Image Source: Courtesy of South China Morning Post
French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent statements against the Muslim world sparked controversy and added fuel to an already searing fire. Hurting Muslim sentiments and criticizing Islamic values via calling it religion of terrorism have left the Muslim community fuming. His statement came after a French schoolteacher, Samuel Patty, was beheaded by a Chechen-origin teenager for displaying the cartoons in a class on freedom of speech. Earlier, his statement regarding “the need to reform Islam” & further calling it a religion in “crisis”; has been condemned by the Muslim community and has led to a rallying cry that has precipitated a widespread boycotting of French products in Islamic countries.
Social media has been buzzing with this on-going issue with hashtags like #boycottfrenchproducts & #Islam. The French government pessimistic approach towards Muslims has led to Islamophobic actions and unrest amid the region. Incidents are burgeoning in France against Muslims like two Muslim women of Algerian origin were stabbed near Eiffel Tower, and on Sunday two Jordanian brothers were exposed to racist violence in Paris.
The French government is reluctant to cease the on-going riots and on verge of hurting Muslim sentiments by continuous display of insensitive illustrations in the name of freedom of speech. While The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called out France for its intolerant behavior towards Muslims and in a statement the OIC said: “We condemn the constant systematic attack on the feelings of Muslims by insulting the religious symbols represented by the person of the Prophet Muhammad.”
Here are official statements by Muslim countries, portraying their strong reaction against the caricatures and French’s insensitive comments against Muslims;
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan:
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Macron by attacking Islam was hurting the feelings of Muslims and reassuring Islamophobia. He stated that Macron is intentionally provoking Muslims by displaying insulting cartoons.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan leading the condemnation of the act and stated that French’s president is having mental problems. “Macron needs mental treatment,” he said. “What is the problem of this person Macron with Muslims and Islam?”
Saudi Arabia’s Reaction:
Saudi officials also reacted to the French’s valiant statement against Muslims and their beliefs. Saudi cabinet released a statement that renewed “its condemnation and rejection of every terrorist act or practices and actions that generate hatred, violence, and extremism,” but they did not comment anything against French products.
“Muslims are the primary victims of the ‘cult of hatred’ – empowered by colonial regimes & exported by their own clients. Insulting 1.9B Muslims- & their sanctities – for the abhorrent crimes of such extremists is an opportunistic abuse of freedom of speech. It only fuels extremism.” Stated Foreign minister of Iran.
Protestors came on streets to show their solidarity with Muslim community and raised voice against France’s irresponsible statement. French flag has been burnt on streets by protestors and Muslims are playing hymns to show their utmost love for Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H)
Libyan’s Furious Reaction:
The protests against France have been burgeoning in the region as their products are embargoed by Libya. The hashtags like #ProphetMuhammad & #ProphetisourRedline have been trending on twitter ever since.
Qatar is Turkey’s ally and supports the protests against Islamophobia provoked by French government. While Kuwait and Jordan have removed all French products from their supermarkets as part of protest.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) defined Macron’s statements as “irresponsible” and stated that he aims to spread a culture of hate among the people.
Macron’s bigoted statements in a time of great divide are as much an insight into his Jupiterian mindset than anything else. Up for re-election in 2022 the French President has been trying to tap into the far-right vote that helped carried off his rival Marine Le Pen of the FN to the run-off stage of the vote. Whilst violence in all forms is fundamentally wrong and condemnable, Macron’s words serve to do nothing but stoke division and incite interracial divide and friction in a country with the largest European population of Muslims.