Recent tensions between France and the Muslim world has sparked a boycott movement, prompting Qatar’s Al Meera to remove all French products from its stores.
Qatar’s flagship Al Meera supermarket has removed all French products from its shelves after calls for boycott grew louder across the Arab and Muslim world, the corporation announced on Friday.
“We affirm that as a national company, we work according to a vision that is consistent with our faithful religion, our established customs and traditions, in a way that serves our country and our faith, and meets the aspirations of our customers,” Al Meera said in a statement.
— Al Meera (@AlMeeraQatar) October 23, 2020
The move comes amid rising tension between France and the Muslim world after the killing of a teacher who showed his class caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, leading to global uproar.
French authorities responded with a large-scale crackdown on Islamic entities in the country, raiding more than 50 mosques and associations.
France’s President Emmanuel Macron triggered backlash after suggesting Islam is a religion “in crisis” worldwide.
The French magazine at the centre of the cartoon controversy, Charlie Hebdo republished the offensive caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and Macron affirmed his country would “not give up cartoons.” He has also refused to condemn the magazine’s decision, vowing measures against what he called “Islamic separatism.”
The decision to republish the images was seen by many as a renewed provocation after several similar incidents. One of the cartoons, which was first published by a Danish newspaper in 2005 and then by Charlie Hebdo a year later, showed Prophet Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban.
As a response, Muslims around the world launched a virtual campaign to condemn France’s Islamophobia, calling for a boycott of French products.
Qatar-based social media users shared a list of prominent French brands and called on residents to avoid purchasing their goods.
— مــريــم آل ثــانــي (@ALThani_M) October 23, 2020
هذه والله المقاطعه الواجبه شرعاً واخلاقاً ووطنيه
— كـــويتيــه أصيــــلــه 🇰🇼 (@KUWTIYA) October 22, 2020
Qatar University also took part in the movement by postponing the French Cultural Week event, saying “any violation of Islamic belief and sacred symbols is completely unacceptable, as these offences harm universal human values and the highest moral principles that all contemporary societies affirm.”
A number of other companies, including Al Merkati, Souq Al Baladi, Qatar Shopping Complex, Al Wajba Factory and Snoonu have all announced their support.
(1/2) عطفًا على مستجدات الأحداث الأخيرة والمتعلقة بالإساءة المتعمدة للإسلام ورموزه، فقد قرَّرت إدارة جامعة قطر تأجيل فعالية الأسبوع الفرنسي الثقافي إلى أجل غير مسمى.
— جامعة قطر (@QatarUniversity) October 23, 2020
Similar action has been seen in Kuwait where supermarkets removed French products from their shelves.
— Ali m (@3laawy_m) October 23, 2020
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the second-largest inter-governmental body after the United Nations, slammed France’s anti-Muslim rhetoric.
“We condemn the constant systematic attack on the feelings of Muslims by insulting the religious symbols represented by the person of the Prophet Muhammad,” an OIC statement read.
The global Muslim body also called the French government to review its discriminatory policies targeting Islam and its disrespect of Muslims around the world.