Putting their differences aside, most of the Muslim world has come together to protest anti-Muslim bigotry in France.

Muslims around the world including in India have taken out rallies to condemn the French President Emmanuel Macron's remarks.
Muslims around the world including in India have taken out rallies to condemn the French President Emmanuel Macron's remarks. (AP)

In recent years, a host of issues have divided the Muslims. Turkey and Iran have backed opposite sides in the Syrian conflict. Gulf nations have boycotted neighbouring Qatar, and Pakistan decried lack of support from the UAE on its dispute over Kashmir with India. 

But the provocative anti-Islam actions and statements from French President Emmanuel Macron insulting the Prophet Muhammad, have become common ground for people and most of the leaders in the Muslim world to come together. 

From Rabat to Islamabad, Ankara to Tehran, Cairo, Dhaka and Kuwait, Muslims have reacted with intense anger and disgust at how Paris has chosen to speak about Islam, and the position it has taken on the matter of derogatory caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. 

In Bangladesh, a city that is a large consumer of French perfumes and cosmetics, tens of thousands of protesters took part in a rally calling for a boycott of made-in-France goods. 

Stores in Turkey, Pakistan, Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan have removed French cheese and cosmetics from shelves to express anger over Macron's belligerence. 

Videos posted online, shared by people from different countries, show staff at stores throwing jars of jam and instant noodles with the "Made in France" emblem into trolleys and taking them away. 

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has backed the calls for a boycott. 

“Just like they say ‘Don’t buy goods with Turkish brands’ in France, I am calling to all my citizens from here to never help French brands or buy them,” he said on Monday.

Pakistan, Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait, Iran and the OIC have all condemned Macron’s statements and French attempts to link Islam with terrorism. 

While France has attempted to say they are tackling ‘radical Islam’, Macron has repeatedly conflated the actions of a fringe minority with normative Islam  by adopting far-right talking points.

The 6 million Muslims who live in France - the largest Muslim population in any European country - have long complained that they feel targeted. 

In controversial remarks, Macron alleged that Islam as a faith is in “crisis” and accused Muslims of harbouring “separatist” tendencies. His remarks have been vehemently criticised both in France and abroad. 


The French president has aggravated the situation with his controversial remarks in the wake of the killing of a French teacher, Samuel Paty, who had shown insulting cartoons of the prophet to his students. 

For Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is forbidden in Islam. 

The publication of the caricatures, first appearing in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, have resulted in violence before. Experts and leaders in Muslim countries have warned that publishing derogatory material under the cover of freedom of expression will only promote intolerance. 

To make matters worse, Macron ordered giant displays of the caricatures to be shown on government buildings. 

On Facebook, tens of thousands have joined the debate about how Macron appears to be attacking Islam under the guise of free speech. Many of them have updated their profile pictures with ‘Respect Muhammad’. 

Even though France’s biggest trading partners are fellow European countries, it exported around $45 billion worth of goods to Muslim countries last year.  

It also draws a lot of revenue from selling weapons to Muslim countries where a campaign to boycott French goods is gaining ground these days. 

Source: TRT World