Tens of thousands protest in Dhaka, Saudi Arabia weighs in, and Iran summons diplomat over France’s treatment of Islam.
A Palestinian burns a picture depicting French President Emmanuel Macron [Suhaib Salem/Reuters]
A rift between France and Muslim nations is growing after French President Emmanuel Macron said earlier this month that Islam was in “crisis”.
Tension escalated after French teacher Samuel Paty was killed on October 16 near his school in broad daylight. He had shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to his students. Since the crime, French officials were perceived as linking the killing to Islam.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticised Macron, saying the French leader needed “mental checks” over his attitude towards Islam.
Across the Muslim world, some leaders have condemned France and Macron, including Saudi Arabia and Iran; while tens of thousands have attended protests in Bangladesh calling for a boycott of French goods.
2 hours ago
Turkish President to feature on cover of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo
President Erdogan will grace the cover of the next edition of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, the publication said in a tweet, likely escalating a war of words between Erdogan and Western powers over freedom of speech. The tweet showed a cover featuring a caricature of Erdogan sitting in a chair and lifting the dress of a woman to reveal her backside with the caption “Erdogan – he’s a lot of fun in private.”
The next Charlie Hebdo is set for release on Wednesday.
Erdogan has been at the forefront of a wave of anger from Muslim majority countries after Charlie Hebdo opted to rerelease caricatures of the Islamic prophet Mohammed that had enraged Muslims a decade.
4 hours ago
France urges EU to adopt measures against Turkey at next summit
France has urged fellow European Union leaders to adopt measures against Turkey, after President Erdogan questioned President Macron’s mental health and called for a boycott of French goods.
“France is united and Europe is united. At the next European Council, Europe will have to take decisions that will allow it to strengthen the power balance with Turkey to better defend its interests and European values,” Trade Minister Franck Riester told lawmakers, without elaborating.
5 hours ago
Turkey’s parliament condemns Macron’s remarks
Turkey’s parliament has condemned French Macron’s defence of caricatures depicting Prophet Muhammed, saying his comments were “sick sick rhetoric” with the potential to cause a global rupture.
Four parties including the ruling AK Party, their allies the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the secularist main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Iyi Party, issued a joint declaration saying Macron’s remarks could cause “destructive conflicts” among people of different beliefs. “With his reckless actions under the pretence of ‘supporting freedom of expression’, (Macron) is triggering a conflict, rupture whose global repercussions can deeply and negatively impact people of all beliefs,” the four parties said in their joint statement.
5 hours ago
US hopes France, Turkey ease tensions
The United States has voiced hope that NATO allies France and Turkey would ease tensions that have soared over President Emmanuel Macron’s defence of caricatures depicting Prophet Muhammad.
“The United States strongly believes that unnecessary Alliance infighting only serves our adversaries,” a State Department spokesperson said.
6 hours ago
Kadyrov to Macron: ‘You are forcing people into terrorism’
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyron has said that President Emmanuel Macron was contributing to the radicalisation of people by insisting that caricatures of Prophet Muhammad fell under free speech.
“You are forcing people into terrorism, pushing people towards it, not leaving them any choice, creating the conditions for the growth of extremism in young people’s heads,” Kadyron wrote on Instagram. “You can boldly call yourself the leader and inspiration of terrorism in your country,” Kadyrov wrote, addressing Macron.”
The Chechen leader said Macron ‘was the inspiration of terrorism’ in France [File: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP]
7 hours ago
Parisians more concerned with COVID-19 than Muslim world fallout As tensions between French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mount amid a debate over Islam and freedom of expression, some in France have offered an eye-roll response, while the French president’s domestic opponents have seized on an opportunity to criticise his failure to address the deepening crisis.
The fallout between the Muslim world and France continued on Tuesday, with anger rising over Macron’s recent speech in which he said Islam was “in crisis” globally, and amid renewed support in the country for the right to display caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
“This isn’t the time for this,” Silouane Tessak, a student living in northeast Paris, told Al Jazeera. “There’s so much going on in the world, especially with the [coronavirus] health crisis. Is this really the appropriate moment for a political spat?”
Others worried the drama was creating an unnecessary distraction as France deals with record numbers of new coronavirus cases.
7 hours ago
Boycott of French goods: ‘This is the strongest weapon we have’
In Qatar, shoppers said they supported the decision by some retailers to withdraw French products from their shelves. “I commend this decision by al Meera and I hope other companies will follow its example,” said Jassim Ibrahim Shahbeek, referring to one of the country’s biggest supermarket chains. “This is the strongest weapon we have right now.”
Omar Mbarak al-Ali, another Doha resident, said the decision was reflective of people’s position, expressing hope the boycott “will reach French officials and certainly make a difference.”
Doha residents expressed hope that the boycott initiative of French products would get their voices heard [File: AFP]
10 hours ago
#IStandWithFrance trends in India amid outrage in Muslim world
As Muslims across the world protest and broaden their calls for a boycott of French products, hashtags with a different message are trending in Hindu-majority India. #IStandWithFrance and #WeStandWithFrance were among the top trends on Indian Twitter on Monday and Tuesday, with thousands expressing their solidarity with France.
10 hours ago
France boycott call puts Turkey ‘even further’ from EU
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s support for a boycott of French goods is a further setback to Turkey’s already stalled bid to join the European Union, the European Commission said. “Calls for boycott of products of any member state are contrary to the spirit of these obligations and will take Turkey even further away from the European Union,” a spokesman said.
11 hours ago
Turkish president files complaint against Dutch MP Wilders
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lodged a criminal complaint against Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders over an insulting tweet.
“Fascism is not in our book, it’s in your book. Social justice is in our book,” Erdogan said on Sunday at a meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the eastern Malatya province, calling Wilders a “fascist”. His remarks came after Party for Freedom leader Wilders, known for his anti-Islam stance, shared on Twitter an insulting cartoon of the Turkish president which was denounced by several Turkish officials, including Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
11 hours ago
Palestinians protest French insults against Islam
Hundreds of Palestinians staged a protest in the town of Al-Ram in Jerusalem against French President Emmanuel Macron. They believe the French president’s critique of Islam and the country’s support for the caricatures of Prophet Muhammad were insulting. Protesters waved banners and chanted slogans defending the prophet.
A Palestinian walks past a crossed-out picture of French President Emmanuel Macron during a protest [Suhaib Salem/Reuters]
13 hours ago
France tells its citizens in Muslim countries: Watch out for backlash
France has warned its citizens living or travelling in several Muslim-majority countries to take extra security precautions because of a surge of anger over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad displayed in a French school.
French officials have said they will continue to support the right to show the caricatures after an 18-year-old student of Chechen origin killed Samuel Paty, a teacher who showed the images to his pupils as part of a civics lesson.
13 hours ago
Tens of thousands stage anti-France rally in Bangladesh capital
Tens of thousands of protesters marched through Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital, calling for a boycott of French products and burning an effigy of Macron after he defended caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Police estimated that more than 40,000 people took part in the march, which was halted before it could get close to the French embassy. Hundreds of officers used a barbed-wire barricade to stop the protesters, who dispersed peacefully.