The Movement of Enterprises in France (MEDEF) — the largest employer association in the country — called on French companies to stay strong in the face of an ongoing boycott campaign prompted by overt Islamophobia.
“The French principles of secularism and freedom of speech must take precedence over companies’ development plans,” Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux, MEDEF’s leader, said today.
The statement from the business lobby leader came after thousands of Muslims launched a boycott campaign against French products.
Activists launched the campaign in response to a rise in Islamophobic acts in France.
“Of course this is bad news,” Roux de Bezieux told RMC radio, referring to the boycott campaign.
However, according to the French businessman, companies must prioritize France’s “values of secularism and freedom of speech” and be stoic in their handling of the situation.
Roux de Bezieux qualified the boycott campaign as “stupid” and urged French business leaders to “not answer stupidity with stupidity.”
The campaign came after a series of acts that attacked Islam and Prophet Muhammad.
Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron said that France “will not renounce” the caricatures and drawings depicting Prophet Muhammad, defending the “right of blasphemy.”
The French government also allowed for the display of caricatures offending Muslims on some of its buildings.
Countries such as Kuwait, Jordan, and Morocco have officially condemned the Islamophobic acts in France. Meanwhile, Turkey, along with NGOs and activists in several Muslim countries, went one step further and boycotted French products.
Several supermarket chains in Qatar, Kuwait, and Jordan, among other countries, removed French products from their shelves, in a move that observers expect to significantly affect the French economy.