Indonesian lawmakers, Muslim groups bash French leader

Indonesian lawmakers and Muslim groups denounced the president of France on Tuesday over recent controversial statements against Islam and the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Mardani Ali Sera, a legislator from the country's Prosperous Justice Party, accused President Emmanuel Macron of Islamophobia that he said ruined the inter-faith harmony in the world.

"Indonesia rejects Macron's statement linking Islam with separatism and making fun of the Prophet Muhammad. I urge the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to condemn his racist remarks," said Sera.

Also condemning Macron, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) said the French president's actions and policies had fueled mounting Islamophobia.

Muhyiddin Junaidi, deputy chairman of the MUI, said in a statement that Macron needed to learn more about interfaith tolerance and Islam in particular.

Meanwhile, the Muslim organization Hidayatullah said Macron's remarks were very unproductive for dialogue between civilizations.

Dzikrullah Pramudya, the group's chief of foreign affairs, said the French president should engage in diplomacy and civilized inter-culture dialogue to resolve existing problems.

Dzikrullah said France had applied a double standard to Turkey's condemnation of their actions.

Muhammadiyah, the largest Islamic organization in Indonesia, also denounced what it said were Islamophobic statements by French officials.

"The political elites of the French government should not make statements that harm peace among people. Muslim leaders all over the world have to strengthen their statements of peace," Wahid Ridwan, secretary of the group's International Relations and Cooperation Institute, told Anadolu Agency.

CALLS FOR BOYCOTT

Fadli Zon, a lawmaker from the opposition Gerindra party, called for a boycott of French goods in response to Macron's comments.

Zon said the French president's remarks had hurt many Muslims around the world.

"This is an example of an Islamophobic, discriminatory and racist leader. Let's boycott French products!" he added.

Persatuan Islam (Islamic Union), one of the oldest Muslim organizations in Indonesia, called for a boycott of French products to show solidarity with Muslims all over the world.

"This is a good step for Indonesia to follow to put strong pressure against Macron's insulting statements," Jeje Zaenuddin, vice chairman of the body, told Anadolu Agency.

Zaenuddin said Indonesia was a big market for European products and that therefore the boycott could serve as "shock therapy" for France.

Thus, other countries will "learn a lesson" and stop discriminating against Muslims, he added.

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

He condemned the murder of a French teacher who showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class, but said France would "not give up our cartoons."

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