When it comes to France, Islamophobia seems to be as much of a staple as baguettes and croissants. Starting from a fine on wearing the Islamic face covering called the Niqab, to the stabbing of two Muslim women in a hate crime, to publishing and projecting objectionable cartoons of Islamic holy personalities on tall buildings and calling it ‘freedom of speech,’ France has it all.

 Well, actions have reactions and because of all those Islamophobic events, mostly even endorsed and upheld by the government, especially the issue of the publication of offensive cartoons of the Holy Prophet (S), the Muslim world has been fuming. One of the ways in which Muslims have hit back, is by launching and calling for a global boycott of French products, and all sorts of travel to France. #BoycottFrenchProducts began to trend on Twitter across many Muslim countries as well.

Calls are currently growing in different parts of the world including Turkey, Jordan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Iran to boycott French goods in protest after President Emmanuel Macron publicly defended derogatory cartoons of the Holy Prophet (S) published by a French magazine, and called Islam a ‘religion in crisis.’

A huge protest was held in Bangladesh supporting the movement, and in Pakistan, a store owner just went ahead and unshelved major French products he had in stock under a signboard that said, “not for sale, #BoycottFrenchProducts!”

As opposed to the claims of European news outlets, the movement seems to be working. Reports and stock studies of France indicate a major loss of revenue ever since the movement started gaining traction. France has lost an estimated $20 billion in stocks, giving reason for the French Foreign Ministry to be fuming red hot. A representative of the Ministry said in a statement on Sunday that “these calls for boycott are baseless and should stop immediately, as well as all attacks against our country, which are being pushed by a radical minority.”

World leaders didn’t stay silent on this matter either.

In Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei addressed the young people of France in the following words: “Ask your president why he supports insulting God’s messenger in the name of freedom of expression. Does freedom of expression mean insulting, especially a sacred personage?”

Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan also lashed out on Twitter saying that “it is unfortunate that he has chosen to encourage islamophobia by attacking Islam rather than the terrorists who carry out violence… sadly President Macron has chosen to deliberately provoke Muslims.” 

Now, a few important questions for us as teenagers:

Do boycott movements even work?

Yeah, they do. If they didn’t, the French Foreign Ministry would never have been so concerned. The falling stocks of L’Oreal and Chanel say that it works. The past examples of BDS, and Israel and its allies acting so harshly against it, say so. Boycotting movements started in the 1950s as a powerful, effective and easy way to protest against the government. It ripples and ruins the targeted place’s economy and creates attention around the world. 

I’m a teen, what can I do?

As a teen you have the power to use your voice. Protest against what is happening. Educate your friends and family. The next time you go to the store, look out for French products and take part in the boycott movement.

Why is it so important anyway?

France disrespected Prophet Muhammad and attacked the idenity of the Muslims. We must show the government of France that we are not going to back down. This boycotting movement gives power to the Muslims around the world. Power to the people. And power to make change.

Here’s a list of brands you can boycott to show your protest:

Perrier, Garnier, Loreal, Lancome, Dior, Chanel, Bic, Louis Vuitton, Activia, Danone, Perrier, Michelin, Lacoste, basically turn over anything you are thinking of buying at the store and read the label. Made in France? Bye, bye. (Don’t forget Made in Israel too. That’s a forever no, no.)

Featured Image: Fatima Jafri via Instagram

About the Author

Fatima Jafri

Fatima Jafri loves to analyze social issues in a different perspective. She aspires to pursue a career in social sciences and journalism. In her free time, she writes poetry and reads memoirs. She hopes one day that her writing will help someone be more vulnerable when understanding society.

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