Moroccan Arab-language newspaper Al-Watan al-An has published images of French President François Hollande retouched to look like Adolf Hitler, sporting a swastika armband with the headline “the French are reopening Hitler’s concentration camps to exterminate Muslims”.Funny, I had no idea that the Jewish community was being so well protected. After all, only Jews have been killed in France for bias reasons, not Muslims.
The controversial image was on the cover of Al-Watan al-An was dated yesterday, only two days after the 70th anniversary of Holocaust Day, which marks the allied liberation of the largest Nazi concentration camp in 1945 in Auschwitz, Poland, where over a million Jews, Poles and allied prisoners of war were exterminated by the Nazi regime.
Commenting on the images, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Abderrahim Ariri was not apologetic, and insisted the photomontage of the French head of state was meant to highlight the French government’s bias towards protecting its Jewish citizens and neglecting the security of French Muslims.
“This is a small part of what the French President deserves,” Ariri told Moroccan French-language weekly TelQuel.
“The government of France cannot ensure the security of Muslim citizens in France, in the same way that they do for the Jewish community,” he added.
And isn't it interesting that instead of demanding protection for Muslims, Abderrahim Ariri has to imply that there is too much protection of Jews, who are of course being threatened by people who come from the same part of the world that Ariri comes from?
Contacted by FRANCE 24, the editor of the magazine said he did not regret the comparison between the two men nor the timing of the publication.From what I can tell, the National Observatory of Islamophobia counts self-reported acts, not incidents reported to police.
“I chose this photomontage myself and I fully assume responsibility for it,” Abderrahim Ariri said by telephone from Casablanca. “Since the Paris attacks I have received many emails from fellow Moroccan Muslims who live in France and who tell me they are living through hell.”
“They are in danger… I want to send a strong message to French authorities. I want François Hollande to step up security for Muslims, for their places of worship. If not, there could be abuses,” Ariri added.
According to France’s National Observatory of Islamophobia, 128 anti-Muslim acts were recorded across France in the two weeks that followed the massacre perpetrated by masked gunman at the offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo – as many incidents recorded by the rights group all of last year.
There are anti-Muslim incidents in France. But as I pointed out last week, in 2014, 61% of all violent racist attacks recorded in France by police, 241, were directed against Jews, who are less than 1% of France's population. By comparison, only 55 violent racist acts were anti-Muslim. This means that in France, a Jew is nearly 50 times as likely to be the victim of bias violence as a Muslim is.
Are Muslims in France feeling so endangered that the want to move out of Europe? I mean, if they are living through hell, surely some of them must have moved back to Algeria or Tunisia or Morocco or Libya by now, right?
The magazine cover accomplished three things: it falsely shows Muslims as the major victims of racism in France, and it trivializes the Holocaust, and it minimizes the very real threats that Jews in France have to deal with every day - mostly from Muslims - that dwarfs the danger that Muslims are in.