Protests against French President Macron intensify in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Thousands of Somalis plunged into the streets of various towns to protest against alleged Islamophobic remarks by France President Emmanuel Macron, which have caused outrage in various parts of the Muslim World, days after a video of him emerged.
On Wednesday, Mogadishu was turned into the central point of protests as angry residents called for a boycott of French products in the Horn of Africa nation over the remarks which authorities in France have vehemently defended the president.
The French leader is accused of uttering a world that is disrespectful to Prophet Muhammed, who is widely respected within the Islamic region. Despite the alleged Islamophobic remarks, France remains one of the countries with a fair number of Muslims, which is widely practiced in the country.
On Tuesday, a video of angry protestors emerged in Burao, northern Somalia where the French flag was burnt as protestors called for President Macron to take responsibility. They accused the French leader of "insulting and attacking Islam".
On October 2, before an audience in a town northwest of Paris -- some 20 kilometers from where the teacher was later murdered after discussing cartoons with his class -- Macron set out a plan to combat "separatism", focusing on Islam in particular.
"Islam is a religion which is experiencing a crisis today, all over the world," he said in his speech (in French), citing tensions between fundamentalism, proper religious projects, and politicians.
There was a need to "free Islam in France from foreign influences", the president went on, outlining plans to end a system allowing Imams to train overseas, reduce homeschooling, and take control of religious funding.
The measures, accompanied by improvements to educational, cultural, and sports services, are to form part of a draft law on "secularity and liberty", expected in December. There was a need to build an "Islam des Lumières" (Islam of Light), the president said.