Paris calls for an “end” to calls for boycott from a “radical minority”

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PARIS | France called on Sunday the governments of the countries concerned to “stop” calls for boycott of French products and to demonstrate from a “radical minority”, also asking them to “ensure the safety” of French people living on their soil.

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These boycott calls, as well as protests, were launched in the Muslim world after recent remarks by President Emmanuel Macron on Islam.

“The boycott calls are pointless and must cease immediately, as well as all the attacks directed against our country, instrumentalised by a radical minority,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry deplored that “in several countries of the Middle East developed, in recent days, calls to boycott French products, especially agri-food, as well as more generally calls to demonstrate against France, in terms sometimes hateful, relayed on social networks ”.

These calls “distort the positions defended by France in favor of freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and the refusal of any call to hatred”, estimated the ministry.

For Paris, moreover, these movements “instrumentalize for political ends the remarks made” by President Emmanuel Macron on October 2, during the presentation of a bill on “Islamist separatism”, and last week, during the presentation of a bill on “Islamist separatism”. the national tribute to Professor Samuel Paty, assassinated on October 16 by an 18-year-old Russian-Chechen Islamist.

During this tribute, Mr. Macron pledged that France would continue to defend the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in the name of freedom of expression.

Sunday evening, the French president released several tweets, also in English and Arabic, stressing his rejection of “hate speech” and that he will continue to defend “reasonable debate”.

“Freedom, we cherish it; equality, we guarantee it; fraternity, we live it with intensity. Nothing will make us back down, ever ”, wrote the head of state.

“Our history is that of the struggle against tyrannies and fanaticisms. We will continue “, he tweeted, before adding:” We respect all differences in a spirit of peace (…). We will always stand on the side of human dignity and universal values ​​”.

In its statement, the ministry clarified that the bill and the president’s statements aim only to “fight against radical Islamism, and to do so with the Muslims of France, who are an integral part of society, of the history and the French Republic ”.

The Quai d’Orsay says it has mobilized the French diplomatic network “to remind and explain (to other countries) France’s positions in terms of fundamental freedoms and rejection of hatred”.

Paris also asked the countries concerned to “dissociate themselves from any call for boycott or any attack against [le] country, [d’]to accompany [les] companies and [d’]ensure the safety of [ses] compatriots abroad ”.

The Minister for Foreign Trade, Franck Riester, told AFP on Sunday evening to be “in permanent contact with the French companies concerned. [par le boycottage] in the food industry ”, citing“ Bel, Lactalis, and Danone ”.

“We will have a little longer exchange times tomorrow. We remain to observe the evolution in the days to come, ”he added.

Asked about the first consequences of the call for a boycott, he replied: “There are impacts, but [pour] quantifying them is too early ”.

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