After Emmanuel Macron’s words on the cartoons of Muhammad, reprobations and calls for boycott in the Arab world

French cuisine without French products. This is what customers of Le Train Bleu restaurant in Doha will now find on their plate. The Qatari replica of the famous Gare de Lyon brasserie, the embodiment of Parisian chic, has decided to remove all ingredients from France from its dishes. The measure is part of a series of initiatives and statements critical of France, which emerged over the weekend in various parts of the Arab world, following Emmanuel Macron’s comments on the Muhammad cartoons.

Wednesday, October 21, during the tribute ceremony to Samuel Paty, the teacher beheaded for showing his students drawings of Charlie hebdo dedicated to the Prophet of Islam, the French President declared that “We will not give up cartoons”. While the assassination itself had been strongly condemned by several Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, which had expressed its solidarity with the French people, these few words, coming after the announcements of the Elysee against the “Islamist separatism”, sparked a flood of reprobations, official and unofficial, from the Maghreb to the Gulf.

Read also: Caricatures of Mohammed: Paris calls for “cease” calls for boycott

The most significant reaction came from the Supreme Council of Saudi Ulama. The kingdom’s highest religious authority said that “To defame the prophets (…) only serves extremists (…) and that these insults have nothing to do with freedom of expression ”. In Jordan, another ally of France, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ayman Safadi, little suspect of Islamist sympathies, also condemned the publication of caricatures of Mohammed. “We must all reject actions that fuel hatred, violence and terrorism, which we condemn in all their forms”, the diplomat said on Twitter. The Moroccan foreign ministry said for its part that “The freedom of some ends where the freedom and beliefs of others begin”.

“Macron is clumsy”

In Qatar, several supermarket chains have withdrawn French products from their shelves. Lashing out “Deliberate attack on Islam and its symbols”, the University of Qatar has postponed indefinitely a series of activities planned this week as part of the Qatar-France cultural year. “Macron is clumsy, he takes the risk of alienating a whole part of the Arab world, judge a French expatriate joined in Doha. How would we react in France if the media in the Gulf made fun of Christ on the cross? “

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