International fallout from the decapitating of French teacher Samuel Paty after he showed cartoons of the prophet of Islam in a freedom of expression class continues to grow.
French President Emmanuel Macron defended the teacher’s actions, angering many Muslim countries who are now threatening a boycott of French goods. Some stores have already begun to take French products off their shelves.
A Chechen teen refugee beheaded the teacher near Paris on Oct 16, before being shot dead by police.
Macron condemned the crime and pledged to tackle extreme Islamism in France.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded by saying that Macron needed his head examined.
“The person in charge of France has lost his way,” Erdogan said. “He goes on about Erdogan while in bed and while awake. Look at yourself first and where you’re going. He really must be examined.”
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted on Sunday that Macron chose “to encourage Islamophobia by attacking Islam rather than the terrorists and deliberately provoking Muslims, including his own citizens”.
Several Muslim countries are boycotting French goods after Erdogan declared, “I am calling on the people, do not go near French goods, do not buy them,”
In Kuwait, a chain of supermarkets said that its outlets will be boycotting French products. Grocery stores in Jordan hung out signs declaring that they were not selling French goods. Stores in Qatar are doing the same and Qatar University said that it was postponing its French Cultural Week indefinitely.
France’s foreign ministry called the boycotts of its products unjustified, and demanded that they end immediately.
President Macron declared that France will keep loving debates and arguments. “We will love science and its controversies,” he said. “We will not give up caricatures or drawings, even if others are retreating.”
Leaders of Germany, Greece and Austria have voiced support for Macron.