- Created: Friday, 22 May 2009 11:03
- Written by FRFI
All kinds of manipulation by politicians and the media are being used to stigmatise France’s Arab and Muslim community, preventing them from being accepted as a part of society.
On 9 July 2004 a young woman claimed six Africans, including three North Africans, had attacked her and her 13-month-old baby girl on a Parisian train. She claimed they took her bag, stole the money and found an ID Card with an address in the 16th district of Paris on it. That part of Paris being mainly occupied by members of the upper class, they allegedly branded her as Jewish. And then, according to the so-called victim, the nightmare began: they allegedly abused her with anti-Semitic words, tore up her shirt and trousers with a knife and drew swastikas all over her body – this in front of other passengers, who did nothing. She explained to the police how, once the train stopped, the young men escaped, but not without throwing her baby from the pram onto the platform first.
It took just a few hours for this story to generate condemnation from all political parties and stigmatise the Arab-Muslim community, specifically those from North Africa. That minority was depicted as anti-Semitic, violent, alienated and a dangerous threat to the Republic.
Many people took advantage of that story to perpetuate the equation used by Zionists that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are the same. The President of the Representative Council of Jewish Organisations in France rushed to criticize imams; the Israeli ambassador proclaimed that there are 1.8 million Muslim extremists in France; Julien Dray, spokesperson for the French Socialist Party, blamed Oumma.com. This is one of the very few websites on which French Muslims can express themselves – that is when Zionists do not manage to overload the servers. The Minister of Education even linked the story to the issue of the veil!
More emphasis was put on the ethnic origin of the alleged perpetrators than on the act itself – an act that obviously anyone would have condemned, had any of it been true. Instead, it transpired the young woman had mental health problems and the story was a figment of her imagination.
This is not the only manipulation of this sort that has occurred in France.
The ‘Harry Potter Affair’ was a scandal around a Zionist organisation that organised a showing of the movie Harry Potter for Jewish children. A small group of people opposed to the ideology of the organisation protested and were branded as anti-Semitic by all the French media, none of whom explained that the money was being raised to finance an Israeli settlement.
On 3 January 2004, Rabbi Gabriel Farhi said he had been stabbed in the belly while inside the synagogue. Needless to say that everybody immediately jumped to the conclusion this was an anti-Semitic action perpetrated by a Muslim. However, it is now thought by the police that a right-wing Jewish organisation carried out the attack specifically to incriminate the French Arab-Muslim community.
The ‘Gagny Affair’ concerned the burning down of a small warehouse next to a Jewish school. Journalists looking for a scoop had no qualms about claiming it was part of the school or calling it a classroom, despite being perfectly aware that this was not true. Not a single shred of evidence supporting the theory of an anti-Semitic attack has ever been found, and investigators have only managed to link the fire to an insurance fraud. Nonetheless, several politicians directly accused the Muslim community and the media used the story again and again. The result was that the morning after the fire the government created an inter-ministerial commission against anti-Semitism. The fact that the anti-Semitic character of the fire has never been established has been completely ignored!
We could also point to the pathetic efforts of Axel Moïse, President of the Zionist Federation in France, to falsely accuse the Muslim community of anti-Semitism by sending himself anti-Semitic letters. He was eventually charged and convicted for this.
The scare stories are numerous and are always picked up on by both the media and the politicians. For the last few months there have been many terrorist attacks on shops, restaurants and houses belonging to members of the Arab-Muslim community of Corsica. The media has not considered these explosions and murders to be important and no political mobilisation against those racist and Islamophobic attacks has ever taken place, with the exception of a small protest on 18 September at which no political group, except the Communist Party, was present.
The MRAP (Movement against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples) does not even have figures for the number of racist attacks against North Africans or Muslims. However, we know that in Corsica as much as on the continent, the incidence of racist attacks against Muslims and Arabs is growing very fast, especially since the events of 11 September 2001.
Anti-Semitism, like any other form of racism, has to be taken seriously. It is outrageous to witness political organisations and associations exploiting anti-Semitism to further their own agenda, which includes keeping the Arab-Muslim community in France in a state of permanent exclusion and guaranteeing support for Zionism. There is no hierarchy of racism – either we condemn all forms of racism or we don’t. In France, it seems that we don’t…
FRFI 181 October / November 2004