Muslim world condemns Macron, the president of France, and the country, for what they called the hate-based narrative against Islam.
The backlash over President Emmanuel Macron’s critique of Islam has intensified after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan questioned his counterpart’s mental health. Meanwhile, the Muslim world condemned Macron and also demanded a boycott of France.
Marking his second sharp criticism against Macron in two days, Erdogan said that the French president had “lost his mind”. This has prompted France’s foreign minister to recall the country’s ambassador in Ankara.
The French debate on Islam was deepened after the beheading of a teacher. He had shown caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, previously published by a satirical magazine, in a class on freedom of expression. Muslims believe that any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous.
Cartoons were projected onto government buildings in France. Earlier this month, Macron had described Islam as a religion “in crisis” worldwide. He vowed to present a bill in December to strengthen a law that officially separated church and state in France.
Muslim world condemns Macron
Since Friday social media has been awash with criticism of Macron in countries from west to east, including the UK, Kuwait, Qatar, Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
People are pouring out their feelings under the English hashtags #BoycottFrenchProducts and #Islam and #NeverTheProphet in Arabic.
The social media campaign has led to several Arab trade associations to announce their boycotts of French products.
As the spat has drawn in world leaders, the Muslim world condemns Macron and people organise street protests.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter: “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.”
Pakistan‘s Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned the French ambassador in Islamabad to complain about Macron’s comments.
“The seeds of hate that are being cultivated today will polarise the society. And that will have serious consequences,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in a statement.
Imran seeks ban on Islamophobic content
The move comes a day after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote a letter to Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg seeking a ban on Islamophobic content, similar to the website’s measures against Holocaust deniers.
Qureshi said Pakistan had urged the United Nations “to take notice and action against the hate-based narrative against Islam.”
While the Muslim world condemned Macron, demonstrators in regions of war-torn Syria held protests, on Sunday. They burned pictures of Macron, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.
About 70 people protested in Libya‘s capital Tripoli, an AFP correspondent said. Some set fire to French flags and stamped on pictures of the French president.
“As Muslims it’s our duty to respect all the prophets, so we expect the same from all other religions,” housewife Fatima Mahmud, 56, said ahead of the Tripoli protest. “Demonising Islam and Muslims isn’t going to keep the social peace in France.”
Palestinians burn portraits of Macron
In the Gaza Strip, Palestinians burned portraits of Macron, calling his remarks “an attack and an insult against Islam”.
“We condemn the comments of the French president… And whoever offends the Prophet Mohammed, whether through words, actions, gestures or drawings,” said Maher al-Huli, a leader of the Palestinian Hamas group.
In Lebanon, Hezbollah condemned the “deliberate insult” to the Prophet.
Rabaa Allah, a pro-Iran faction in Iraq, said one and a half billion people worldwide had in effect been insulted. And it warned that its men were “ready to respond when and where they want”.
Morocco‘s foreign ministry also “vigorously” condemned the continued publication of the caricatures, in the official MAP news agency.
Jordan‘s Minister Mohammed al-Khalayleh said “insulting” prophets was “not an issue of personal freedom but a crime that encourages violence.”