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Erase Islamophobia from Dictionaries and French Products from Shelves


BY: Yusra Adil


After France’s President, Emmanuel Macron’s highly offensive and ruthless comments about the religion of Islam and using cartoons to describe the holiest and prominent figure of Islam until today, many countries in the Middle East and in Asia stand in solidary against France by banning the use and distribution of French products such as clothing, beauty care and food products produced in France or by French retailers such as Dior, Chanel, Garnier, Louis Vuitton and many more. 


In France, a high school history teacher, Samuel Paty showed his students some caricatures of Muhammad that had been published by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015. The religious community in France strongly condemned the lesson and the use of cartoons to depict Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). The prophet is deeply revered by Muslims and any kind of visual depiction is forbidden in Islam. The caricatures in question are seen by them as offensive and Islamophobic because they connect Islam and terrorism to depict the so-called terroristic and abusive attitudes of Islamic communities. In turn, hate crime and Islamophobia spread in France, as the history teacher Samuel Paty was killed outside his school by a Chechen extremist student. On October 21, the caricatures even after the condemnation of the community were published all over France on government buildings followed by a memorial hosted by Emmanuel Macron, recently claimed as President of “hate.” The images projected onto the government buildings included the Prophet Muhammad and other religious figures. One cartoon featured three rolls of toilet paper marked as the Bible, the Quran, and the Torah. Another portrayed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) carrying a bomb in his turban. 


Macron delivered a speech during this event, in which he claimed Islam to be "a religion that is in crisis all over the world" and that Muslim positions are "hardening." He claimed that the cartoons are not to be taken down and will continue to be projected on French buildings as they represent freedom of speech and expression of democratic states. This is incorrect as freedom of speech and expression should not be used to offend the religion or values of others, or associate them with terrorism and depict a negative image, which in this case, the Charlie Hebdo caricatures were promoting terroristic attitudes and a negative image of Muslims. In addition, Macron also stated that his government would release a new bill to combat “Islamic separatism” as Muslim values parallel cultural aspects in France that reject French values, customs and laws.


In turn, the global Islamic community has united and stood in solitary of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) by banning French products and within a week the French government is at risk of losing $100 billion in foreign trades with Muslim nations. Jordan, Pakistan, Egypt and Iran are among the many Islamic countries to condemn France for the publication of these caricatures, and Macron's response. "We condemn the publication of satirical cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed," Ayman Al-Safadi, Jordan's Minister of Foreign Affairs, tweeted on Saturday. Pakistan's leader Imran Khan, Egypt's highest religious authority, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, and Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs have also all criticized France.



Author’s Note: The use of the word “Islamophobia” is strongly condemned by the author as there is no such phobia to religion however given the present circumstances, this hate crime is driven to such an extent that it has been given a definition in the English language.



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