Muslim nations that erupted in protests after French President Emmanuel Macron defended the right to freedom of expression following the beheading of a schoolteacher in a Paris suburb for showing cartoons of Prophet Mohammed to his students, are maintaining silence after a Chinese TV channel showed a portrait of prophet.
China’s state-run China Central Television broadcast a portrait of Mohammed in TV series Carol of Zhenguan.
In the scene, an Arab ambassador visiting China during the rule of Tang dynasty gifts a portrait of the prophet to the Chinese emperor. The video has since gone viral in China with the ambassador in the show declaring: “This is the portrait of the God of our country, Mohammed.”
The use of the portrait openly has taken web users in China by surprise, with several wondering whether it has the blessings of the Chinese censors and the Chinese Communist Party.
Many Muslims across the world consider any depictions of their prophet, let alone satirical ones, to be blasphemous.
After Macron emphatically declared France “will not give up cartoons”, Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed him and called for a boycott of French goods.
Several Gulf states also decided to remove French products from their shelves as anti-Macron protests erupted in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Gaza Strip and Libya.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan condemning the publication of prophet cartoons in Charlie Hebdo called it rise in Islamophobia.
With the Chinese TV series openly depicting Prophet Mohammed, netizens wondered whether the Muslim world will take a similar call to ban Chinese products and denounce Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The developments come at a time Beijing has been accused of persecuting Uighur Muslims, a move that has failed to elicit any response from quite a few Muslim countries, including Pakistan.