Anger continues to grow across the Muslim world after French President Emmanuel Macron publicly attacked Islam in defense of the publication of derogatory cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Earlier in October, France led a national tribute to a teacher, who was recently beheaded by a Chechen teenager after showing his class the offensive caricatures.
The president said he would not “renounce the caricatures.” He described Islam as a religion “in crisis” and declared war on “Islamist separatism,” which he claimed was taking over France’s estimated six-million-strong Muslim population.
The comments have angered not only the Muslim community in France, but all Islamic nations, leading to protests, boycott calls and diplomatic condemnations in the Middle East and the broader Muslim world.
The demonstrators also held up posters showing caricatures of the European leader and chanted slogans in support of the Prophet.
“These ( Macron’s) statements jeopardize global security and harmony since they damage the coexistence between different religions. We condemn these statements and we ask the French president to apologize to all Muslims,” Abu Ayman, a protester, said.
Aqil al-Kadhemi, a cleric at the rally, also demanded an “apology to all Muslims because the Prophet is a symbol of Islam and Muslims.”
“We are demonstrating to denounce and strongly disapprove” of Macron’s comments, Kadhemi told AFP at the protest.
Other protesters called for a boycott of French products, like those already underway in supermarkets in the Persian Gulf kingdoms of Qatar and Kuwait, and demanded in Jordan and Turkey.
Moreover, Iraq’s Islamic Dawa Party strongly condemned Macron’s comments against Islam and demanded that he apologize.
In a provocative move that hurt the feelings of Muslims, Macron “has defended publication of caricatures offending Prophet Muhammad and said France would not give them up under the pretext that the country adheres to ‘secularism’ and ‘freedom of expression.’ The free speech has, however, been abused for repeated and deliberate insults to the Prophet, Islam and religions,” the political party said in a statement.
It added, “Such aggressive viewpoints reflect his (Macron’s) psychological complexes, his internal defeat and his tendency to insult dignitaries in the hopes that he would look great. These positions come within a deliberate approach aimed at undermining Islam and targeting its sanctities. Accordingly, they should not be tolerated.”
The Islamic Dawa Party then called on all Muslim institutions, states and nations to “express their outrage and condemnation, and voice their support for the Prophet.”
It also demanded an apology from the French leader, stating that his recent Islamophobic comments have hurt the feelings of nearly two billion Muslims across the globe, who make up more than a quarter of the world’s population and whose religion is currently the world’s second-largest after Christianity.
Separately, the Fatah (Conquest) Alliance has called for a boycott French goods in Iraq in protest at Macron’s anti-Islam stance.
“Muslim and Arab world besides friends of the French nation were astonished by Macron’s offensive statements against Islam and its honorable Prophet. We denounce Macron’s comments as we see them as a grave affront to humanitarian and cultural values,” it stated.
“Macron’s offensive remarks indicate his ignorance of Islam. He is living in a country, where Orientalism was born and flourished and a great deal of research has been conducted on the knowledge of Islam and its philosophical advantage over the Western civilization,” the statement added.
Featured image: A picture of French President Emmanuel Macron is burnt by Palestinians during a protest against the publications of a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad in France and Macron’s comments, near Hebron (al-Khalil) in the Israeli-occupied West Bank October 27, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)