Muslims Call for Boycott of French Goods
The Muslims in the Middle East and around the globe have started boycotts of French products. It is a protest against the French Government’s support of anti-Muslim steps and the most recent defamation move of the Prophet Muhammad (peace e upon Him). The boycott movement is intensifying as countries are joining the call. French dairy products and other food items are removed from the store shelves in Kuwait. A University in Qatar has canceled the French cultural week. Social Media is flooding with calls to stay away from the french retailer chain Carrefour and other french origin businesses. Pakistan Government has called upon the French ambassador to convey its protest. The Parliament in Pakistan also passed a resolution condemning the publication of caricatures of the beloved Prophet. Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, accused Macron of encouraging the sentiment against Muslims.
The French Government has a history of taking steps to irritate Muslim ideology in the name of secularism and the right to free speech. Muslims are much more sensitive to the honor of their Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and rightfully consider such actions a blasphemy. The gulf of confrontation is wide enough to bridge as the west, by and large, refuses to understand the concern of Muslims. The Muslim boycott of french products can not cause a massive loss to the French economy. It can, however, play a part in putting some pressure on french companies.
The new wave of tension started after the beheading of a teacher by an 18-year-old Chechen refugee. The teacher was held accountable for forcefully showing disputed caricatures without realizing the religious sentiment of his Muslim students. French President Emmanuel Macron, however, is protecting the action of the killed teacher in the name of the right to free speech. The point to ponder is that if the right to free speech has a limitation in the case of the holocaust, it must have similar restrictions in case of Muslim sensitivities.
The French Government is planning an enactment to root out what Macron terms “Islamist separatism,” He also said that Islam is “a religion that is in crisis all over the world.” Such comments are unacceptable in the Muslim countries both among masses and leadership. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has been the most vocal among Muslim leaders declaring Macron a fit case for a mental check-up. France called back its ambassador to Turkey in reaction. Majority of Muslim countries having sufferings from terrorism strongly condemn every sort of terrorist attack everywhere. The killing of the French teacher was equally condemned, by the Muslim political leadership, the Muslim political bodies, and all other prominent forums like the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Need for Harmony
It is high time for the Muslim intelligentsia to start a meaningful dialogue with the west to bridge the divided opinion. There are prudent people among the ruling elite of the west who want to live in peace by creating cultural and religious harmony among nations and religions. The world needs to arrive at a new social understanding to define the gray areas of beliefs and other sensitivities, like the example of laws on the holocaust. Why likewise protocols can not be applied for Muslims and other religions if the world has already agreed to it for a particular religious and ethnic group?