France paying the price for defending cartoons Mocking Islam, Muslims and Prophet Muhammad

By Latheef Farook

It appears France is paying the price for its hostility towards Islam and Muslims under the guise of defending freedom of speech. Already French companies exporting to Muslim countries worldwide begin to feel the pinch with the boycott of French products in force as a mark of protest against government’s hostile attitude.

Oil rich Gulf countries have been in the forefront in boycotting French products. The impact is such that French foreign ministry has urged Middle Eastern countries to end calls for boycott of its goods in protest at President Emmanuel Macron’s defense of the right to show cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

As we know on 16 October 2020, French teacher Samuel Paty was decapitated for his cartoon mocking Prophet Muhammad by 18-year old Chechen Muslim Abdullah Anzorov who was later shot dead by French police.

The backlash stems from comments made by President Macron who said the teacher Samuel Paty “was killed because Islamists want our future”, but France would “not give up our cartoons. Islam is a religion in crisis all over the world today, we don’t see it only in our country”.

The question is why did Macron brought Islam into the scene as the religion has nothing to with the incident .Many columnists pointed out it was deliberate move to politicize aimed at forthcoming elections.

The response has been swift and fierce from Muslim leaders and Muslims alike. So much so the war of words between France and Turkey over cartoons continues to escalate. To rousing applause from parliamentary deputies of his party, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Western countries of seeking to re-launch the Crusades. Erdogan said it is an issue of honor for Turkey to stand against the attacks against the Prophet.

Hossam Shaker, journalist and author who has extensively covered the topic of migration in Europe stated that France is losing its global reputation and soft power, with its image now linked to provocation, hate speech and moral humiliation

As hate speech against Muslims and Islam is increasingly wrapped in the flag of free speech, this defamation is becoming more ingrained in “the values of Europe” and “the civilized world”.

Nobel Peace Laureate Tawakkol Karman

Nobel Peace Laureate, Tawakkol Karman said Macron’s attack on Islam reveals intolerance and hatred which is shameful for the head of a state like France. Karman urged Macron to speak about Islam with respect and acceptance, instead of accusations against his citizens who follow the faith. “Macron has delivered his irresponsible inflammatory speech against Muslims and their religion to satisfy a group of fanatics so that they will vote for him,” she added.

The true crisis is not a crisis in Islam, but in French politics. If anyone deserves mockery, it is not Prophet Mohammed – whose message of nearly 1,500 years ago was that of peace, justice and equality – but, rather, Macron himself, who continues to distract from his unmitigated failure as a politician by pitting the French people, religious or otherwise, against each other. Hopefully, Charlie Hebdo will be satirizing that reality sometime soon

As hate speech against Muslims and Islam is increasingly wrapped in the flag of free speech, this defamation is becoming more ingrained in “the values of Europe” and “the civilized world”.

Amina Easat-Daas

Amina Easat-Daas, lecturer in politics at De Montfort University ,Leicester,UK said, France’s so called liberty, equality and fraternity does not apply to its around 8 percent of Muslim population who are third and fourth generation of Muslims brought from its African colonies to fight their wars and do menial work for them.

For example, two visibly Muslim women wearing headscarves were attacked and stabbed by two French women at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris last week. The attackers shouted at the Muslim women, calling them “dirty Arabs” and telling them that “this [France] was not their home”, before forcibly removing the Muslim women’s headscarves.

This type of attack is not unusual in France. Furthermore, international commentators noted that this specific attack on the two Muslim women received very little media coverage at a time when many French media outlets were fixated on Islam.

Juxtaposed with this situation, there have been growing reports of French Muslims now leaving the country, with France now experiencing a Muslim “brain drain”. Those who can flee France appear to be doing so, while stating “I love my country, but I’m not going to spend the rest of my life apologizing for being Muslim. I go where I am respected.”

One columnist said “France is not more racist than before. In the 1960s they used to throw Arabs in the Seine River, you know?” he added, alluding to the brutal crackdown on demonstrators that shook the streets of Paris at the heights of the war for independence in Algeria.

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