France urges Arab nations to prevent boycotting its products

France urges Arab nations to prevent boycotting its products
Some shops in Kuwait had stripped their shelves of French-made products by Sunday. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: France has urged Middle Eastern countries to end calls for boycotting its products in protest at President Macron’s defense of the right to show cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

The foreign ministry of France said the “baseless” calls for a boycott were being “pushed by a radical minority”.

French products have been removed from some shops in Kuwait, Qatar and Jordan.

Meanwhile, protests have been seen in Syria, Libya and the Gaza Strip. The boycotting call is heard in many Arab countries.

The backlash stems from comments made by the French President after the gruesome murder of French teacher Samuel Paty, who showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class.

The president said the teacher “was killed because Islamists want our future”, but France would “not give up our cartoons”.

Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad can cause serious offence to Muslims because images of Muhammad and Allah (God) explicitly forbids in Islamic tradition.

But state secularism is central to France’s national identity. France says, curbing freedom of expression to protect the feelings of one particular community, undermines unity.

Mr Macron doubled down on his defense of French values on Sunday in a tweet that read: “We will not give in, ever.”

Political leaders in Pakistan and Turkey have rounded on Mr Macron, accusing him of not respecting “freedom of belief” and marginalising the millions of Muslims in France.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested, for a second time on Sunday, that Mr Macron should seek “mental checks” for his views on Islam.

Similar comments prompted France to recall its ambassador to Ankara for consultations on Saturday.

You may read: France expressed anger after Erdogan says Macron needs ‘mental check’