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Blasphemy and boycott: Will the French apologize?

In France, blasphemous sketches in the name of freedom of expression once again resurfaced and hurts the sentiments of millions of Muslims across the globe.

The French president is being criticized with protests breaking out in several cities across the world after Macron accused Muslims of separatism and vowed not to give up cartoons depicting the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

His comments came in response to the beheading of a 47-year-old teacher, Samuel Paty, who was attacked on his way home from the junior high school where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 40 kilometers northwest of Paris.

The reaction of Muslims: Boycott of French products

As the news of the blasphemous sketches surfaced, Muslims around the world began to express their grief and anger. Demand for a boycott of French companies gains momentum in Pakistan today; social media users make it a top trend.

Many countries have boycotted French products since blasphemous sketches were hung on French government buildings. The OIC also said that the sentiments of Muslims are repeatedly hurt under a planned agenda.

Several Muslim leaders have called for a campaign to boycott French products because of the offending cartoons published in the country.

Turkey and Pakistan’s response

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron needs “mental treatment” over his antagonistic attitude towards Muslims and Islam.

Erdogan said what is the problem of this person called Macron with Muslims and Islam? Macron needs treatment on a mental level.

What else can be said to a head of state who does not understand freedom of belief and who behaves in this way to millions of people living in his country who are members of a different faith? Erdogan said.

PM Imran slams French President Macron

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday lashed out at the French President Emmanuel Macron over his anti-Muslim attitude, criticizing him for hurting the sentiments of millions of Muslims across the globe.

In a series of tweets, the prime minister, while presenting examples of the iconic leader Nelson Mandela, said that this is a time when President Macron could have put the healing touch and denied space to extremists rather than creating further polarisation and marginalization that inevitably leads to radicalization.

It is unfortunate that he has chosen to encourage Islamophobia by attacking Islam rather than the terrorists who carry out violence, be it Muslims, White Supremacists or Nazi ideologists, he said.

Sadly, President Macron has chosen to deliberately provoke Muslims, incl his own citizens, through encouraging the display of blasphemous cartoons targeting Islam and our Prophet (PBUH), the premier added.

Condemning that by attacking Islam, Macron has hurt the sentiments of Muslims around the world; PM Imran said that the last thing the world wants or needs is further polarisation.  Public statements based on ignorance will create more hate, Islamophobia and space for extremists, he added.

French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo, a weekly magazine based in the French capital, Paris, regularly publishes cartoons, reports and jokes, with controversial articles against not only Islam but also Christianity, Judaism and culture. The journal was started in 1970 and closed in 1981 for such articles.

Charlie Hebdo has started his services again in 1992, after which a number of controversial articles, cartoons and reports were published. In 2011 and 2015   attacks were carried out on the publication over blasphemous sketches of the Holy Prophet.

Is a boycott of French companies the solution?

The world today is a global village, and people should not be hurt based on their religious beliefs in the name of freedom. Muslims do not tolerate the insolence of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and they always openly speak out against it.

It seems, by publishing controversial and offensive sketches and the desecration of the Holy Quran all Muslim countries, including Pakistan, are being pushed towards World War III.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should address these issues as the West views religion differently than this region.

The OIC must address the fact that the entire Muslim world is being condemned for the actions of a few (the Charlie Hebdo attackers) who resort to extremism.

Undoubtedly, by boycotting French companies, Muslims can put pressure on the countries, including France, and send a message to them that Muslims suffer from insults to the Holy Prophet and can do anything for their Prophet.

It is also necessary to boycott French products which might cause hit the French economy because they are ignoring the feelings of Muslims by publishing blasphemous cartoons.