Anti-France Protests And Boycotts Sweep The Islamic World After Emmanuel Macron Defends Muhammad Cartoons

Anti-France sentiment has continued to grow and spread across the globe as South Asian Muslims flooded the streets to torch an effigy of French President Emmanuel Macron. The 42-year-old leader has faced backlash after he defended the media's right to publish satirical cartoons of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.

According to France 24, huge crowds in the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka protested to condemn the French leader after Friday prayers. Though police claimed that around 12,000 people participated in the rally, sources on the ground have claimed that the number was closer to around 40,000. It marks the city's second anti-France protest this week.

"We are all soldiers of Prophet Mohammed," the crowd chanted as others demanded a boycott of French-made goods.

"France is insulting the world's two billion Muslims. President Macron must apologize for his crimes," stated Gazi Ataur Rahman, a senior leader of the political party Islami Andolan Bangladesh.

Dhaka was not the only place to stage major anti-French protests. Around 10,000 people marched through Karachi, the largest city in Pakistan. Another 2,000 protesters made their way toward the French embassy in the nation's capital of Islamabad, shouting threats such as "expel the French dog" and "behead the blasphemous."

One of the men in the rally was Rasheed Akbar, a 34-year-old trader.

"How dare they disrespect our prophet? As a Muslim I am ready to sacrifice my head for the prophet's honor," he said.

In Afghanistan, small but still vocal rallies took place, with citizens shouting "Death to France! Death to Macron!"

A boy runs past a sign protesting French president Emmanuel Macron outside the Institute Francais Gaza.
Getty Images | Fatima Shbair
A boy runs past a sign protesting French president Emmanuel Macron outside the Institute Francais Gaza.

The rallies come after a French school teacher was beheaded by an Islamic radical for showing cartoons that depicted the prophet. Police later shot and killed the Chechen teen who perpetrated the crime.

At a memorial for the teacher last week, Macron defended the right of free speech, claiming "we won't renounce the caricatures," per The Associated Press.

French and Muslim tensions later escalated after two women and a man were killed inside the Notre Dame Basilica in the city of Nice by a Tunisian migrant in a retaliatory terrorist attack, as was previously covered by The Inquisitr.

The situation soon gained international attention after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested that Macron was mentally ill, resulting in the recall of the French ambassador to Turkey.

Following the global awareness, boycotts soon swept through the Middle East. For example, a number of stores in Kuwait have removed French products such Kiri cheese, Perrier sparkling water and Activia yogurt from their shelves. In addition, Qatar University postponed its French cultural week indefinitely.