Tens of thousands of conservative Muslims around the world are protesting against France’s Emmanuel Macron as fury grows over his perceived animosity towards Islam.
Two murders followed one after the other, what France described as ‘Islamist terrorist’ attacks after a school teacher showed cartoons of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed to children in a class of freedom of expression.
The cartoon was published by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo ten years after the first publication of the same led to a deadly Jihadist attack in the publication’s Paris office killing several staves in the office.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the nation will not give in making cartoons and will crackdown on the radical Islam that seeks to disrupt French secularism.
Explicit depiction of Prophet Mohammed is deemed blasphemous in Islam, and France’s iron stance in protecting the right to sustain cartoon-making has hurt the religious sentiments of the Muslims around the world.
Kuwait, Qatar, and few other Middle Eastern countries swiftly boycotted French products from supermarkets and other major countries joined the spat.
Following the last deadly attack on three people in the French city of Nice, France is now on the highest level alert of succeeding terrorist attacks.
President Macron has deployed thousands of troops to protect schools and religious centers, vulnerable to jihadist attacks.
Meanwhile, the Muslim world, already irked by Macron’s earlier comments where he said Islam is a religion ‘in crisis,’ has taken to huge rallies in countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Kuwait.
Thousands of people marched the streets of the Pakistani capital Islamabad and Karachi on Friday towards the French embassy. The BBC reports local police had to fire tear gases at the charging mob to pacify, some of whom tried to break through the police barricade.
In Bangladesh, an estimated 40,000 marched the streets of the capital Dhaka alleging Macron of spreading ‘islamophobia.’ People burned effigies of the French President, and hung garlands made of shoes on Macron’s cutouts — deep symbolic defamation.
“The Muslim world will not let this go in vain. We’ll rise and stand in solidarity against him,” said a Dhaka protestor to Reuters news agency. Some people had banners called Macron ‘the world’s biggest terrorist.’
In India, under the call of a Muslim MLA from the Congress, thousands demonstrated in the Western Indian city of Bhopal. People held placards of Macron with a red-cross on his image.
In the Western city of Mumbai, people pasted Emmanuel Macron’s images on the streets so that it gets trampled and crushed under vehicles in a show of severe hatred.
In Jerusalem, Islam’s third-holiest city, people stages protest over Macron’s stern defense for making cartoons. Hundreds of Palestinians gathered to protest near the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“With our souls and with our blood we sacrifice for our prophet, Muhammad,” the protestors chanted.
A shoemaker named Imad Mohammad from Jerusalem protested by engraving the names of US President Trump and French counterparts Macron on the shoes.
“Shoes touch the ground, dust, and dirt. So if we write someone’s name on them and that also gets dirty, then it shows… how you value that person,” Mohammad told AFP news agency.
In the Lebanese capital, Beirut hundreds of people took to the streets and marched towards the home of the French ambassador, but were restrained by the police.
Members of the Hezb-i-Islami — and a pro-Islamic group from Afghanistan warned if France does not control the situation “we are going to a third world war and Europe will be responsible”, leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said, AlJazeera news agency quoted him saying.
On contrary, Egypt appeared to call against any violence and demonstrations in the name of religion. The country’s minister of religious endowments in an address to the nation aired live on state telivision said: “Love of the prophet cannot be expressed by killing, sabotaging or responding to evil with evil.”
The current rift between France and the Muslim world has its roots in the October 16 Jihadist attack that killed a French school teacher for showing cartoons of Prophet Mohammed.
Further than that, President Emmanuel Macron said Islam is a religion in crisis and in France — Europe’s largest Islamic population — are at risk of forming a counter society, which angered the Muslims.