France has urged Arab countries to stop calls for boycotts of French products, while President Emmanuel Macron vowed the country would never give in to “Islamic radicals”.
The French Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement released on Sunday that in recent days there had been calls to boycott French products, notably food products, in several Middle Eastern countries as well as calls for demonstrations against France over the publication of satirical cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
“These calls for boycott are baseless and should stop immediately, as well as all attacks against our country, which are being pushed by a radical minority,” the statement said.
On Sunday, Macron tweeted, “We will not give in, ever to Islamic radicals.”
“We do not accept hate speech and defend reasonable debate,” the French leader added.
Calls to boycott French goods are already growing in the Arab world and beyond after Macron criticised Islamists and vowed not to “give up cartoons” depicting the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
Macron’s initial comments, on Wednesday, had come in response to the beheading of a teacher, Samuel Paty, outside his school in a suburb outside Paris earlier this month, after he had shown the blasphemous cartoons during a class he was leading on free speech.
With the French president pledging to fight “Islamist separatism”, which he said was threatening to take control in some Muslim communities around France, hashtags such as the #BoycottFrenchProducts in English and the Arabic #ExceptGodsMessenger trended across countries, including Pakistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.