French citizens travelling to or living in Islamic countries have been warned by the French Foreign Ministry to exercise caution as Muslim leaders — in unison — condemned President Emmanuel Macron's views on Islam and Prophet Muhammad's caricatures. The French president made the statement after a radical Islamist teen beheaded a history teacher near Paris for showing cartoons of the prophet in his class.

On Tuesday, the foreign ministry issued the advisory warning its citizens in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iraq and Mauritania to be careful. The ministry advised the French citizens to stay away from protests and public gatherings against the cartoons over potential threat. "It is recommended to exercise the greatest vigilance, especially while travelling, and in places that are frequented by tourists or expatriate communities," the advisory stated.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference after the European Union's Informal Summit in Salzburg, Austria, Sept. 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan/IANS)
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks during a press conference after the European Union's Informal Summit in Salzburg, Austria, Sept. 20, 2018. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan/IANS) IANS

Samuel Paty, the slain teacher, was a target of online hate campaign among the Muslim community in the area. He was beheaded on Oct. 16 by 18-year-old Chechnya-born Abdullah Anzorov, who the local police gunned down. During a ceremony for the 47-year-old teacher at the Sorbonne university last Wednesday, Macron said France "will not give up cartoons" and that the "Islamists want our future."

The French President's comments were met with sharp criticism from Muslim leaders. Countries such as Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey called for boycott of French products. While Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan said Macron's statements encouraged Islamophobia, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested Macron needed "mental check."

Turkey and Pakistan

On Tuesday, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin responded to Turkey and Pakistan that they should not meddle in France's domestic affairs.

Social media users criticized the Muslim leaders and accused them of selective outrage over the treatments of Muslims. Several users said that the leaders did not speak against China's treatment of Uighur Muslims, but united in condemning France over the prophet's cartoons.

"I'll say it again: Erdogan said nothing about the teacher beheaded in the name of Islam, nothing about Uyghur oppression in China. ... Macron is right to combat Islamist radicals," one Twitter user wrote. "People triggered by Macron are silent on Xi's extermination camps for Uyghur Muslims, quite the double standard," another user wrote.