France's foreign ministry is urging Arabic countries not to boycott French goods following critical comments made by President Emmanuel Macron last week on Islam.
A statement released by the foreign ministry said “these calls for boycott are baseless and should stop immediately, as well as all attacks against our country, which are being pushed by a radical minority,” according to French news outlet France24.
“These calls distort the positions defended by France in favour of freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and the refusal of any call to hatred,” the statement declared.
The strongest support for the boycott of French goods came from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who suggested Macron was enacting an “anti-Islam” agenda, while telling his supporters “just like they say, ‘Don't buy goods with Turkish brands’ in France, I am calling to all my citizens from here to never help French brands or buy them.”
Following the horrific attack on a French school teacher Macron hailed the victim, 47-year-old Samuel Paty, as a “quiet hero” after he had shared cartoon pictures of the Prophet Muhammad with his class. The teacher also offered Muslim students a chance to leave before showing the images, in an effort to avoid any offence.
President Macron vowed France would “not give up our cartoons” while praising the slain Paty as an embodiment of the nation's spirit.
He was killed precisely because he incarnated the Republic. He was killed because the Islamists want our future. They know that with quiet heroes like him, they will never have it.
The attacker, an 18-year-old Russian of Chechen descent, was shot dead at the scene by police. Nine others, including four family members of the attacker, were arrested in relation to the attack.