Continued fallout from Macron’s comments . . .
Asia and the Middle East have been the sites of several anti-France protests after French President Emmanuel Macron defended freedom of speech, including the right to publish blasphemous cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Macron added that he would not accept physical violence as a reaction to the cartoons. Two weeks ago, a French teacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded in a terrorist attack after presenting to his class cartoons of the Prophet that were originally published by Charlie Hebdo, a French weekly. The episode comes only weeks after France launched a tougher campaign against “Islamist separatism,” and after Macron portrayed Islam as a religion “in crisis.” Notably, Turkish President Erdogan said that Muslims were subject to a lynching campaign from France and called for a boycott of French goods last Monday.
50,000 rally in Bangladesh . . .
On Monday, tens of thousands of Muslim Bangladeshis took the streets, calling for a boycott of French products and for the government to cut all diplomatic ties with France. The protests were called by Junaid Babunagaori, deputy chief of Hefazat-i-Islam, one of Bangladesh's largest Muslim political groups. He gave his government a 24-hour ultimatum, threatening to destroy the French embassy if his demands were not met. The government of Bangladesh has yet to issue a statement on the affair. Other anti-France protests erupted in Indonesia, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey, and India, with protesters burning effigies of Emmanuel Macron. Counter-protests in India condemned the attacks against the French President, and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said the attacks were “in violation of the most basic standards of international discourse.”
Some Asian leaders also fanning the flames . . .
Mahathir Mohamad, former Malaysian prime minister, reacted to Macron’s comments saying that Muslims had the right "to kill millions of French people" because of France’s colonial past. Junaid Babunagaori, who called for protests in Bangladesh, also encourages violence against France. While President Joko Widodo in Indonesia condemned Macron’s statements, calling them insulting to Muslims, he also condemned terrorism and discouraged violence.