By Sami Zaptia.
London, 26 October 2020:
Anti-French sentiment is growing in Libya, in line with a worldwide trend in other Islamic states, because of perceived insult to Islam and prophet Mohamed by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron has supported the publication of the infamous cartoons of prophet Mohamed deeming the act as a freedom of expression.
Meanwhile, the Tripoli-based Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly condemned Macron’s statements and his official speech that it said harm French relations with the Islamic world.
Its official spokesman, Mohamed Al-Giblawi, said the French president’s insulting statements of the noble Prophet fuel feelings of hatred for political party gains.
‘‘We remind the French President of the declaration of the European Court of Human Rights issued in 2018 that insulting the noble Prophet does not fall under the freedom of expression.
We note that the extremism that the French President uses as justification for his offense has nothing to do with the Islamic religion, and extremist groups do not represent this religion.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on the French President to stop his provocative statements and to apologize to more than a billion Muslims, including French Muslims’’.
Libya’s Tripoli-based breakaway parliament, the House of Representatives (HoR), strongly condemned Macron’s statement and statements by French officials were for political and party gains which will worsen relations with Muslims, feed hate sentiments and incite extremism.
It called on the internationally recognized Libyan government based in Tripoli to protest to France, recall its ambassador to Paris, and re-examine its relations with France and French companies.
Libya’s internationally recognized High State Council (HSC) has called for an economic boycott of French goods and companies. It called for Libya’s contract with France’s Total Oil company to be cancelled.
It said Macron’s comments were an insult to over 1.5 billion Muslims and proof of France’s fake democracy and the reality that France is a colonial power.
The HCS condemned the beheading of the French teacher, saying the incident was against Islamic teachings but that it resulted from Macron’s racist policies.
On a social level, a hashtag to boycott French goods and companies went viral over the weekend as a campaign gains momentum to boycott French-made products. There have been images of supermarket shelves being emptied of French cheese, for example.
There have been small demonstrations, images of the French flag being driven over by cars in different parts of Libya.