PARIS — There have been mounting calls in the Islamic world to boycott French products after France’s President Emmanuel Macron earlier this week said the country “will not give up caricatures, drawings,” referring to cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have been circulating.
Macron has been vocal about promising to defend secular values and fight radical Islam after a teacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded by a Muslim attacker on Oct. 16 for showing cartoons of Muhammad during a class in Paris suburb of Éragny.
The recently reissued cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad by the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo are at the heart of the outcry. They were the same drawings that sparked anger in numerous countries and al-Qaeda, which claimed the January 2015 terrorist attack at the newspaper in which 12 people were killed.
The Islamic tradition forbids depictions of Muhammad and Allah.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, an intergovernmental group, on Friday issued a statement saying that it “has been following the ongoing practice of running satirical caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad, being struck with astonishment at so unexpected a discourse from certain French politicians, which it deems to be harmful to the Muslim-French relations, hate-mongering and only serving partisan interests.”
Countries decrying the publications of the cartoons in France reportedly include Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait and Morocco. Since Friday, calls to boycott French products, with the hashtag #bocyottfrenchproducts and #boycottfrance, are burgeoning online.
On Twitter, for instance, one list of French brands to boycott that’s been circulating includes Lancôme, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Givenchy.
Some Arab trade groups have reportedly begun removing French products from their shelves.
Demonstrations, such as one in front of the French ambassador to Israel’s residence in Paris, have taken place during the past few days.
There was an attack late last month in central Paris, not far from Charlie Hebdo’s former offices, when a man stabbed two people and said his actions were linked to the cartoons’ recent republication.
Meanwhile, France has said it would recall its envoy to Turkey after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insulted Macron, suggesting he needed a mental health check.
On Sunday night, the French government issued a statement saying: “In several countries in the Middle East, calls for a boycott of French products, especially in agri-food, have developed in recent days, as well as calls more generally to demonstrate against France, sometimes in hateful terms, relayed on social networks.”
The statement said the calls to boycott distort France’s position in favor of freedom of conscience, expression and religion, and the refusal of any call to hatred. It said, as well, that the calls to boycott distort and use for political ends remarks made by Macron.
“The boycott calls are pointless and must end immediately, as well as all the attacks directed against our country, instrumentalized by a radical minority,” the French government wrote.
Read more from WWD:
WATCH: Inside a Strange Spring 2021 Paris Fashion Week