from different faith groups this way" -- comments which prompted Paris to recall its envoy to Ankara.

The European Union's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, called the comments Erdogan made on Saturday "unacceptable" and urged Turkey "to cease this dangerous spiral of confrontation."

On Saturday, Jordan's foreign ministry said it condemned the "continued publication of caricatures under the pretext of freedom of expression" and any "discriminatory and misleading attempts that seek to link Islam with terrorism."

Jordan's opposition Islamic Action Front party called on the French president to apologise for his comments and urged citizens in the kingdom to boycott French goods.

Such boycotts are already underway in Kuwait and Qatar.

Dozens of Kuwaiti stores are boycotting French products, with images on  social media showing workers removing French Kiri and Babybel processed  cheese from shelves.

In Doha, an AFP correspondent saw workers stripping  shelves of French-made St. Dalfour jams and Saf-Instant yeast in a  branch of the Al Meera supermarket chain on Saturday.

Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council called Macron's words "irresponsible" on Friday, and said they would "increase the spread of a culture of hatred".

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday accused Macron of "attacking Islam".

Macron already sparked controversy earlier this month when he said "Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world." 

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