Blogger Mehdi Meklat caught posting anti-Semitic tweets

Mehdi Meklat, a 24-year-old writer/blogger has come under fire after revelations that he has for years been posting anti-Semitic, mysogynistic, homophobic and pro-jihadi tweets.

Meklat, along with writing partner Badrouine Said Abdallah, shot to fame through the Bondy Blog, a site created for and by sub-Saharan and North African second-generation immigrants seeking to celebrate “ethnic diversity” and insert “the stories from the ‘hood into the larger national debates.”

Meklat tweeted more than 50,000 offensive tweets from 2012 to 2014. Before the Césars he tweeted: “Bring on Hitler to kill the Jews.” Just before the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, he tweeted about the magazine’s editor Stephane Charbonnier “Charb, what I’d really like to do is shove some Laguiole knives up his …” He praised Mohammad Merah, who murdered Jewish schoolchildren in Toulouse: “I find the phrase, ‘I love death the way you love life,’ of Mohammed Merah troubling in its beauty.” In blatant homophobia: “Long live the fags, long live AIDS under President Francois Hollande.”

Of far-right French politician Marine Le Pen, he wrote that he would “slit her throat the Muslim way.”

In a lengthy note on Facebook Meklat apologized for the posts while attempting to absolve himself of culpability, claiming to be victim of a time when Twitter was “a digital Wild West. A new object, almost confidential, where no rule was enacted, no moderation exercised.” 

He had tweeted under the name Marcelin Deschamps, inspired by French Dada artist Marcel Duchamp. The stunt, he said, was a commentary on the racism of France’s Old Guard, but “quickly became an evil villain … who couldn’t be stopped” in his attempts to “provoke.” The social media alter-ego had “nothing to do with me… It is now dead and should have never existed,” Meklat wrote.

“You have life on your side, you have your experiences, your wanderings, your loves, your past that sticks to your present, anchored in you. But it does not matter until you have no money. You are therefore a slave,” wrote Meklat with his writing partner Badrouine Said Abdallah in their recent novel Minute. As Meklat gained accolades for his creative projects, the media discovered his second Twitter account, but barely responded. That was until a French tweeter, identified by Le Monde as a teacher, expressed outrage at one of Meklat’s television appearances. The teacher pleaded, successfully, for the country to demand the author answer for Meklat’s obscene and offensive tweets.

The “Meklat affair” has also given fuel to France’s rising far-right, including Marine Le Pen’s niece Marion Le Pen, who placed the blame with France’s left-wing media.

 

Integration and society

Tito Boeri, a famous Italian economist, analyzes the meaning of the terrible events in Rosarno. The integration of immigrants, from his point of view, is a crucial issue in Italy. Migrants are an economic benefit, but they are also a source of social tension for hosting communities.

The events in Rosarno proves that confining the problem of integration solely into a religious dimension is reductive and intellectually dishonest. He criticizes the thesis of the impossibility of integrating Muslims, and historical arguments of three facts (according to a representative survey carried out by Fondazione Rodolfo Debenedetti, Nov-Dec 2009):

1. One out of every three Italians don’t want Muslims as neighbors. They also don’t want Jews, right or left wing extremists, or AIDS sufferers.
2. Muslim immigrants speak Italian, send their children to public schools and have contact with Italian citizens more than other minorities.
3. Most immigrants work more than Italian citizens.

The answers to issues raised by Muslim immigration, although complex and challenging, cannot be nourished by prejudices. On the contrary, we have to be humble and doubt. We have to observe in order to learn, and to rely on facts and figures to put effective and non discriminatory policies in place.

Dutch Bishop Suggests Calling God Allah

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch Catholic bishop who once said the hungry were entitled to steal bread and advocated condom use to prevent AIDS has made headlines again, this time by saying God should be called Allah. ”Allah is a very beautiful word for God. Shouldn’t we all say that from now on we will call God Allah?” Bishop Tiny Muskens said in an interview broadcast this week. ”God doesn’t care what we call him.” In this nation where religious tolerance has been eroded in recent years by a rise in radical Islam, the comments drew little support.

A Growing Demand for the Rare American Imam

Sheik Yassir Fazaga regularly uses a standard American calendar to provide inspiration for his weekly Friday sermon. Around Valentine’s Day this year, he talked about how the Koran endorses romantic love within certain ethical parameters. (As opposed to say, clerics in Saudi Arabia, who denounce the banned saint’s day as a Satanic ritual.) On World AIDS Day, he criticized Muslims for making moral judgments about the disease rather than helping the afflicted, and on International Women’s Day he focused on domestic abuse. (…) Prayer leaders, or imams, in the United States have long arrived from overseas, forced to negotiate a foreign culture along with their congregation. Older immigrants usually overlook the fact that it is an uneasy fit, particularly since imported sheiks rarely speak English. They welcome a flavor of home. But as the first generation of American-born Muslims begins graduating from college in significant numbers, with a swelling tide behind them, some congregations are beginning to seek native imams who can talk about religious and social issues that seem relevant to young people (…)