Emmanuel Macron

Calls to boycott French goods have gained momentum in Muslim countries in response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s support for cartoons depicting Islam’s prophet Mohammed.

France “will not give up our cartoons,” Macron said after French teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in a suburb outside Paris earlier this month for showing cartoons of Mohammed in a class on freedom of expression.

On Friday, the cartoons were projected onto government buildings in France, sparking outcry in the Arab world.
Calls to boycott French products and hashtags defending Mohammed have gone viral on social media.

In Egypt, users mocked Macron by depicting him as a dog in social media posts. They have shared a list of French brands such as carmakers Peugeot and Renault, and well-known dairy names Kiri, Babybel and Danone, calling for people to boycott them.

In Kuwait, 50 cooperative societies announced they have removed all French products from their branches in the Gulf state, according to the al-Qabas news website.

In Qatar, shops are also reported to have removed French products from their shelves. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemned the “practice of running satirical caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad,” calling it “harmful to Muslim-French relations.”

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry also criticized the “continued publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, under the pretext of freedom of expression.”

Morocco’s Foreign Ministry echoed the remarks, “vigorously” condemning the continued publication of the “outrageous cartoons.”

“Freedom of expression cannot, under any circumstance, justify insulting … the Muslim religion, which has more than two billion believers worldwide,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that it condemned all violence carried out in the name of Islam.

Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s influential seat of learning, has also denounced the cartoons.

Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the grand imam of the Cairo-based Al-Azhar, said in a statement that the attack on Mohammed was part of a systematic campaign to use Islam to win political battles.

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