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Several Muslim countries decide to boycott French products



           


Several Muslim countries call for a boycott of French products (photo: F.Dubessy)
Several Muslim countries call for a boycott of French products (photo: F.Dubessy)
MENA / FRANCE. "We won't give up caricatures." The sentence pronounced by Emmanuel Macron, on Wednesday 21 October 2020, during a speech in homage to Samuel Paty, a history professor beheaded in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine by a Chechen Islamist Russian, and the reaction to these remarks by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have further raised tensions between Paris and Ankara.

On Saturday 24 October 2020, the Turkish president did not hesitate to launch to the French president, "all we can say about a head of state who treats millions of members of different religious communities in this way is: go first for mental health check-ups".

The Elysée Palace immediately described these remarks as "unacceptable", denouncing the Turkish president's "excessive and rude behaviour". Paris has moreover recalled Sunday, October 25, 2020 its ambassador in Turkey for, according to the diplomatic word consecrated, "consultation". Sunday, October 25, 2020, the French Foreign Ministry took over speaking of "hateful and slanderous propaganda against France" while noting "the absence of any official mark of condemnation or solidarity of the Turkish authorities after the terrorist attack in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.

During a course on freedom of expression, Samuel Paty had shown schoolchildren two cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed published by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

 

For Rabat, freedom of expression does not justify provocation

Created in 1970, the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which brings together fifty-seven countries on four continents (the largest after the UN), deplored on Twitter, Friday, October 23, 2020, the "political discourse of some French officials that offends Franco-Islamic relations and fuels feelings of hatred in the name of partisan political gains". In another message, the OIC indicates that it "condemns the systematic and continuous attack against the feelings of people of the Muslim faith through the insulting and repetitive cartoons on the person of the Prophet of Islam".

In a statement published Sunday, October 25, 2020 on its website, the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicates, about the continued publication of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, "the Kingdom of Morocco denounces these acts which reflect the immaturity of their perpetrators, and reaffirms that the freedom of some stops where the freedom and beliefs of others begin. Freedom of expression cannot, under any circumstances, justify the insulting provocation and insulting offence of the Muslim region, which has more than two billion believers in the world". While specifying "to condemn all obscurantist and barbaric violence allegedly perpetrated in the name of Islam" and to call "for an end to resentment and for discernment and respect for otherness, as a prerequisite for living together and for the serene and salutary dialogue of religions".

French food withdrawn from Qatar and Kuwait

The University of Qatar has also decided to postpone, "indefinitely", the French cultural week, referring to "the deliberate attack on Islam and its symbols". In Gaza, photos of Emmanuel Macron were burned.

At the same time, several Muslim countries in the Middle East have, since Friday 23 October 2020, called for a boycott of French products. The Al-Meera and Souq al-Baladi hypermarkets and supermarkets in Qatar have thus proceeded to withdraw these foodstuffs, mainly food, until further notice. The French cheeses, creams and cosmetics present in about sixty cooperatives in Kuwait have suffered the same fate. Turkey has taken the step of boycotting on Monday 26th October 2020. "Just as in France some people say 'don't buy Turkish brands', here I am addressing my nation: above all don't pay attention to French brands, don't buy them", said Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a speech.

In Kuwait, 430 travel agencies have suspended reservations for flights to France.

"Calls for boycott are pointless and must cease immediately, as well as all attacks against our country, instrumentalized by a radical minority," called on Sunday, October 25, 2020, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For its part, the ANIA (French National Association of Food Industries) said Monday, October 26, 2020, that it was "still too early to assess the economic consequences for a Middle East market that represents 3% of all exports in the sector. The association says it "supports the government's statements calling for a return to calm and not to take retaliatory measures against French companies that have always worked well with representatives of the sector and distribution of these partner countries".

All French products exported to this region represent 11.516 billion € including 1.3 billion € in food products.


Frédéric Dubessy


Monday, October 26th 2020



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