Anger after Muslim women denied service at French restaurant

Social media users have expressed anger after a video posted online appeared to show two Muslim women in France being told to leave a restaurant by a man, reportedly the boss, who called all Muslims “terrorists”.

“Terrorists are Muslims, and all Muslims are terrorists. This sentence says it all, analyse it,” the man said in the video released on Sunday.

The incident reportedly took place the night before at the Le Cenacle restaurant in Tremblay-en-France, an area in the suburbs of Paris.

“People like you, I don’t want them here,” he continued, “you are imposing yourself here […] get out.”

The women, one of whom appeared in the video wearing a headscarf, said they would leave.

Reports in France said that the man apologized on Sunday to a group of young people and members of the local Muslim community who had gathered outside Le Cenacle to ask him to explain his comments.

The restaurateur reportedly said one of his friends had died in the attack on the Bataclan concert hall in November 2015.

In a message on Twitter, Laurence Rossignol, the French minister for families, children and women’s rights, said she had ordered an investigation and called for sanctions against the “intolerable behavior” of the restaurant’s boss.

France’s highest administrative court on Friday suspended the ban in the Mediterranean town of Villeneuve-Loubet, pending a definitive ruling.

The footage of the incident at the restaurant has been shared widely on social media, garnering many reactions of concern for increasing Islamphobia in the country.

In response to the incident, the Committee against Islamophobia in France said it would bring “psychological and legal assistance” to both women.

“What kills me in the scandalous video #Cenacle is the indifference of other clients,” the committee’s director, Marwan Muhammed, said on Twitter.

Semantics of Islamophobia in France

20.09.2013

In two separate newspaper articles on Libération and Le Monde, the papers discussed the polemics surrounding the word Islamophobia and the reluctance of certain politicians and organisations in using the term to describe anti-Muslim violence in France. The debate surrounding the roots of the term appears to be crucial to the question of who is comfortable in using the word and who refrains from doing so. For many politicians, including some leading politician in the current government, who reject to use the term, Islamophobia is a concept that misleads by being in allegiance with forces that attempt to undermine democracy and secularism.  Many consider the term to be of coinage by the Iranian government, who are accused of using the word in order to forward its radical agenda.

Marwan Mohammed and Abdellali Hajjat, two sociologists who have written a book on the genealogy of Islamophobia in France, have however revealed a completely different story of the term. According to them, French anthropologists used the term Islamophobia in 1910 to describe a way to administer French colonies in East Africa and reappeared in in the 1980s where in the UK where its politically coinage later took place.

Muslim woman loses baby after attack

18.06.2013

Liberation

The 21-year-old Muslim woman who was attacked by two men in what is believed to be a racist attack was in her fourth month of pregnancy and suffered a miscarriage following the attack. The woman was attacked on Thursday by two men, who were reported to have ripped off her hijab in Argenteuil, Val-d’Oise, before kicking her in the hip. The woman’s husband reported that the women lost her baby on Monday.

The attack follows another attack on a veiled Muslim woman three weeks ago and days after clashes erupted between Muslim residents and the police after a veiled woman was arrested by the authorities. The local Muslim community reported to be angered and concerned about the rise of Islamophobia in recent weeks. Hundreds of people gathered in a protest condemning the attacks and the French state’s reluctant response to it. Following the family’s loss, the Coalition against Racism and Islamophobia (CRI) expressed its “condolences and solidarity with the family”. The group demands that the “wave of attacks and Islamophobic behaviour requires a strong and uncompromising response from the French Republic, which must express its solidarity with all victims and not just those who the Minister of Internal Affairs deems worthy to empathize with”. The CRI and the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) have denounced on a meeting at the city of hall of Argenteuil the French authority’s lack of consideration of Islamophobic attacks and sympathy shown to its victims. As a response, the adjunct director of cabinet to the French Minister of Internal Affairs, Manuel Valls, sent out letters to both victims and received the first of the two in the Ministry in Paris.

French Muslims seek to have Islamophobia recognized in awareness campaign

News Agencies – November 1, 2012

The Collective Against Islamophobia in France (Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France; CCIF) has launched a media campaign to “open dialogue” and “deconstruct clichés” regarding Islam in France. The message of their campaign is “We are the Nation” or that Muslims are central to France whether it be “by birth, but also by their feeling of belonging, by their daily contribution and by the history of our country,” according to the CCIF on their website. They also add that “Islamophobia is not an opinion but is a crime.” The CCIF noted a rise in Islamophobic incidents in 2011 compared to the previous year.

French Council of Muslim Faith suggest Islamophobia in France on the rise

News Agencies – November 3, 2011

Islamophobia is on the rise in France, according to figures released by the French Muslim umbrella group, CFCM. Attacks and insults perpetrated against Muslims went [up] 22 per cent in the first nine months of this year, the group says, and it fears that there will be more ahead of next year’s general election. Citing Interior Ministry figures, the CFCM says that 115 cases were reported to the police between the beginning of January and the end of September. But they are a gross underestimate, according to CFCM president Abdallah Zekri, because victims are often loath to go to the authorities.

French Council of the Muslim Faith responds to Facebook aggression

Pakistan Today – September 9, 2011

French police recently tried to identify a Facebook user who sought “to cut Muslims’s throats instead of sheep” during the Eid al-Adha feast, sparking the ire of Muslim and anti-racist groups. “Police are carrying out an investigation to identify the author of these unworthy declarations,” police said in a statement, adding that the Facebook “wall” page in question had already been taken down.
Following the posting, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) contacted police and the French anti-Islamophobia Collective (CCIF) contacted the social networking site to have the page removed.

“This is a lamentable call to murder that could bring about a new Oslo,” Abdallah Zekri of the CFCM told AFP, referring to July’s massacre in Norway carried out by Islamophobe Anders Behring Breivik. Zekri noted what he said was a rise in Islamophobia in France since President Nicolas Sarkozy’s right-wing UMP party started a controversial public debate on French identity, Islam and immigration.

UOIF claims rise in Islamophobia in France

Speaking from the large gathering of French Muslims in Bourget, the UOIF (the Union of Islamic Organizations of France) claims a rise in Islamophobia recently in France.

Large mosque in St-Étienne, France vandalized

The grand mosque of St-Étienne (Loire Valley) has been vandalized with ten racist and Islamophobic inscriptions. Similar statements were spray-painted on the mosque four years ago. The Regional Council of the Muslim Faith in the Rhône-Alpes (CRCM) has condemned the attack, adding that they hope justice will but brought forward as quickly as possible. They also requested for a similar parliamentary commission to that examining the burqa and niqab to examine Islamophobia in France.

French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) takes a position on the burqa

The Conseil Français du Culte Musulman (CFCM or the French Council of the Muslim Faith) have taken a position on the wearing of burqas in France, claiming that while they critique the practice, the do not condemn it.

They are opposed a possible ban on the burqa in France, pointing to how the commission has “stigmatized an entire religion,” and that it could be both “counter-productive and unenforceable.” CFCM president Mohammed Moussaoui added that, “Based on the opinion of a large number of Muslim theologians, the CFCM considers that the burqa is not a religious prescription.”

The CFCM also pointed to the possibility of holding a commission addressing the rise of Islamophobia in France.

2008 CCIF report on Islamophobic Acts in France

According to the CCIF (The Collective Against Islamophobia in France or the Collectif contre l’islamophobie en France), there were 80 Islamophobic acts recorded in the Republic in 2008, 59 against specific persons and 21 focused on specific locations (like mosques and cemeteries). 67% of acts against specific persons took place in Ile-de-France. The CCIF was created five years ago with the aim of lessening Islamophobia and racism.