Middle East

French products removed from Kuwait retail co-ops over Prophet’s blasphemy and disrespect


Muslims see any depiction of the Prophet as blasphemous. French products have been removed from some shops in Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar. Meanwhile, protests have been seen in Libya, Syria and the Gaza Strip.

After 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, Kuwait’s retail co-ops have pulled French products in boycott.

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

“All French products have been removed from all Consumer Cooperative Societies,” union head Fahd Al-Kishti told news agency, adding that the move was 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-subsidized staples for Kuwaitis and account for a big part of retail in the country, as well as organizing some educational courses and recreational activities.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Friday decried the brutal murder that has shaken France but also criticized the “justification for blasphemy-based harassment of any religion in the name of freedom of expression”.

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.

Kuwait’s imports from France stood at 255 million dinars ($834.70 million) in 2019, and 83.6 million dinars in the first half of 2020, according to news agency calculations based on data from Kuwait’s Central Statistics bureau.

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.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *