Protests and calls to boycott French goods are growing around the world after President Emmanuel Macron’s comments against Islam and Muslims, AFP reported.
Macron on Wednesday accused Muslims of separatism and vowed not to give up cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammed.
The leader’s comments came in response to the beheading of a teacher, Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old teacher, who was attacked on his way home from the junior high school where he taught.
Egypt’s world renowned Islamic institution Al Azhar University denounced Macron’s remarks about Islam. Scholars at the University on Sunday called Macron’s statement ‘racist’. They say that French President’s remarks have nothing to do with the true essence of Islam.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday slammed Macron over his policies toward Muslims, saying that the French president needed “mental checks.”
“What can one say about a head of state who treats millions of members from different faith groups this way: first of all, have mental checks,” Erdogan said in a televised address.
On Saturday, Jordan’s foreign ministry said it condemned the “continued publication of caricatures of Prophet Muhammed under the pretext of freedom of expression” and any “discriminatory and misleading attempts that seek to link Islam with terrorism.”
It did not directly criticise Macron.
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.
Images on social media show workers removing French Kiri and Babybel processed cheese from shelves of supermarkets in Kuwait.
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.
Al Meera competes with French supermarket chains Monoprix and Carrefour for market share in the lucrative Qatari grocery sector.
Al Meera and another grocery operator, Souq Al Baladi, released statements late Friday saying they would pull French products from stores until further notice.
They stopped short of explicitly naming Macron or citing his comments, but the Al Meera statement said customer “comments guided our actions”.
Neither operator responded to AFP requests for comment.
Before Macron’s comments, he had already sparked a backlash in early October when he said “Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world”.
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”.
The same day, Qatar University wrote on Twitter that following “the deliberate abuse of Islam and its symbols”, French Cultural Week would be postponed indefinitely, in a context where 2020 is the France-Qatar year of culture.
Many Jordanians have changed their profiles on Facebook to add the message “Respect Mohammad the Prophet of Allah (God)”.
In Jaffa, a largely Arab town next to Tel Aviv, some 200 people protested after evening prayers on Saturday in front of the residence of France’s ambassador to Israel.