Iran summons French diplomat over anti-Islam comments in France

Clay Curtis
October 28, 2020

The anti-France anger has become so acute in some countries that France's foreign ministry warned its citizens traveling there on Tuesday to avoid all public gatherings and to specifically avoid unsafe protests occurring in those countries.

In a statement published on its official Twitter account yesterday, the embassy said: "Due to the local and worldwide context, French residents or passing through Turkey are recommended to exercise great vigilance when traveling and in particular to avoid any gathering or demonstration in public places".

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin retorted on Tuesday that Turkey, and Pakistan, should not meddle in France's domestic affairs.

Morocco's Higher council of Muslim Scholars strongly denounced any attempt at offending the sacredness of the Muslim religion, after a campaign was launched in France to publish cartoons attacking the Prophet, triggering resentment across the Muslim World. A statement released by the foreign ministry stated, "It is recommended to exercise the greatest vigilance, especially while travelling, and in places that are frequented by tourists or expatriate communities", according to Reuters. They should stay away from any protests over the cartoons and avoid any public gatherings.

The French embassy in Turkey issued similar advice to its citizens there.

The government has stepped up efforts to uphold and teach France's values in schools and elsewhere in a bid to combat what Macron described in early October in a speech on separatism as a deliberate "politico-religious" strategy by Islamists to impose their rules over the laws of France.

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Saudi daily Arab News on Tuesday quoted the head of the Saudi-based Muslim World League, Mohammed al-Issa, as saying that an overreaction "that is negative and goes beyond what is acceptable" would only benefit "haters".

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people in Dhaka, Bangladesh called for a boycott of French products. Protesters chanting "Boycott French products" and calling for Mr Macron to be punished choked the streets.

"I am calling to all my citizens from here to never help French brands or buy them", Mr Erdogan said.

Just how much of an impact a boycott would have remains to be seen. France is also Turkey's seventh biggest market for exports, Reuters reported.

Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned the French charge d'affaires over the cartoons, state media reported on Tuesday.

Erdogan's response to Macron was deemed "unacceptable" by some European leaders, including the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, as well as Rutte.

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