(Istanbul) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again attacked his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Sunday, whose recent comments on Islam have sparked criticism, demonstrations and even calls for a boycott of French products in the Muslim world.
Posted on October 25, 2020 at 1:03 p.m.
France Media Agency
The Turkish president again questioned the sanity of Mr. Macron, repeating in substance his remarks of the day before. “All that can be said of a head of state who treats millions of members of different religious communities in this way is: ‘go for mental health examinations first’,” he said. said Saturday in a televised speech.
Mr. Erdogan had already denounced as a provocation two weeks ago the declarations of Mr. Macron on “Islamist separatism” and the need to “structure Islam” in France, while the French executive presented his future project of law on this topic.
The Turkish leader also criticizes, since this weekend, his French counterpart for having promised that France would continue to defend the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. On Wednesday, Mr. Macron was speaking at the tribute ceremony to Samuel Paty, a teacher beheaded in an Islamist attack for showing these drawings in class.
This promise by the French head of state triggered a flood of criticism in many countries with a Muslim majority, from political and religious leaders, elected officials but also ordinary citizens.
In Libya, where Mr. Macron’s words were described as “provocative” on social networks, Internet users called for demonstrations on Sunday in the large Martyrs Square, in downtown Tripoli.
Small groups have already protested in several cities on Saturday, waving signs with the hashtag “Everything except the prophet”, “the prophet is a red line” as well as portraits of the French president crossed out with a red cross.
Burnt flags and photos
It was also Saturday that about 200 people gathered in the evening in front of the residence of the French ambassador to Israel. And, in the Gaza Strip, demonstrators burned photos of the French president.
In the Tunisian locality of El Kamour, at the gates of the Sahara, an anti-France parade gathered a few dozen people on Sunday, according to images released by a local collective.
As in other countries, calls to boycott French products have spread on social networks. But other Tunisian netizens have criticized the means used to defend the prophet, made fun of boycott attempts, and defended freedom of expression.
Also in the Maghreb, the head of the Algerian Islamist party Front de la justice et du développement (FJD), Abdallah Djaballah, called for a boycott of French products and requested the summons of the French ambassador.
In the Middle East, a symbolic call for boycott also took place in Bab al-Hawa, a border crossing point in northwestern Syria, in rebel hands and where few French products reach.
Demonstrations were organized “in various regions beyond the control of the regime” of Damascus, also told AFP Rami Abdel Rahmane, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), specifying that portraits of Mr. Macron had been burned.
In neighboring Jordan, the Minister of Islamic Affairs Mohammed al-Khalayleh considered that “offending” the prophets was “not a matter of personal freedom but a crime which encourages violence”.
In Lebanon, the demonstration planned in front of the French embassy on Sunday did not – like the day before – attract anyone except dozens of soldiers and riot control forces.
The powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah condemned him “strongly the deliberate insult” made to the prophet, expressing in a press release its “rejection of the persistent French position consisting in encouraging this dangerous affront”.
In Kuwait, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Ahmed Nasser al-Mohammed al-Sabah “met” the Ambassador of France Anne-Claire Legendre.
“They spoke of the heinous crime of which a French teacher was the victim”, noted a Kuwaiti press release on Sunday, specifying that the minister had also underlined “the importance of putting an end to attacks on monotheistic religions and prophets in certain official speeches […] likely to exacerbate hatred ”.
In Iraq, Rabaa Allah, the latest of the pro-Iran armed factions – and the most powerful – said he was ready “to respond”, without further details, after what she called “an insult to a billion and a half of people ”.
Pro-Iranians in Iraq recently torched a television for insulting Islam as well as the headquarters of a Kurdish party in Baghdad.
In Pakistan, finally, Prime Minister Imran Khan also reacted on Sunday by accusing Emmanuel Macron of “attacking Islam”.
He “could have played appeasement […] rather than creating additional polarization and marginalization which inevitably leads to radicalization, ”he tweeted.
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