Calls to boycott French products have gone viral on Twitter after French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the gruesome beheading of a French history teacher and declared that France would “not give up cartoons” depicting Prophet Mohammed. Also Read - Giant Images of Prophet Mohammed Appear on French Govt Building
Notably, Samual Paty, a French teacher had shown cartoons of Prophet Mohammad to his students in a civics class on freedom of expression, which had sparked outrage among Muslims. On October 16, he was killed on his way home by an 18-year-old Chechnya-born man.
While paying a tribute to the teacher, the French President said that Paty was “killed because Islamists want our future”. Earlier, on October 23, Macron also said that Islam was in crisis all over the world.
His comments have now led to a huge furore in the Arab world and other Islamic countries.
Reacting to his statement, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Macron chose to encourage Islamophobia by attacking Islam rather than the terrorists and to deliberately provoke Muslims, including his own citizens.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also slammed him and urged Macron to have “mental checks”.
Soon after, several Arab trade associations including supermarkets in Kuwait announced a boycott of French products and the debate has now spilt over to Twitter. Hashtags such as the #BoycottFrenchProducts in English and the Arabic #NeverTheProphet trended across countries including Kuwait, Qatar, Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Al Meera Consumer Goods Company stated it had “immediately withdrawn French products from our shelves until further notice,” as per Al Jazeera.
Many users have also changed their profile pictures accusing the French President of spreading Islamophobia. Here are some reactions:
Small protests against France were also seen in the Gaza Strip, Libya and northern Syria, BBC said.
Meanwhile, the French foreign affairs ministry has urged the Arab countries to take immediate steps to end boycott of French products.
“These calls for boycott are baseless and should stop immediately, as well as all attacks against our country, which are being pushed by a radical minority,” the French Foreign said in a statement released on Sunday.
Reacting to the boycott campaign, Macron tweeted, ”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”.