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Saturday, December 4, 2021

‘Macron slap’ revives calls for France boycott in Qatar


#MacronSlap began trending on Twitter after a video emerged showing French President Emmanuel Macron getting slapped in the face.

A video showcasing the moment in which French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face during a visit to a town in southern France on Tuesday has gone viral around the world, with the hashtag #MacronSlap trending in Qatar.

Macron is seen shaking hands with a crowd in the town of Tain-l’Hermitage when a man suddenly reaches out and slaps him in the face, prompting security to swiftly intervene.

The viral video triggered social media users in Qatar to critique the French president for previous statements and policies, many of which referring to a movement to boycott French products that erupted last year.

“Slap on the face, the boycott continues,” one Twitter user said.

“Now, Macron, who is in crisis? you or Islam? #MacronSlap,” one tweet read, referencing previous controversial remarks by the French leader who described Islam as a religion “in crisis” worldwide.


“Make sure everyone around you is boycotting France products,” another tweet said.

Rife Islamophobic government policies and sentiments across French media, including the the resurfacing of Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, sparked controversy worldwide.

Read also: France’s Macron accuses Turkey of ‘spreading lies’ via Qatari media

This led to an abhorrent incident in which a teacher in France was killed for showing his class the offensive cartoons. France clamped down on “extremism”, launching a widespread crackdown on Muslim entities and institutions across the country.

Following Macron’s comments, Muslims around the world launched a virtual campaign to condemn France’s Islamophobia, calling for a boycott of French products under the #BoycottFrance movement. Protesters also took to the streets in capitals around the world to denounce the provocations.

According to a report by the International Trade Centre, French exports to Qatar took a massive hit with a 59% decrease. The value of sales to Qatar dropped from $4.2 million in 2019 to $1.7 million in 2020.

Last year, Qatari residents and citizens called to replace French goods with Turkish products, with the Gulf state’s flagship Al Meera supermarket removing French products from its shelves.

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