Pakistanis on Monday joined the campaign to boycott French products in response to recent controversial comments made by President Emmanuel Macron on Islam, and his decision to continue publishing blasphemous cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

 While the hashtag, #boycottfrenchproducts, was among the top trends on Twitter in Pakistan, leaders and scholars urged the citizens to stop consuming French products.

"After insults against the Holy Prophet by France and its president, will we still continue buying and selling, and import of French products? They will only learn a lesson when Muslims around the world will boycott their products...," religious scholar Muhammad Taqi Usmani tweeted.

“The current trend of boycott of French products and anti-Macron protests around the Muslim world shows people's anger, and how much they are hurt by the French president’s statement,” Sirajul Haq, the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, a leading religio-political party, told Anadolu Agency.

Calls for a boycott of French products have been made in many Middle Eastern countries as well.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who earlier said the French leader needs "mental treatment," also urged Turkish citizens "to never buy French products."

Pakistan's Prime Imran Khan, and other opposition politicians have condemned the French president for "attacking Islam."

The country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the French ambassador to convey "deep concerns" over the recent "illegal and Islamophobic acts," and condemned equating Islam with terrorism.

Khan also wrote to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, asking him to put a ban on Islamophobic content.

Haq, meanwhile, called for expulsion of the French envoy in Pakistan.

Earlier this month, Macron described Islam as a religion "in crisis," and announced plans for tougher laws to tackle what he called "Islamist separatism" in France.

He also paid tribute to a French teacher murdered after he showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class.

Arab world denounces insults against Muslim prophet

Arab countries, people and civil society groups on Monday condemned recent insulting statements by French officials against Islam and the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

Qatar condemned the rising populist incitement against religions and the deliberate insult of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

In a statement, the Qatari Foreign Ministry reiterated its total rejection of all forms of hate speech based on belief, race or religion.

"This agitating populist speech has witnessed a dangerous turning point with the continued institutional and systematic calls to repeat the targeting of nearly two billion Muslims around the world," the ministry said.

It warned against "deliberately offending the noble prophet, which resulted in an increase in waves of hostility against a basic component of society in different countries of the world”.

The Gulf state called on the international community to stand up to its responsibility to reject hatred and incitement, stressing support for the values of tolerance and coexistence, and working to establish principles of international peace and security.

In Gaza, Muslim Palestinian scholars gathered in front of the French Cultural Center upon the call of the Palestinian Scholars Union to protest anti-Islamic practices and statements of some French officials.

Scholars called for a boycott of French products in response to the recent controversial comments by President Emmanuel Macron, as well as his decision that cartoons of Prophet Muhammad would continue to be published in France.

In Baghdad, Shia groups held demonstrations to protest French provocations against Islam in front of the French Embassy, chanting slogans against Macron.

Over the past few days, France has witnessed the posting of insulting pictures and drawings of the Prophet Muhammad on the facades of some buildings in the country.

Besides the provocative cartoons, President Macron earlier this month described Islam as a religion "in crisis" and announced plans for tougher laws to tackle what he called "Islamist separatism" in France.

French Muslims have accused Macron of trying to repress their religion and legitimizing Islamophobia.

Several Arab countries as well as Turkey and Pakistan have also condemned Macron's attitude toward Muslims and Islam, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying the French leader needs a "mental health check."

Iranians demand expulsion of French envoy over insults

Calls are growing in Iran for the expulsion of the French envoy and boycott of the country’s goods over President Emmanuel Macron’s insulting statements against the Islamic religion.

Hundreds of people have taken to social media in past days demanding a “strong stance” from Iran’s government to Macron’s “blasphemous remarks” hurting the sentiments of Muslims.

“Freedom of expression is not freedom to insult,” said Davood Bagherzadeh, an oil sector worker, calling for immediate expulsion of the French envoy in Tehran.

Mohammad, a university student, said these actions by French rulers “not only ridicule the sacred personalities of Muslims but violate the sanctity of all monotheistic religions”.

Saeed Bahnoud, another university student, said the “humiliation and insult” should not go “unanswered” this time, suggesting that the “expulsion of French envoy would be a good start”.

Abdul Majid Kharqani, a seminary scholar, pointed to the “hypocrisy” and “double standards” of French rulers on blasphemy of Islam’s holy personalities and Holocaust.

“In France, any critical analysis of Holocaust is regarded as a punishable crime but the Prophet of Islam is ridiculed on the pretext of freedom of expression,” he said.

Macron has sparked outrage across the Muslim world by accusing Muslims of “separatism” and describing Islam as a “a religion in crisis all over the world". 

This coincided with a provocative move by Charlie Hebdo, a left-wing French magazine infamous for publishing anti-Islamic caricatures, which have drawn widespread anger and outrage across the Muslim world. 

The caricatures were first published in 2006 by a Danish newspaper Jylllands Posten, sparking a wave of protests.

“When the insults (against the Holy Prophet) are repeated and the statements of condemnation have no serious effect, it is time to take a serious action,” said Iman Ahangar, an activist. 

Mohammad Saleh Soltani, a student leader at Sharif University, said “the least” Iran’s government can do in response to sacrilegious remarks of French leaders is to “expel the French envoy”.

Ghulamreza Khalilniya, a prominent academic and activist, also demanded the “expulsion of the French ambassador and the boycott of French goods”.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Parliament Speaker Baqer Qalibaf, addressing an open session of the assembly, condemned on Monday what he termed the “highest level of ugliness” exhibited by French officials.

He said the Parliament unanimously condemns the “ugly remarks by French officials”, asserting that the “tricks” will backfire on them.

The Jewish member of Iran’s Parliament Sameh Yah also denounced the French government over Macron’s “blasphemous remarks”, saying they seek to “foment Islamophobia” across the world.

On Sunday, Iranian Supreme Leader’s top adviser and head of World Assembly of Islamic Awakening Ali Akbar Velayati also issued a statement, calling on Muslims to “thwart anti-Islamic conspiracies”.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry in a statement on Saturday had condemned the “disrespect” for the Prophet of Islam, saying that it was “unjustifiable” and “not appropriate or prudent”.

The Iranians, however, feel that the official response from Iran to the “recurrent cases of insult” to Islam’s holiest figure has not been strong enough.

Saeed Naeemi, an engineering student at Sharif University and an activist, said it is time to move beyond “dramatic condemnations” when the insults keep repeating.

“Since when have we been so humiliated that we respond so passively to insults to our sacred figures,” he said, demanding expulsion of the French envoy and boycott of French products.