A hashtag is making rounds in Saudi Arabia, calling for the boycott of the supermarket retailer Carrefour of France. On Sunday, it managed to acquire the position of a second trending topic. While the French government has stood in firm support for the Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammad, radical Islamists, including groups from Islamist nations, have launched a series of attacks for anyone sharing or supporting those cartoons.
The foreign ministry of France said in a statement that there had been calls to boycott products from France, especially food products in several Middle Eastern countries.
There were calls for demonstrations against France over the Prophet Muhammad’s cartoon. As per the Islamic laws, any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous. The French ministry has called the authorities to mark its displeasure over such boycott actions. The step was taken to provide help to the French companies and ensure the safety of the French citizens.
In Kuwait, the non-governmental Union of Consumer Co-operative Societies has more than 70 establishments under its banner. They have issued a motion on 23rd October to boycott the products made in France. As per a report published in Reuters, several stores have removed the items such as hair and beauty products that were manufactured by French companies. Fahd Al-Kishti, Union head, said that they had removed the products in response to the ‘repeated insults’ against the Prophet.
The foreign minister of Kuwait met the French ambassador on Sunday and condemned the beheading of the teacher that took place on 16th October, but he also stressed on the need to avoid insulting religion in political or official statements.
As per reports, similar calls for boycott of French products have been resonated in Qatar, and Jordan too. French products, especially beauty items from leading French brands, were no longer in display in many supermarkets in these countries.
Comments by Pakistan’s Prime Minister
Pakistan PM Imran Khan had also criticized France over the statements made by its President Emmanuel Macron, stating that he had “attacked Islam” by encouraging the display of cartoons in the name of Freedom of Speech. He has also written a letter to Mark Zuckerberg urging him to ban posts against Islam just like he did for the posts distorting facts on Holocaust.
On Saturday, France recalled its ambassador to Turkey after Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey, said Macron needed mental help over his attitude towards Muslims. Interestingly, several Muslims, including leaders like Imran Khan, are trying to justify the beheading of a teacher in France for showing the Prophet’s cartoons in the classroom, saying it is blasphemy.
On 25th October, several hashtags supporting the ban on French products made rounds on social media platforms as an ‘answer’ to the statement issued by the President of France who condemned the killing of the teacher. France has also initiated action against extremists in France to ensure Law and Order is in place in the country.