In contrast to several Arab communities who agreed to boycott French products, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs took the side of France’s president.
Rabat – While several Arab communities agreed to boycott France as a response to its provocations against Islam and Muslims, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash took the side of French President Emmanuel Macron.
The Emirati official called on Muslims to accept the “integration” stance of President Macron and listen more carefully to his speech, noting that Macron does not want to isolate Muslims in the West.
Gargash made his comments in an interview with German news outlet Die Welt, published Monday.
The Emirati minister said that Muslims need to integrate. France has the right to implement the necessary means to achieve this, in parallel with its fight against extremism and social closure, he added.
The UAE minister made his remarks following Macron’s recent statement in which he disowned — in the name of France — the caricatures depicting Prophet Muhammad, stating they emerged from independent newspapers and do not reflect a political agenda.
On October 31, Macron stepped back on his initial statement of “not giving up on caricatures” depicting Islam, saying that his speech was misinterpreted.
Macron had also accused Muslims of separatism.
The French president’s initial remarks on caricatures came after the brutal murder of French history teacher Samuel Paty at the hands of an 18-year-old from Chechnya. Paty had displayed caricatures of Prophet Muhammad in class during a lesson on freedom of speech.
By taking Macron’s side, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs deviates from the Muslim and Arab communities that reacted to Macron’s provocations by calling for the boycott of French goods, which entered into force in several markets.
Inspired by the Arab movement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Turks to boycott French products as well.
The boycott did not only address Macron’s acts, but also Islamophobic attacks against Arabs and Muslims in France and the official dissolution of some Muslim organizations.