The General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has condemned continued attacks and incitement against Muslim sentiment and insults of Prophet Muhammad, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.
A statement by the 57-member pan-Islamic OIC criticized the “discourse from certain French politicians, which it deems to be harmful to the Muslim-French relations, hate-mongering and only serving partisan political interests.”
It said the OIC “will always condemn practices of blasphemy and of insulting Prophets of Islam, Christianity and Judaism” as it condemned any crime committed in the name of religion.
The statement rejected the incitement against Islam, its symbols and linking Islam and Muslims with terrorism.
According to AA, the OIC statement also denounced the killing of French teacher Samuel Paty, who was decapitated on October 16 in a Paris suburb.
French teacher Samuel Paty, who had shown students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed, was beheaded outside his school. The man suspected of the beheading was an 18-year-old Moscow-born Chechnyan. The assailant was shot by police and later died of his injuries.
Erdoğan says Macron needs ‘mental treatment’
President Macron’s anti-Islam rhetoric sparked a diplomatic crisis between France and Turkey when France recalled its ambassador from Ankara after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Saturday Macron needs “mental treatment” because of his hostility toward Islam.
“What is Macron’s problem with Islam and Muslims? He needs mental health treatment,” Erdoğan said at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) congress in central Kayseri province. “What can be said to a head of state that treats millions of members of a religious minority in his country this way? First of all, (he needs) mental check,” Erdoğan added.
In response, a French presidential official told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that Paris was recalling its envoy to Ankara for consultations. Ambassador Herve Magro would meet Macron to discuss the situation, the official said.
France recently launched an extensive witch hunt against the Muslim community following Macron calling Islam a problematic religion that needs to be contained. Many nongovernmental organizations and mosques have been shut down in recent weeks, while assaults against Muslims have peaked.
Macron this month described Islam as a religion “in crisis” worldwide and said the government would present a bill in December to strengthen a 1905 law that officially separated church and state in France. He announced stricter oversight of schooling and better control over foreign funding of mosques.
Tellingly, James McAuley of The Washington Post wrote on Oct 23: Instead of addressing the alienation of French Muslims, especially in France’s exurban ghettos, or banlieues — which experts broadly agree is the root cause that leaves some susceptible to radicalization and violence — the government aims to influence the practice of a 1,400-year-old faith, one with almost 2 billion peaceful followers around the world, including tens of millions in the West.
Days after beheaded teacher Samuel Paty’s killing, two female attackers stabbed two Muslim women in headscarves and called them “dirty Arabs” as they walked near the Eiffel Tower. “There is a hysterical climate,” according to Rachid Benzine, a French political scientist.
Arabs condemn Macron’s remarks about Islam
Several Arab countries have condemned the French incitement against the Islam and the Prophet of Islam, warning that these repeated insults fuel hatred among the peoples.
In a statement, the Secretary General of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Nayef al-Hajraf described Macron’s statements against Islam as “irresponsible” and “cause to spread the culture of hatred among the peoples”.
“Such [French statements] come out at a time when efforts are underway to enhance tolerance and dialogue between cultures and religions,” al-Hajraf said in a statement.
The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.
Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry also expressed resentment at the French republication of the anti-prophet cartoons. A ministry statement warned that these insults will “ignite the spirit of hatred, violence and enmity, and jeopardize the international community’s efforts to spread the culture of tolerance and peace among peoples of the world”.
Pakistan Premier denounces Macron’s ‘encouragement of Islamophobia’
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan on Sunday denounced what he called was “encouragement of Islamophobia” by French President Emmanuel Macron, saying the European leader had chosen to “deliberately provoke” Muslims, including his own citizens.
In a series of tweets, the premier said that the sign of a leader was that he united people, like former South African president Nelson Mandela. “This is a time when President Macron could have put [a] healing touch and denied space to extremists rather than creating further polarization and marginalization that inevitably leads to radicalization,” he said.
The premier regretted that the French president had instead chosen to encourage Islamophobia by “attacking Islam rather than the terrorists who carry out violence, be it Muslims, White Supremacists or Nazi ideologists”.
Arab trade groups boycott French products over insults
Several Arab trade groups have announced their boycott of French products in response to incitements against the Islam and insulting statements against Prophet Muhammad, Turkish newspaper Yanishafak reported Monday.
Arab activists also launched several social media campaigns for the boycott of all French products, using several hashtags as (#boycottfrance #boycott_French_products #ProphetMuhammad).
In Kuwait, several trade groups such as Alnaeem Cooperative Society, the Suburb Afternoon Association, Eqaila Cooperative Society and Saad Al Abdallah City Cooperative Society. The three groups published photos showing French products being removed from their shelves.
In Qatar, Alwajba Dairy Company and Almeera Consumer Goods Company said they will boycott the French products and will provide other alternatives.
Qatar University also joined the boycott campaign, announcing that it decided to postpone the French Cultural Week in protest of the anti-Islam insults.
“Any denigration or violation of the Islamic beliefs, sanctities and symbols are absolutely rejected,” the university said in a statement. “These insults harm the universal human values and the high ethical principles of all societies,” it added on Twitter.
Not surprisingly, France called on Arab countries on Sunday to end calls to boycott French products. “These calls for boycott and attacks on our country pushed by a radical minority are without merit and must be stopped immediately,” French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said in a statement.