November 5, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 9011

Former Kuwaiti Oil Minister: Boycotting French Products Is Not The Way To Restore The Honor Of The Prophet, Who Preached Forgiveness, Not Revenge

November 5, 2020
Kuwait | Special Dispatch No. 9011

In his November 5, 2020 column in the English-language Kuwaiti daily Arab Times, former Kuwaiti oil minister Ahmed Al-Baghli wrote against the Arab boycott of French products in response to the recent publication of the Muhammad cartoons by the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. Al-Baghli noted that, according to the president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, Mohammed Moussaoui, Muslims are not persecuted in France, for they are free to construct mosques and practice their faith. Al-Baghli added that, although the cartoons of the Prophet are indeed offensive, Muslims must consider their reaction rationally. They must remember that revenge was not the way of the Prophet, who pardoned his adversaries and exhorted his followers to do the same. Furthermore, he said, boycotting French products harms Muslims who import these products and use them more than it harms the French economy.

Ahmed Al-Baghli (source: Arab Times, Kuwait)

The following is his article:[1]

"President of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) Mohammed Moussaoui said, 'Muslims are not persecuted in France.' This comes at a time when demonstrations and calls to boycott French products intensify following the statements made by French President Macron regarding the offensive cartoons depicting the noble Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Moussaoui told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that, 'France is a big country. Muslim citizens are not persecuted. They freely construct their mosques and freely practice their religion.' He urged French Muslims to 'defend the interests' of the nation in the face of the international outcry (Al-Shahid daily, Oct 27 issue).

"We are definitely against what happened in terms of the offense committed against our noble Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), but we must think about how to rationally respond to such offenses.

"Boycotting French products will not restore the honor of our noble Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) whose mission on this earth was to fulfill the best of moral behaviors. Revenge is not part of the great morality represented by the best creation of all, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The act of revenge prevailed in the pre-Islamic era among Arabs, alongside aggression of the weak against the strong, dishonoring the principles of neighborliness and dishonesty, all of which were against the core teachings of the great Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

"It is enough that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) pardoned his antagonist who caused him and Muslims in general to suffer at that time to such an extent that they were forced to migrate and leave their hometown Makkah. That was not the end of it, but it continued for a decade until the Prophet returned to his hometown victorious and pardoned all the enemies of Islam. His actions in this regard was in accordance with the eternal Islamic teaching – 'Forgive when able …'

"Let us go back to the call for boycott issued by the heads and members of our cooperative societies. These cooperative societies represent the distributors of these products, and the members of the boards of directors of these cooperative societies should have referred the matter to the shareholders before making that decision, as it may harm the shareholders who are used to buying certain products for their personal use.

"Here, I would like to remind the people who are calling for a boycott about our boycott of Israel, in which Kuwait played a major role in all levels, while Israeli products were found in the countries neighboring Israel. So did our boycott of Israel affect its economy, let alone the fact that Israel has hurt Arabs and Muslims many times over what the absurd Charlie Hebdo cartoons did? Are Israeli institutions bankrupt because of our boycott of their products?!

"We would like to remind the advocates of boycotting French products that the Arab countries recently normalized their relationship with Israel and 'accompanied it,' as we put it, to see that the cat has swallowed the tongues of all of Israel’s enemies and boycotters in the face of this unjustified normalization in the full sense of the word.

"There is one fact that the advocates of boycotting French goods are missing. These goods are sold in Kuwait through Kuwaiti agents. If this boycott succeeds, it will expose our own to heavy losses, and this will definitely be tantamount to shooting our own foot."


[1] Arab Times (Kuwait), November 5, 2020.

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