World Caricatures: tens of thousands of demonstrators against France in Bangladesh

19:00  27 october  2020
19:00  27 october  2020 Source:   lepoint.fr

Demonstrations in France will pay tribute to slain teacher

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  Caricatures: des dizaines de milliers de manifestants contre la France au Bangladesh © Provided by Le Point

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Tuesday at Bangladesh , calling for a boycott of French products after the defense by Emmanuel Macron the freedom to caricature during the homage to a teacher killed for showing caricatures of the prophet Muhammad , burning the effigy of the French president and accusing him of "worshiping Satan".

Across the Muslim world, the faithful reacted with anger to Mr. Macron's comments: in the rebel zones in Syria , in the Gaza Strip or in Libya , portraits of the French president were burned. In several Gulf countries, French goods have been removed from the shelves.

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Emmanuel Macron had promised not to "renounce caricatures", during a national tribute to Professor Samuel Paty, beheaded by an Islamist on October 16 for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to his students during a course on the freedom of expression.

The French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which published these cartoons in 2006 like other European newspapers in defense of press freedom after their publication by a Danish daily angered many Muslims around the world, had been victim in 2015 of a jihadist attack which killed 12 people, including journalists and cartoonists from the newspaper.

Islam, in its strict interpretation, prohibits any representation of the Prophet Muhammad.

In Dhaka, more than 40,000 people, according to police estimates, participated in a march, organized by Islami Andolan Bangladesh (IAB), one of the main Islamist parties in Bangladesh. It was stopped before reaching the French embassy in the capital of Bangladesh, a predominantly Muslim country.

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Hundreds of policemen blocked off with barbed wire to block demonstrators about 5 km from the embassy.

The demonstrators then dispersed without violence but a small group set fire to a portrait of Mr. Macron. "Macron will pay dearly", assured protesters, calling for a boycott of France.

The police have stepped up their patrols around the embassy. The IAB called for further protests across the country on Thursday and Friday.

Further protests are planned for Tuesday in Gaza, the West Bank, Israel and southern Yemen.

"Punish" Macron

In Dhaka, the demonstrators chanted slogans calling for a "boycott of French products" and "punishing" Mr. Macron.

"Macron is one of the few leaders who worship Satan," senior IAB official Ataur Rahman told the crowd.

He called on the Bangladeshi government to "kick out" the French ambassador. Another Islamist leader, Hasan Jamal, said the protesters would "knock down every brick" of the embassy if the ambassador was not fired.

Caricatures: Paris shows its firmness in the face of calls for a boycott

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"France is the enemy of Muslims. Those who represent it are also our enemies," said Nesar Uddin, a young person in charge of the organization.

Bangladesh, in particular its textile industry, is an important trading partner of France. The cement manufacturer Lafarge is one of the main French investors in the country.

The country has experienced several Islamist attacks in recent years. In July 2016, at least 17 foreigners died in an attack committed by a group linked to the Islamic State organization against a café in Dhaka.

Flood of criticism

The flood of criticism towards Mr. Macron and calls to boycott French products have been fueled in particular by Turkey, whose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has questioned Mr. Macron's "mental health".

Tehran summoned the number two of the French embassy in Iran. Islamabad did the same with the French Ambassador to Pakistan. In Jordan, the Minister of Islamic Affairs Mohammed al-Khalayleh protested. Morocco “vigorously” condemned the cartoons.

The High Islamic Council in Algeria for its part castigated a "virulent campaign" against Islam. The Abu Dhabi-based Council of Muslim Elders, chaired by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, has announced its intention to prosecute Charlie Hebdo and "anyone who offends Islam."

The leader of the Russian Republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, even affirmed that the French president is pushing Muslims "towards terrorism".

Faced with these protests, the French Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin wondered "by what right foreign powers interfere in our internal affairs", citing Turkey and Pakistan.

"It should shock all of us that foreign powers think that Muslims in France belong to them," he added on France Inter radio.

Mr Macron has received support from EU leaders after Mr Erdogan's attacks, and a European Commission spokesperson warned on Tuesday that the Turkish president's call to boycott French products "will take his country even further away" of the EU

The EU's agreements with Turkey provide for free trade in goods. The bilateral obligations that Turkey has undertaken to respect in the framework of these agreements (...) must be fully respected ", explained this spokesperson.

27/10/2020 14:56:11 - Dhaka ( AFP) - © 2020 AFP

French schools reopen in mourning after beheading of teacher .
PARIS (AP) — French schools held a nationwide minute of silence Monday in tribute to a teacher who was beheaded for opening a class debate on free speech by showing students caricatures of the prophet of Islam. Samuel Paty was killed on Oct. 16 outside his school in suburban Paris by an 18-year-old refugee of Chechen origin to punish him for showing the caricatures published by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which triggered a newsroom massacre by extremists in January 2015.

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