A senior French Muslim leader urged fellow Muslims on Tuesday to ignore cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad and not resort to violence in a call for moderation over cartoons of the prophet shown in a French school.
He was responding to growing unrest in Muslim countries and calls to avenge the blasphemy of showing the cartoons.
The head of the French Council for the Muslim Faith, Mohammed Moussaoui, reminded worshippers that such caricatures were allowed under French law, Reuters reports.
“This same law doesn’t force anyone to like them nor does it forbid anybody from hating them,” he said in a statement.
Moussaoui suggested Muslims should follow the example of the Prophet. According to Islamic tradition he ignored insults when a crowd once poked fun at him by calling him “Mudammam” – the ugly one.
“Isn’t it more in line with the prophet’s example to ignore these caricatures and consider them as having no relation whatsoever with our prophet?” he said.
As outrage mounted around the Muslim world, France urged its citizens on Tuesday to be cautious and avoid mass gatherings in countries that have announced boycotts of French products in fast-spreading protests against perceived anti-Muslim bias from Paris.
Tens of thousands marched Tuesday in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka, while in Syria protesters have burnt pictures of Macron, and in Libya French flags were burned.
“In several countries in recent days, there have been calls for a boycott of French products, particularly foodstuff, and more generally calls to protest against France,” the French foreign ministry said on its website.
“It is advisable to avoid areas where demonstrations are held, to stay away from gatherings, and to follow the guidance of the relevant French embassy or consulate,” it added.
“It is recommended to be most vigilant, especially when travelling, and in places frequented by tourists and expatriate communities.”
Earlier this month, Macron unveiled a plan to defend France’s secular values against a trend of “Islamist separatism”, and described Islam as a religion “in crisis”.