PARIS (Dispatches) -- France has appealed for foreign governments to stamp out calls for a boycott of French products after Emmanuel Macron’s public backing of insulting caricatures against Islam.
The appeal came as anger escalated across the Islamic world over the French president’s remarks at a national tribute to the murdered high-school teacher Samuel Paty last week, with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan calling on Monday for a complete boycott of French products in Turkey.
Paty, 47, was killed after he showed his class sacrilegious drawings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) during a debate on free speech.
After Macron promised France would not "renounce the caricatures”, a furious riposte that emerged on Friday on social media under Arabic hashtags gained momentum over the weekend.
In a strongly worded statement, France’s foreign ministry demanded that calls for a boycott of its products and protests against the country must end.
On Sunday, after protests in which the French president’s picture was burned and Erdogan, suggested his French counterpart needed "his mental health tested”, Macron also responded.
"Our history is one of a battle against tyranny and fanatacisms. We will continue,” Macron tweeted in three languages, French, English and Arabic in further provocation.
Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan are among Islamic countries to condemn the publication of the caricatures, which originally appeared in France in Charlie Hebdo, sparking an attack on the satirical newspaper in 2015 that killed 12 people.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the French ambassador in Islamabad had been summoned to be given a diplomatic protest against Macron’s "irresponsible remarks”.
Insulting Muslims is an "opportunistic” abuse of free speech, Iran’s foreign minister said.
"Muslims are the primary victims of the ‘cult of hatred’,” the minister, Muhammad Javad Zarif, tweeted, without directly addressing Macron.
"Insulting 1.9B Muslims—& their sanctities—for the abhorrent crimes of such extremists is an opportunistic abuse of freedom of speech. It only fuels extremism,” he added.
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said Macron’s "irrational behavior” displayed his "crudeness in politics”.
"Otherwise he would not have dared to embrace Islam in his quest for leadership in #Europe,” tweeted Shamkhani.
"I suggest that he read more history and not rejoice in the support of a declining America & #Zionism.”
Iran’s parliament issued a statement, saying by supporting acts of sacrilege against Islam, the French government "once again proved its evil nature.”
They said "enmity on the part of non-believers towards Islam’s illuminating messages goes back long in history,” adding those seeking to attack divine prophets would usually resort to the "threadbare method of mockery.”
The MPs said rather than advancing "freedom of speech,” supporting such acts of sacrilege amounted to "the biggest instance of oppression against freedom” and profanity against the sanctities of more than one billion Muslims worldwide.
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said France’s Islamophobia project will only speed up the inevitable fall of the United States and the Zionist regime.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation also denounced the "suggestions of certain French leaders … that risk submerging French-Muslim relations”.
While condemning "all acts of terror in the name of religion” it attacked the "continued publication of blasphemous cartoons” of the prophet.
Muslims have also been angered by Macron’s comments earlier this month that Islam is "a religion that is in crisis all over the world today”. The comments were made when the French president announced his long-awaited law against what he alleges as "separatism”, expected to be presented to the French parliament in December. The influential university-mosque, Al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt, described Macron’s statement as "racist”.
In Qatar, certain food distribution groups announced they were removing French products from their shops for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, French cultural week planned at the Qatar University has been postponed because of a "deliberate attack on Islam and its symbols”.
In Kuwait, French cheeses – La Vache Qui Rit and Babybel – have been removed from some stores. About 430 Kuwaiti travel agents have reportedly suspended reservations for flights to France.
Pakistan also hit out at France on Sunday, with the prime minister, Imran Khan, accusing Macron of "attacking Islam” by encouraging the publication of blasphemous caricatures.
Masood Khan, the president of Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir, tweeted: "President Macron has ignobly earned a patent for #Islamophobia and incitement to hatred against Muslims. We condemn his blasphemous words and the mindset behind them. France suffered from such a mindset during WWII. Why does he inflict similar injury on others?”
On Monday, Erdogan called for a complete boycott of French products in Turkey.
"Just like they say ‘Don’t buy goods with Turkish brands’ in France, I am calling on all my citizens from here to never help French brands or buy them,” Erdogan said.
France is the 10th biggest source of imports into Turkey and the seventh biggest market for Turkey’s exports, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute. French cars are among the best-selling vehicles in Turkey.
The Turkish president also accused some western leaders of championing Islamophobia, calling them "fascists”.
"You are in a real sense fascists. You are in a real sense the links in the chain of Nazism,” said Erdogan, without giving any names.
In Occupied Palestine, hundreds of people gathered in front of the French embassy to condemn Macron. In Gaza, Palestinian protesters burned photos of the French president.
In Syria, people have burned pictures of Macron and French flags have been set on fire in the Libyan capital Tripoli.
The Moroccan foreign ministry said "freedom of expression cannot, for any reason, justify the insulting provocation and the insulting offense of the Muslim religion”.