Islam and wearing the headscarf reappear in the headlines of French newspapers and TV programs after the death threat letter – which the French journalist and producer of Algerian origin Nadia Al-Lazouni received at her home in Paris on April 8th – caused a lot of controversy.
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“Keep your scarf (referring to the hijab), shameless person … be silent and get out of our country, France will be free of all Muslims and Islamists.” This is a small part of a handwritten letter that Nadia received from an unknown person, threatening and threatening the Muslim community with gunfire and expulsion.
“3 million Muslims in 6 months, mathematically reasonable. We will shoot you in the neck, you are a bunch of damned Islamists.”
This message came a week after Nadia shared – through her Twitter account – an excerpt from her dialogue on a program on the “LCE” channel broadcast in October 2019, in which she opposed a bill banning the wearing of headscarves for mothers during school trips.
In an exclusive interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Nadia says, “My interventions have always been based on the law. This message was not directed only to me, but to all Muslims in France. We are all targeted.”
Al-Lazouni posted a tweet on Twitter directed to French President Emmanuel Macron, France’s Minister of Citizen Affairs Marin Schiappa and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanan, and commented, “Are you going to do anything against these threats?” Her lawyer, May Aryeh Alimi, then filed a complaint for “death threats based on religion.”
The request for protection was rejected
French Minister Schiappa responded to Nadia’s tweet, saying, “These insults and racism cannot be justified. I strongly condemn them.” He called Frederick Rose, the Elysee’s Internal Security Adviser’s club, on April 9 and informed them of his desire to conduct an investigation to determine the seriousness of the death threats.
“I asked him to delete my home address from the Internet, to provide other housing and protection from the police,” Nadia told Al-Jazeera Net, “but he told me that the address could not be deleted because the law does not allow this.”
“They were just trying to calm things down, without doing anything tangible,” she adds – in an excited and tense voice.
Indeed, the Ministry of Interior rejected the police protection request on Tuesday, May 4, and the text stated, “The anti-terrorist services did not find a threat that would justify the application of direct protection. Police officers are now responsible for examining the facts that have been reported.”
However, according to Nadia, the police have not requested access to these letters to this day, and she says, “I asked them to conduct a handwriting examination so that they could compare it, perhaps with other messages received by individuals or Islamic associations, but they did not do anything.”
At the other end
According to a global study conducted by UNESCO, it said that 3 out of 4 female journalists have been victims of online violence, and 20% of them have suffered from the persistence of these threats.
This is not the first time that journalists have been threatened with death in France, but it is clear that the authorities’ treatment differs according to cases and people.
On May 1, Belgian journalist Julie Dinayer was placed under police protection for several weeks after receiving death threats on Facebook because of her program that featured criminals’ stories on a French channel.
Zainab Al-Ghazoui – a Frenchwoman of Moroccan descent and a former journalist for “Charlie Hebdo” magazine famous for her harsh criticism of political Islam and Islamists – is today considered “the most protected woman in France” because she has been living under police protection since the January 2015 attacks. .
Media “demonize Islam”
“The political and media discourses demonized Islam and produced Islamophobia and racism, and portrayed the veiled woman as not speaking French or wanting to adapt,” says Al-Lazouni, “but the models of veiled women working in pioneering fields destroyed what these discourses are trying to spread. Me and others are a problem.”
In October 2019, Yves Terard, deputy editor-in-chief of Le Figaro, made an anti-Muslim statement during a TV interview, stating, “If I find a woman wearing a headscarf on the bus or boat, I will get off. I don’t know when we will finish this. Problems, I hate Islam. “
On Friday, September 11, 2020, journalist Judith Weintraub published a video broadcast by BFMTV of the veiled student Iman, providing cooking advice, and commented on the phrase “September 11” as an allusion to the attacks that took place in America.
On the other hand, the French Minister of Moroccan origin, Nadia Hai, was attacked when she praised the student’s video and criticized Judith’s suggestion, which made her post another tweet, “I condemn these death threats, they have no place in our republic.”
The Muslim community in France faces a series of racist incidents, including the stabbing incident of two veiled women near the Eiffel Tower.
The head of the International Council for Justice and Equality, Ali Ghadikoglu, of Turkish origin, told Al-Jazeera Net that he received a message containing threats to him and Muslims on the first day of Ramadan, which is a “disturbing” sign. He has yet to receive any response from the police.
It is worth noting that the International Council for Justice and Equality – a United Nations accredited organization based in Strasbourg – carries out activities of interest to migrants in France, including the right to equality and representation.
And in November 2019, the French Ifop Institute published a survey that concluded that one in every two Muslims in France suffers from discrimination or racial attack.
According to this study, the Jean Jaurès Foundation published a report saying that 42% of Muslims living in France have been subjected to at least one form of discrimination related to religion in various fields; Discrimination during police checks (13%), when looking for work (17%), and when looking for housing (14%).
The same study indicates that 60% of veiled women face discrimination at least once in their lives, especially when looking for work.
Finally, Al-Lazouni says, “All the targeted minorities demand protection. This famous secularism has become today an effective tool for excluding Muslims in France, but on the ground, the values of the republic do not exist; freedom, equality and brotherhood, which were voted and adopted to guarantee freedom of belief, religion, and the security of all.” .