‘Boycott France’: France and it’s Controversies with Islam  

With 24.1% of the world’s populations being Muslims, Emmanuel Macron’s statements have offended a majority of these percentages, if not the entirety. The hashtags, #BoycottFrenchProducts, #MacronApologizeToMuslims and #NeverTheProphet, have been trending on social media – and it’s not only the citizens, but even countries as a whole have started taking action against the French as soon as they can. 

France and Islam have never gotten along. For Muslims living in France, life has never been easy, and the current situation makes it seem like it never will be. This isn’t anything recent, though. In the past, there have been countless incidents where the Muslims have been the victims of inhumane acts and laws. For example, in 2008, the desecration of the graves’ of the Muslims’ in Notre-Dame de Lorette, one of the biggest World War One military cemeteries in France, took place. The severity of the situation was recognized by the authorities at the time, and there was immediate action to resolve it; however, it doesn’t dissolve the fact that the disrespectful occurrence took place in the first place. This was just the beginning, as many other incidents followed this. 

Taking another step back into history, hijab is something that has always been a controversial aspect within France, and hijab is a very important part of Islam for the females. Everyone should have the freedom to dress according to their own will – this is a human right. However, France seems to have always disagreed. The question mainly was if the girls in schools should be allowed to wear the headscarf if they wanted to, and a majority of the French population opposed the idea at the time. Thus, in 1989, when three school girls were expelled from school due to the refusal of removing their headscarves, protests were bound to take place. 

Such actions and events have always taken place in France, but the recent speech given by French President, Emmanuel Macron, was something that was not tolerated by Muslims. Though the beheading of the history teacher was an upsetting occurrence, Muslim’s believe it gave the president no right to blame it on their religion as a whole, since Macron has called it an ‘Islamist Terrorist Attack’. The Muslim World reacted negatively, with many countries stating their displeasure on the actions of Macron, while others initiated action against the French in small ways, such as boycotting products. Turkey, one of the first Islamic countries to react to what Macron had stated, responded by questioning the mental stability of the president because of their statement. This was followed by Kuwait starting their boycott of French products, and Jordan as well as Pakistan expressing their displeasure on the statement made by the French president. Despite all the remarks by the Islamic countries, Macron continues to be discriminatory and keeps making controversial statements. France enraged and offended the Muslim community, they have also suffered themselves, because eventually, their economy might have to suffer too. 

Although this seems like a passing thing, this is not the first time the Muslim’s have been called out for being terrorists. This is not the first time the entire Muslim population has been blamed for the action of just a few individuals. Even though spreading awareness and boycotting French products seems to be ineffective, it does a lot. The more people are aware about the situation from the perspective of Muslims, and not France, the better it will be for our community. We need to rid ourselves from bias with regards to religion, race, and anything for that matter, in order to become a peaceful and respectful society – and the first step to that is to learn about the situation, and spread it around.

 

Maliha Mujahid

The Next Generation School

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