Ummah calls for nationwide boycott of French goods, services after Macron’s ‘anti-Islam’ comments

Ummah chairman Mohd Zai Mustafa (centre) poses for a group picture as they hold up placards to boycott French goods and services in Kuala Lumpur November 1, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Ummah chairman Mohd Zai Mustafa (centre) poses for a group picture as they hold up placards to boycott French goods and services in Kuala Lumpur November 1, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 — Gerakan Pembela Ummah (Ummah) has today called for a nationwide boycott of French goods and services in response to the country’s pledge to defend secularism and tackle radical Islam in the wake of a secondary school teacher killing last month.

Ummah chairman Mohd Zai Mustafa said the rationale behind the boycott of some 32 known French brands and services was due to their disgusts and offensive nature of French President Emmanuel Macron’s criticism of Islam’s radical adherents in the wake of the killing.

“This is a very primitive and archaic statement because Islam very much respect other races in the country.

“We welcome Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s call to Muslim leaders to boycott French products.

“The boycott will persist until Macron retracts his statement or until French citizens pressure him to step down,” he said in a press conference here.

The boycott comes after France President Emmanuel Macron stated that Islam was “in crisis” and that he would fight “Islamist separatism” in France, prompting international outcry.

Among the goods and services that fell under the boycott campaign include cookware manufacturer Tefal; automobile companies Renault and Peugeot; and luxury fashion houses such as Dior, Givenchy, and Chanel.

He also called upon other Muslim NGOs nationwide to boycott French goods wherever they are until their demands are met.

Earlier, Ummah had planned to hold a small demonstration in front of Sogo KL but was advised not to go ahead by law enforcement authorities on security reasons.

Mohd Zai said Ummah complied with said advice, noting that Kuala Lumpur was still under a two-weeks conditional movement control order (CMCO) until November 9.

Macron’s emphatic defence of the caricature has sent ripple overseas, particularly in Muslim nations.

Several Muslim nations, including Kuwait and Qatar, have begun boycotting French goods in protest while Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh have swiftly criticised the French president.

In response to the defence of the caricatures, numerous heads of states in the Arab and Muslim world have called for the boycott of French goods, and protests have been held globally against what detractors are calling an incitement of Islamophobia by the French president.

This comes after France was still reeling from the beheading earlier this month of French middle school teacher Samuel Paty after showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to some of his pupils in a lesson about freedom of expression.

Paty was stabbed and beheaded outside his secondary school in Conflans-Sainte-Honourine, about 20 miles north-west of Paris, by Abdullakh Anzorov, 18, of Chechen origin, who was shot dead by police soon afterwards.

Since Paty’s killing, French officials — backed by many ordinary citizens — have re-asserted the right to display the cartoons, and the images have been widely displayed at marches in solidarity with the killed teacher.

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