Muslims Riot Around the World After French President Defends Prophet Cartoons
Protests against 'devil' Emmanuel Macron spread across Islamic countries
Violent protests against Emmanuel Macron have broken out in Islamic countries around the world after the French president angered Muslims by defending cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as free speech.
Rioting and violent clashes with police have been seen as tens of thousands of Muslims flooded the streets to brand President Macron a "devil worshipper."
The largest demonstrations took place on the streets of Bangladesh on Tuesday, branding Macron as "Satan" and burning him in effigy while warning that France "will pay a high price."
Smaller bouts of unrest also erupted in Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, and Gaza on Monday.
Meanwhile, hard-line Iranian newspaper Vatan-e Emrooz published a front-page cartoon of Macron as the Devil.
The paper blasted Macron as anti-Islamic and claimed that "French extremists" had been seen burning copies of the Koran.
Iran also summoned the French ambassador on Tuesday in protest at Macron's remarks, calling them "unwise," according to The Daily Mail.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia put out a statement saying it "denounces the offensive cartoons of the prophet."
Bangladeshis also added their voices to calls for a widespread boycott of French goods, with shops in Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, and Palestinian territories already pulling products including makeup and food from the shelves.
Macron spoke out in defence of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed following a terror attack in Paris, in which a teacher was beheaded for showing the caricatures to his class.
An 18-year-old Chechen is accused of carrying out the attack after a campaign against the teacher, started by parents whose children attend the school.
Seven people have been arrested.
Amid the backlash, France has warned citizens living or traveling abroad to take extra security precautions amid fears they could be targeted.
The Foreign Ministry issued guidance to those in Turkey - whose President Erdogan has been among Macron's leading critics - Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Mauritania, telling them to "exercise caution."
The advisories said French citizens should stay away from any protests over the cartoons and avoid any public gatherings.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people marched through the Bangladesh capital on Tuesday calling for a boycott of French products and burning an effigy of Macron.
Police estimated that more than 40,000 people took part in the march organized by an Islamist party which was halted before it could get close to the French embassy in Dhaka.
Hundreds of officers used a barbed-wire barricade to stop the protesters as the crowds turned violent.
The rally was organized by Islami Andolon Bangladesh (IAB), one of the country's largest Islamist parties, and started at Bangladesh's biggest mosque.
Protesters chanted "Boycott French products" and called for Macron to be punished.
"Macron is one of the few leaders who worship Satan," Ataur Rahman, a senior Islami Andolon told the rally at the Baitul Mukarram national mosque.
Rahman called on the Bangladesh government to "kick out" the French ambassador while another leader, Hasan Jamal, said activists would "tear down every brick of that building" if the envoy was not ordered out.
"France is the enemy of Muslims," said Nesar Uddin, a young leader of the group.
"Those who represent them are also our enemies."
Even after the rally was halted, demonstrators marched down other streets chanting "Boycott France" and "Macron will pay a high price."
As the backlash widened, leaders from European nations including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Greece rallied behind Macron.
Still, anger in Muslim countries showed no sign of abating.
The Iranian regime summoned a senior French envoy, the charge d'affaires, and the Saudi foreign ministry posted on Twitter to denounce "the offensive cartoons of the Prophet."
Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim slammed Macron's comments on Islam being in crisis as "offensive" and "unreasonable," adding in a statement: "With freedom comes responsibility."
Macron has also drawn fire in Pakistan and Morocco, while the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah have also spoken out against France.
Chechnya's strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov accused him of provoking Muslims and compared the French leader to a "terrorist."
More demonstrations were planned for later on Tuesday in Gaza, the West Bank, Israel, and South Yemen.