KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 — The Embassy of France in Malaysia today expressed its appreciation after receiving information that the Malaysian government does not support the public’s call to boycott French products.
Following backlash from some Muslim communities worldwide, including in Malaysia, the embassy defended its president Emmanuel Macron’s speech saying that he had not targeted the Muslim community in France, but only the idea of radical Islamism, which it said should be isolated and fought.
“We note that some personalities have tried to start such a campaign in Malaysia; we are heartened by the assurances given to us by the Malaysian authorities that the Malaysian government does not condone such appeals,” the French embassy here said in a statement today.
This comes amid backlash towards Macron who on October 2 said that Islam is in “crisis” — after a teacher in the European republic was killed by a young Muslim — resulting in calls in Malaysia and other Muslim nations to shun French goods.
“This ideology, built on indoctrination and the creation of a counter-society, thinks it is above the laws of the State. It is in this sense that radical Islamism is a ‘separatist’ project that can even, in some cases, seek to take control of society,” the embassy asserted today.
It also said that Macron has indicated that he does not generalise and distinguishes the vast majority of Muslim French citizens from the militant and separatist minority “who are moreover a burden for the former”.
It also said that freedom of religion is protected by the French constitution and legal system.
Earlier this month, French teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by a teenager of Chechen origin, after the former had showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of speech. The attacker was later shot dead by French police.
In Malaysia, Muslim groups such as Islamist party PAS, moderate group Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM), and hardline grop Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma)have called for the boycotting of goods from France.
Earlier today, Perikatan Nasional (PN) had condemned Macron for choosing what it called “the path of religious chauvinism and intolerance”.
Similarly, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had yesterday said in response to Macron that freedom of speech is an essential value of Islam and the Muslim world does not need any more lectures about its significance, least of all from those who suffer from Islamophobia.