#BoycottFrenchProducts, As France Defends Prophet Muhammad's Caricature

28/10/2020

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at an event in the Turkish capital Ankara:

"I appeal to my people. Don’t ever pay attention to French brands. Don’t buy them. European leaders must say 'stop' to Macron and his campaign of hatred."

Muslim countries led by Turkey, are engaging in a war of words against France, following French President Emmanuel Macron statement that said Islam was a religion "in crisis" worldwide.

This started protests in many Muslim-majority countries, as well as the #BoycottFrenchProducts on the internet.

Macron's remarks was stated in a tribute to the murdered middle-school teacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded on 16 October 2020 during an attack in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, a northern suburb of Paris.

Not only that Paty was killed, but he was also beheaded.

It started when Paty who taught at Collège Bois-d'Aulne, was killed after he showed Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad during a class on freedom of expression.

According to one of his students, Paty had previously shown these cartoons as part of his discussions about free speech every year since the Charlie Hebdo shooting in 2015.

Paty knew that for Muslims, any depiction of Muhammad is blasphemous. This was why Paty asked his Muslim students to leave the classroom if they wished, before showing the cartoons.

It was reported that Paty showed the images in his civics class while also emphasizing that his students could choose not to look at them if they were offended.

According to some sources, the parent of one of Paty's student claimed on social media networks that Paty had showed his class among others, an image of Muhammad without clothes on. The parent named Paty, and gave the school's name and address. After accusing Paty for disseminating pornographic materials to his students, the parent filed a criminal complaint with the police.

He then encouraged other parents to join him.

A meeting was then held between the principal of the school, the teacher, and an official from the education authority. The tension escalated when the Grande Mosque de Pantin published a video on its Facebook page to threat Paty.

The news was heard by Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov, an 18-year-old Muslim Russian-born refugee who had no apparent connection to Paty or the school.

The only reason he traveled about 100 km from from where he lived, which was at the Madeleine district of the Normandy town of Évreux, to Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, was to kill Paty because of the blasphemy.

After murdering the teacher, Anzorov that was a Chechen extremist, also beheaded Paty with a knife.

Minutes following the murder, Anzorov was shot and killed by the police.

French President Emmanuel Marcon said that incident was "a typical Islamist terrorist attack", and that "our compatriot was killed for teaching children freedom of speech".

"He was killed because Islamists want to take our future," Macron said at a memorial service for Paty. "They will never have it."

Hearing Macron's statement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was furious and has called on his citizens to boycott French products.

His comments came days after Erdogan suggested Macron to undergo a mental health check-up after Macron announced a plan to "reform Islam" to make the religion more compatible with France, and his announced measures to combat "radicalization" among France’s estimated six-million Muslim population.

“What is the problem this person called Macron has with Islam and Muslims? Macron needs mental treatment,” Erdogan said at a meeting of his governing Justice and Development Party over the weekend.

Erdogan announcement was followed by boycott calls in Middle East countries, and then also from other Muslim-dominated countries. They are also protesting Macron who said that France will “not give up our cartoons”.

France will keep "loving debates, reasonable arguments, we will love science and its controversies," the French President said. "We will not give up caricatures, drawings, even if others are retreating."

Paty's murder has reignited tensions surrounding secularism, Islamism and Islamophobia in France, and also escalates the existing tension between France and Turkey.

Both nations are members of the NATO military alliance, but have been at odds over issues including Syria and Libya, maritime jurisdiction in the eastern Mediterranean, and the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Muhammad was an Arab religious, social, political leader, and also the founder of Islam.

Known as the last prophet of Islam, the 'Seal of the Prophets', meaning that he was the final Messenger of God, Muhammad preached the religion, confirming the monotheistic teachings of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus (Isa), and other prophets that came before him.

Born in the 6h century in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Muhammad is the figure that unites Islam into a single polity, with the Qur'an as well as his teachings and practices that form the basis of Islamic religious belief.

According to Muhammad al-Bukhari's book, from descriptions given in Muhammad ibn Isa at-Tirmidhi's book, and from those who lived during the time of the Islamic prophet, the Messenger of God was described as neither very tall nor short, with hair that was neither curly nor lank.

Prophet Muhammad was of moderate height, having broad shoulders, handsome with white circular face, wide black eyes, and long eye-lashes. Graceful and elegant, he had a beard that was thick.

In one of his teachings, Islam is against creating images of sentient living beings. And this is one of the reasons why mosques are decorated with calligraphy and Qur'anic inscriptions or geometrical designs, and not images or sculptures.

This also why Islam condemns the depiction of Muhammad, worrying that the images of Muhammad can encourage idolatry.

Following the incident, not only that #BoycottFrenchProducts became a trending topic on the internet, as #CharlieHebdo, #BoycottTurkey, as well as Je Suis Prof, Je Suis Enseignant and some others are also popular.