Arab companies #BoycottFrenchProducts after President Macron’s remarks against Islam

Al Jazeera
October 26, 2020

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Several Arab trade associations have announced a boycott of French products, in response to recent comments made by President Emmanuel Macron on Islam.

Earlier this month, Macron pledged to fight “Islamist separatism”, which he said was threatening to take control in some Muslim communities around France.

He also described Islam as a religion “in crisis” worldwide and said the government would present a bill in December to strengthen a 1905 law that officially separated church and state in France.

His comments, in addition to his backing of satirical outlets publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, has led to a social media campaign calling for the boycott of French products from supermarkets in Arab countries and Turkey.

Hashtags such as the #BoycottFrenchProducts in English and the Arabic #NeverTheProphet trended across countries including Kuwait, Qatar, Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

In Kuwait, the chairman and members of the board of directors of the Al-Naeem Cooperative Society decided to boycott all French products and to remove them from supermarket shelves.

The Dahiyat al-Thuhr association took the same step, saying: “Based on the position of French President Emmanuel Macron and his support for the offensive cartoons against our beloved prophet, we decided to remove all French products from the market and branches until further notice.”

In Qatar, the Wajbah Dairy company announced a boycott of French products and pledged to provide alternatives, according to their Twitter account.

Al Meera Consumer Goods Company, a Qatari joint stock company, announced on Twitter: “We have immediately withdrawn French products from our shelves until further notice.”

“We affirm that as a national company, we work according to a vision consistent with our true religion, our established customs and traditions, and in a way that serves our country and our faith and meets the aspirations of our customers.”

Qatar University also joined the campaign. Its administration has postponed a French Cultural Week event indefinitely, citing the “deliberate abuse of Islam and its symbols”.

In a statement on Twitter, the university said any prejudice against Islamic belief, sanctities and symbols is “totally unacceptable, as these offences harm universal human values and the highest moral principles that contemporary societies highly regard”.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) described Macron’s statements as “irresponsible”, and said they are aimed at spreading a culture of hatred among peoples.

“At a time when efforts must be directed towards promoting culture, tolerance and dialogue between cultures and religions, such rejected statements and calls for publishing insulting images of the Prophet (Muhammad) – may blessings and peace be upon him – are published,” said the council’s secretary-general, Nayef al-Hajraf.

Al-Hajraf called on world leaders, thinkers and opinion leaders to reject hate speech and contempt of religions and their symbols, and to respect the feelings of Muslims, instead of falling captive to Islamophobia.

In a statement, Kuwait’s foreign ministry warned against the support of abuses and discriminatory policies that link Islam to terrorism, saying it “represents a falsification of reality, insults the teachings of Islam, and offends the feelings of Muslims around the world”.

On Friday, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemned what it said was France’s continued attack against Muslims by insulting religious symbols.

The secretariat of the Jeddah-based organisation said in a statement it is surprised at the official political rhetoric issued by some French officials that offend French-Islamic relations and fuels feelings of hatred for political party gains.

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News Network
September 28,2022

Bengaluru, Sept 28: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday said the ban on PFI was “a long-pending demand” and that even the Opposition wanted the organisation to be prohibited.

“This was expected…It was a long-pending demand by the people of the state that this organisation should be banned. Even Opposition parties such as CPI, CPM and Congress demanded the ban,” Bommai told reporters.

Bommai said the PFI was “repeatedly” involved in “destructive activities” across the country. “PFI is an avatar of SIMI and KFD. They don’t have faith in law of the land, they don’t believe in harmony, peace and tolerance,” he said.

According to Bommai, PFI received orders from foreign soil. “Many of their top leaders got training across the border,” he said. “Even in Karnataka, it’s out in the open that they conducted destructive activities,” he said.

Hailing the ban, Bommai said no destructive activities will be allowed under the watch of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. “There were questions on when the PFI will be banned. We have the answer now,” he said, urging citizens not to keep any association with a banned organisation.

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News Network
September 30,2022

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Bengaluru, Sept 30: Karnataka has witnessed 163 cases of communal violence or riots since 2019 with nearly a hundred cases reporting this year alone, according to official data.  

The data tabled by the state government in the legislature earlier this month, also revealed that almost three-fifths of those communal incidents took place in in Shivamogga, the home district of home minister Araga Jnanendra and BJP bigwigs B S Yediyurappa and K S Eshwarappa. 

In 2019, the state had witnessed only 16 cases. However, in 2022 (till September) the state saw 96 incidents of communal violence or riots in what many see as a symptom of polarisation taking place ahead of the 2023 Assembly elections. In 2020 and 2021 the state had witnessed 19 and 32 cases respectively

Interestingly, of the 96 cases this year, 42 belong to Shivamogga. 

Since 2019, which happens to be the year when the BJP came to power, 18 districts have reported communal violence. Shivamogga tops the list with 57 cases followed by Bagalkot (22), Davangere (18), Dakshina Kannada (10), Kodagu (10). 

There were communal killings in Dakshina Kannada, Gadag (Nargund) and Shivamogga, Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said in his written reply to the Legislative Council. Also, more than 300 police personnel sustained injuries during riots. 

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News Network
September 30,2022

Mangaluru, Sept 30: Sleuths of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday raided the freedom community hall at Mittur in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada district on the suspicion that PFI workers were trained in its premises.

One of the trustees of the trust which runs the hall, Ayub Agnadi was arrested by NIA officials, while another trustee Masood Agnadi is missing, police sources said. 

NIA suspects that training was given to activists of the PFI in isolated areas at Bantwal, Puttur and Sullia to carry out terrorist activities. Many youths from across the state are suspected to have been trained at the freedom community hall at Mittur, which was opened by the trust in 2007.

Search is on for the absconding trustee Masood, sources said. NIA had earlier raided the hall on September 6 in connection with the probe into the murder of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha leader Praveen Nettar.

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