PARIS (Reuters) – France warned its citizens living or travelling in several Muslim-majority countries to take extra security precautions on Tuesday as anger surged over the blasphemous caricatures.
In a sign that some countries want to limit the fallout, Saudi Arabia condemned the cartoons but held back from echoing calls by other Muslim states for a boycott of French products or other actions.
The row has its roots in a knife attack outside a French school on Oct 16 in which a man of Chechen origin beheaded Samuel Paty, a teacher who had shown pupils the blasphemous cartoons in lesson on freedom of speech.
France’s foreign ministry on Tuesday issued safety advice to French citizens in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iraq and Mauritania, advising them to exercise caution. They should stay away from any protests over the cartoons and avoid any public gatherings.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has been one of the most vociferous critics of the French government, leading calls for a boycott of French goods.
Paris has recalled its ambassador in Ankara, and Pakistan’s parliament on Monday passed a resolution urging the government to recall its envoy from Paris.
Calls for a boycott of French supermarket chain Carrefour were trending on social media in Saudi Arabia. In Kuwait, some supermarkets have pulled French products.
Turkey’s Erdogan on Monday asked his compatriots to stop buying French goods and accused France of pursuing an anti-Islam agenda.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the French charge d’affaires over the cartoons, state media reported on Tuesday. A ministry official told the diplomat during their meeting on Monday that Iran strongly rejected 'any insult and disrespect to the Prophet of Islam'.
In Bangladesh, protesters held placards with the image of the French President and the words: “Macron is the enemy of peace”.