NEW DELHI – Muslims across the world are expressing anger and outrage over France after the European country allowed the publication of cartoons of Prophet Mohammed and launched a brutal crackdown against Muslims.
Tens of thousands of protesters have marched through the Bangladesh capital, calling for a boycott of French products as anger over President Emmanuel Macron’s defence of the cartoons.
The protesters on Tuesday burned an effigy of Macron during their march in Dhaka, chanting: “Boycott French products” and calling for the French leader to be punished over his alleged Islamophobia.
Besides Bangladesh, protests were also held in several Arab countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Palestine, Bahrain, Libya and Tunisia.
Saudi Arabia condemned the cartoons but held back from echoing calls by other Muslim states for action against images being displayed in France of the Prophet.
A foreign ministry official said in a statement that the Gulf state condemns all acts of terrorism, an apparent reference to the beheading of a Paris teacher who showed cartoons of the Prophet in a class on freedom of speech.
“Freedom of expression and culture should be a beacon of respect, tolerance and peace that rejects practices and acts which generate hatred, violence and extremism and are contrary to coexistence,” said the statement carried by state media.
Saudi Arabia’s daily Arab News on Tuesday cited the head of the Saudi-based Muslim World League, Mohammed al-Issa, as cautioning that an over-reaction “that is negative and goes beyond what is acceptable” would only benefit “haters”.
The images of the Prophet were first published years ago by a French controversial magazine. Since the killing of the teacher this month, the controversial cartoons have been displayed in France in solidarity, angering Muslims across the world.
Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan has called for a boycott of French goods and Pakistan’s parliament was passing a resolution urging the government to recall its envoy from Paris.
Call for boycotting French products were made, besides Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Lebanon Jordan, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.