France has urged countries in the Middle East not to boycott the country’s goods, including food, amid a backlash against President Emmanuel Macron’s stance on cartoon depictions of Prophet Muhammad.
Products produced in France have been removed from retail shelves in Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar, while Saudi Arabia has called for a boycott of French supermarket Carrefour, according to reports from Reuters and the BBC.
Meanwhile, protests have been seen in Libya, Syria and the Gaza Strip after Macron, in response to the beheading of school teacher Samuel Paty by a suspected Islamist militant earlier this month, said he “was killed because Islamists want our future”, but France would “not give up our cartoons”.
France’s foreign ministry said in a statement cited by Reuters yesterday (25 October): “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.”
French national Paty was killed close to his school on Friday, 16 October, by Abdullakh Anzorov, who was shot dead by police following the attack. The teacher was targeted for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his students.
Before the attack, Anzorov had been in contact with a Russian-speaking jihadist in Syria, according to the BBC. He was born in Moscow and his family is from Russia’s Muslim-majority Chechnya region in the North Caucasus. He had lived in France since 2008.