Kuwait retail co-ops remove French products over Prophet cartoon

KUWAIT/PARIS (Reuters) - Kuwait's retail co-ops have pulled French products in boycott over the use of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a French school class on freedom of expression whose teacher was then beheaded by an Islamist.

Reuters October 26, 2020 00:10:46 IST
Kuwait retail co-ops remove French products over Prophet cartoon

Kuwait retail coops remove French products over Prophet cartoon

KUWAIT/PARIS (Reuters) - Kuwait's retail co-ops have pulled French products in boycott over the use of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a French school class on freedom of expression whose teacher was then beheaded by an Islamist.

In Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's largest economy, a hashtag calling for the boycott of French supermarket retailer Carrefour was the second most trending on Sunday.

France's foreign affairs ministry said that in recent days there had been calls to boycott French products, notably food products, in several Middle Eastern countries as well as calls for demonstrations against France over the cartoons.

Muslims see any depiction of the Prophet as blasphemous.

"These calls for boycott are baseless and should stop immediately, as well as all attacks against our country, which are being pushed by a radical minority," the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

The ministry also called on authorities to speak out against such boycott actions in order to help French companies and ensure the safety of French citizens.

In Kuwait, the non-governmental Union of Consumer Co-operative Societies, which groups more than 70 establishments, issued the boycott directive in an Oct. 23 circular. Several co-ops visited by Reuters on Sunday had cleared the shelves of items such as hair and beauty products made by French companies.

Union head Fahd Al-Kishti told Reuters that all French products had been removed from all the co-ops in response to "repeated insults" against the Prophet and had been taken independently of Kuwait's government.

The co-ops, some the size of hypermarkets, carry government-subsidised staples and account for a big part of retail in Kuwait, as well as organising some educational courses and recreational activities.

Kuwait's foreign minister, who met the French ambassador on Sunday, condemned the Oct. 16 killing as a horrendous crime but stressed the need to avoid insulting religion in official and political remarks that "inflame hatred, enmity and racism", the ministry tweeted.

Kuwait's imports from France stood at 255 million dinars ($834.70 million) in 2019, according to Kuwait's Central Statistics bureau.

After a Danish paper first published the cartoons in 2005, protests and boycotts on Danish goods swept the Islamic world.

The beheading in a Paris suburb carried echoes of the Islamist attack in 2015 on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo after it republished the cartoons.

France recalled its ambassador to Turkey on Saturday after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his counterpart Emmanuel Macron, who this month declared war on "Islamist separatism", needed mental help over his attitude towards Muslims.

($1 = 0.3055 Kuwaiti dinars)

(Reporting by Ahmed Hagagy in Kuwait, Marwa Rashad in Riyadh and Geert De Clercq in Paris; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Alison Williams and Raissa Kasolowsky)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.