Anti-France protests continue in Dhaka

More than a month on, protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial remarks on Muslims refuse to die down in Bangladesh.

On Friday, hundreds of members of different Islamic organisations took out protest rallies and staged demonstrations in the city’s Paltan area, after offering juma prayers, to express their outrage against the French leader’s comments in which he had accused Muslims of “separatism” in the wake of the beheading of a Paris school teacher last month.

Under the banner of Bangladesh Islami Jubo Qafila, Bangladesh Talime Hizbullah and Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Qafila, the protesters marched through the Paltan area before culminating at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque.

In October, Macron pledged to fight “Islamist separatism”, which he said, was threatening to take control in some Muslim communities around France. He had also reportedly described Islam as a religion “in crisis” worldwide and said that his government would present a bill in December to strengthen a 1905 law that officially separated church and state in France.

His comments, in addition to his backing of satirical outlets publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, led to social media campaigns calling for the boycott of French products in Arab countries and Turkey. Hashtags such as #BoycottFrenchProducts in English and #ExceptGodsMessenger in Arabic trended across several Arab countries.

On October 23, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also condemned what it said was France’s continued attacks against Muslims by insulting religious symbols. The secretariat of the Jeddah-based organisation said it was surprised at the official political rhetoric issued by French officials that offend French-Islamic relations.