After Friday prayers at the Kowloon Mosque, a group of around 100 Muslims demonstrated against French President Emmanuel Macron after defending the right to display caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Macron was speaking after an attack on October 16, when a Muslim extremist beheaded a French teacher in the streets of Paris to ‘avenge’ Mohammad’s insults, after the teacher showed caricatures of the prophet in a classroom on freedom of expression.
Last week, protesters chanted “Macron is going to hell! In Urdu and displayed an effigy of the French president before police dispersed crowds under pandemic restrictions, which place a four-person limit at social gatherings.
Some held placards echoing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call to boycott French imports. Similar protests have been organized by other Muslim communities around the world.
When asked on Monday why protesters were angry with Macron, protester Alex said HKFP: “It’s because of France, because they published caricatures of our prophet and they degraded our prophet. ”
“This is because he posted the cartoons about government buildings on the big screen in France, and he also had bad comments about Islam, saying that Islam is in crisis,” said Alex, saying reference to the displays of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad by the French. satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on the walls of local government buildings in Toulouse and Montpellier.
“It is totally unacceptable to make caricatures of our prophet and advertise them. We cannot take this as a normal problem. We are offended, ”added the protester.
“The [Friday’s protest] was done by local Muslims in Hong Kong… and not by any organization or NGO. This was done on a personal basis. he said HKFP. “The people have just gathered.”
When asked why the protest took place outside the mosque, Alex said it was the most obvious place. “The administrators may have a different position,” he added. “They don’t want to protest. But other Muslims, we have a lot of anger.
The incorporated administrators of the Islamic community oversee the administration of the city’s mosques.
In the teachings of Islam, the Prophet Mohammad asked his followers not to produce a representation of him, lest future generations worship the image.
‘People from outside’
The board sought to distance itself from the protest.
They are “outsiders” with no affiliation with the mosque, a spokesperson for the Kowloon Mosque said. HKFP, adding that the mosque did not support the demonstration. Administrators have placed a notice on the doors of the mosque, “strictly banning” further demonstrations, demonstrations or political gatherings.
Other members of the community also criticized Friday’s protest. Adeel Malik, founder and chairman of the Hong Kong Muslim Council, said HKFP the went against the teachings of Islam. “The mosque is supposed to be a place where people come to pray, learn the Quran, and hold social gatherings, but any kind of politically motivated protest will not be acceptable.”
“You shouldn’t defame, you shouldn’t demonize,” he said. “We lose this standard of morals and values because we want to impose our ideology, our school of thought on others. This is what leads to wars, disputes and disunity, ”he said, adding that burning effigies and flags during protests around the world was akin to“ vigilante ”behavior. “It is certainly not from Islam.”
Malik, however, said he understood the frustrations that led to the anti-France protests. “The trigger that led to what we saw last week is a president, a leader, defending the actions of these people who take a figure that we hold to heart for fun, for mockery,” he said. he declares. “When a political figure … approves it, accepts it, then the red line is drawn.”
“The way they describe cartoons is an insult,” said the president, “[But the] the reaction must not disturb the social order and the laws of the country. “
Straw poll shows apathy
Others, however, were less worried. Of the twenty people identified as Muslims approached by HKFP on Tuesday, most had no opinion on the whole issue. Only one man expressed support for Friday’s protest.
Hasan, a Turkish Muslim who has been in Hong Kong for 26 years, said he sees the whole issue as politically motivated. “Turkey and France support different men in Libya. It’s all about the money. France gets a lot of oil from Libya, ”he said, referring to the escalating tensions between the French and Turkish leaders.
“No one really knows what Mohammad the Prophet looked like, whether dark skinned or light skinned, tall or short. They get angry with a drawing of something imaginary, ”he added. “It’s stupid to get mad at something imaginary.