French foreign ministry on backfoot as #boycottfrenchproducts campaign spirals out of control; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls for boycott of French products


The campaign calling for the boycott of French goods has spread with lightning speed across the Muslim world after French President Emmanuel Macron made disparaging comments about Islam. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become the first head of the state to call his country to boycott French products.

According to the BBC, Erdogan urged world leaders in a televised speech to protect Muslims if there is ‘oppression against Muslims in France.’ He also angrily slammed Macron for his comments describing Islam as a religion in ‘crisis.’ What has also angered Erdogan is Macron’s defence of the right to show cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

Ealier, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan too had criticised Macron’s stand on Islam when he tweeted, “Hallmark of a leader is he unites human beings, as Mandela did, rather than dividing them. This is a time when Pres Macron could have put healing touch & denied space to extremists rather than creating further polarisation & marginalisation that inevitably leads to radicalisation.”

Khan had, however, refrained from calling for the Pakistanis to boycott French products.

But it did not stop angry Muslims across the Gulf region from launching hashtag #boycottfrenchproducts on the microblogging site Twitter. This has become a top trending hashtag globally.

According to Al-Jazeera, the chairman and members of the board of directors of the Al-Naeem Cooperative Society in Kuwait have decided to boycott all French products and to remove them from supermarket shelves. Similar stand was soon taken by Dahiyat al-Thuhr association, which said, “Based on the position of French President Emmanuel Macron and his support for the offensive cartoons against our beloved prophet, we decided to remove all French products from the market and branches until further notice.”

Reports of consumers boycotting French products from Qatar, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are also pouring in. In some Muslim countries, supermarket owners have covered the shelves displaying French goods. There are also calls to boycott French supermarket Carrefour, which is one of the largest supermarket groups in Saudi Arabia. Analysts believe that if Muslims decide to boycott Carrefour in Saudi Arabia, the move would have a crippling effect on the French company.

Frightened by the support that the campaign to boycott French products is receiving across the Muslim world, the French foreign ministry also urged authorities in the countries to speak out against such protests in order to help French companies and ensure the safety of its citizens. A report by London’s Sky News quoted the French foreign ministry as saying, “These calls for boycotts are baseless and should stop immediately, as well as all attacks against our country, which are being pushed by a radical minority.”

The global outrage against French products follows the murder of Paris teacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded for showing the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) to his students on a lesson on freedom of speech.


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