About 10,000 people from Bangladesh rallied in the capital of the South Asian nation on Tuesday to protest the staunch support of the French president and his secular laws, with personnel supporting Prophet Mohammed protected under freedom of expression.
Protesters from the conservative Islamic Andolan Bangladesh group, which supports the introduction of Islamic law in a Muslim-majority country, carry banners and placards: “All Muslims in the world, united” and “Boycott France.” This was the biggest protest against the cartoon in recent times.
Some painted French President Emmanuel Macron with an “X” on his face. A protestor created a cutout image of the French president with shoes around his neck as a sign of insult.
In recent days, this case has come to light once again after a horrific accident near Paris by a French teacher who showed up in the class of Prophet Muhammad. The 18-year-old Chechen refugee who carried out the attack was later shot dead by police.
The teacher, Samuel Patty, is portrayed as a symbol of France’s staunch secular ideals and disapproval of religious intrusion into public spheres. Macron and members of his government have vowed to continue supporting such caricatures under the freedom of expression.
Muslim politicians, religious scholars and everyday people have condemned such portrayals as hate speech and see them as sacred and degrading to Islam. In response to France’s stance on the caricature of Islam’s most revered prophet, Muslims have called for protests and boycott of French goods.
Five years ago, France-born al-Qaeda extremists killed 12 employees of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in response to the publication of Karix depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Those cartoons led to mass protests in Muslim-majority countries, some of which were fatal.
Elsewhere, Iran called a French diplomat to oppose France’s stance on caricature. A report by State TV on Tuesday said that an Iranian official in the country’s foreign ministry told a French diplomat that Paris’s response after Patty’s assassination was “goofy” and that France’s hatred against Islam in support of independence Was allowing Expression.
A powerful union of clerics in the Iranian city of Qom also urged the government to condemn Macron. The Iranian hard-line newspaper Watan-e-Imroz portrayed Macron as the devil and called him the devil in a cartoon on the front page on Tuesday.
Pakistan’s parliament passed a resolution condemning the publication of the prophet’s cartoons.
In Saudi Arabia, the country’s state-run Saudi press agency said in a State Department statement on Tuesday that the state “rejects any attempt to link Islam and terrorism, and denies the Nabi’s offensive cartoons.” Saudi clerics have also condemned the caricature, but also cited the Prophet’s “mercy, justice, tolerance”. Another prominent sheikh called upon Muslims not to proceed.
The Arab Gulf state of Qatar also described it as a “dramatic outpouring of populist rhetoric” inciting religious abuse. In a statement, the government said that the provocative speech is repeatedly calling for targeting around 2 billion Muslims worldwide, which is deliberately insulting to Prophet Muhammad and has led to increased hostility towards Muslims.
Bangladeshi protesters gathered in front of the main Baitul Mokram Mosque in Dhaka city on Tuesday morning. The group headed to the French embassy, but the police stopped the march, which ended without violence.
There have recently been protests in Iraq, Turkey in the Gaza Strip and opposition areas of northwestern Syria controlled by Turkish-backed rebels.
Rezaul Karim, head of the Islamic Andolan group in Bangladesh, called on France to refrain from displaying the prophet’s demonstrations.
He said, “We Muslims have never taken care of other religious leaders.”
“Allah sent Prophet Muhammad as the messenger of peace … Macron and his allies learned nothing from history,” he said, calling on Muslims to boycott French goods.
Karim also said that Macron should be treated for his “mental illness”, similar to remarks made in those days by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been most vocal in his criticism among political leaders and Macron is said to have examined his head and lost him en route. France has since recalled its ambassador to Turkey and other European countries have defended Macron.
However, Bangladesh’s leadership has not come under criticism from France, as has been done by Turkey, Pakistan and other Muslim-majority countries. Bangladesh, a country of 160 million mostly Muslim people, is governed by a secular constitution.
In the Middle East, Kuwaiti stores have pulled bottles of French yogurt, cheese and sparkling water from their shelves, Qatar University canceled a French culture week, and calls to stay away from French-owned Carrefour grocery store chain Were trending on social media. Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
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