A new documentary on the rise of radical Islam in France has sparked controversy among the French public, with viewers’ opinions ranging from praise to outrage. The filmmaker has been slammed as ‘sensationalist’ and ‘provocateur’ by the head of the town in which part of it was filmed.
The first episode of new show “Dossier Tabou” titled “Islam in France: the failure of the Republic” was aired on Wednesday, September 28 on the M6 channel. Watched by some 2.4 million viewers, it immediately grabbed public attention, topping of Twitter discussion trends.
The documentary revolved around the financing of Islamism by foreign powers, such as Saudi Arabia, its organization and its internal divisions, as well as the training of imams. In a manner of illustration, it showed excerpts from sermons by a confirmed radical cleric named Mohamed Khattabi, who had been under house arrest for nearly three months after the attacks in France in November 2015.
A part of the documentary was filmed in the northern French city of Sevran, in the department of Seine Saint Denis. The city has been regarded as a place of widespread Islamist recruitment, after at least 15 young men left it to go and fight within the ranks of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria and Iraq since 2014. Six are known to have died there.
Bernard de La Villardiere, the French journalist, radio and television presenter who authored the documentary, could be seen getting into a heated argument with local youths outside the town’s mosque which is suspected of links to Islamism and is currently being probed by authorities. The argument ended in a brawl.
Le Monde – JUNE 19 2012
Mostly “white” until now, France’s National Assembly has diversified
following the legislative elections on June 17^th . Eight deputies of
Maghrebian, Asian and Brasilian origin have been elected. They are all
members of the Socialist party. The Maghrebian members include: Kader
Arif (Haute-Garonne), the former minister of veteran affairs, who
arrived in France at 4 years old with her Algerian-born parents. Malek
Boutih (Essonne), 47 and of Algerian origin, has spent 30 years working
in social and political organizations, including SOS Racisme, where he
was president from 1999-2003. Kheira Bouziane (Côte-d’Or), is a 58
year-old Economics professor born in Oran, Algeria. Chaynesse Khirouni
(Meurthe-et-Moselle) was a micro-finance teacher at the University of
Lorraine before she became involved in politics in 2008. And, Razzy
Hammadi (Seine-Saint-Denis) who was born to an Algerian father and a
Tunisian mother. Hammadi was formally the president of the Socialist
Youth Movement from 2005-2007 and has worked for the public service
Other members of immigrant origins include, from Tchad, Seybah Dagoma
(Paris), 34, a former lawyer who formally worked for Bertrand Delanoë as
person in charge of the social economy. Born in Nantes, she is a
founding member of the think tank, Terra Nova and of the scientific
council of the Jean-Jaures Foundation. Pouria Amirshahi (France
overseas), was born in Iran and came to France when he was five. His
father returned to Iran and he grew up with her mother in a housing
project in the outskirts of Paris. Eduardo Rihan Cypel (Seine-et-Marne)
is 36 years old and was born in Brazil. He’s known for his work fighting
against the immigration policies within Sarkozy’s government.
Reuters – April 25, 2012
Marine Le Pen’s breakthrough in the French election’s first round brought her anti-immigrant National Front (FN) party its highest poll score to date, touching off a round of soul-searching as French elites sought to understand her appeal. But an explanation comes quickly to the sons and grandsons of North African immigrants, who say harping on Muslim symbols by both Le Pen and President Nicolas Sarkozy has put fear of foreigners into the hearts of many white French people.
Seine-Saint-Denis, with a population of 1.5 million, covers the sprawling northwestern suburbs of Paris and is home to the highest concentration of people of immigrant origin in the country. French law bars compiling statistics by ethnic origin, but census figures show more than one in five residents was born abroad. National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father, got 9 percent there in France’s 2007 election. She boosted that to 13.6 percent, still well below her national score, but nonetheless resonating with the area’s sizeable white community.
News Agencies – March 3, 2011
The French Minister of Education, Luc Chatel, has written in support of a school director in Seine Saint-Denis who refused to meet headscarf-wearing women at the entrance of a public school. Parents must accept “neutrality” if they come close to the school, said the principal. The decision counters that of a 2007 position which allowed mothers to enter the school.
News Agencies – October 19, 2010
Masked youths clad in black torched cars, smashed storefronts and threw up roadblocks, clashing with riot police across France as protests over raising the retirement age to 62 took a radical turn. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the vandals are students, as young as 12 years old. These youth, says the official, are opportunistic and unstructured, forming sporadic groups. The most destructive are armed with makeshift weapons found on the way: a snatched post, or a stolen bicycle are used to smash store windows and then loot them, says a police agent in Seine-Saint-Denis. One of the ‘rioters’ even forgot his notebook in a shop in Seine-Saint-Denis which was looted by 40 people. Fifteen years old and without a police record, he was arrested six hours later at home.
The proximity of the ‘trouble suburbs’ to the marching routes complicates the job of the police, for example, in Nanterre, where rioters gathered to harass the riot police. At the departmental directorate of public security in Essonne, a police officer says that during the protests, high-school and college students from the underprivileged areas (“difficult neighborhoods”) turn into rioters. They put on a hood and start to pelt the police, or burn garbage, or even cars. Then they melt back into the protest march, some changing their clothing so as not to be recognized by the police videos.
According to French Minister of the Interior Brice Hortefeux, Ali Ibrahim El Soudany, an imam in Seine-Saint-Denis, is a “radical Islamicist” preaching “violence”. For these reasons, El Soudany has been deported back to his native Egypt.
El Soudany, born in 1973, preached in several mosques in the east of Paris in the 18th and 19th districts but principally in Pantin and Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis).
Since 2001, 129 radical Islamicists, including 29 imams, have been deported from France.
With the widespread rumor that it contains alcohol, Coca-Cola has sought halal certification. This Le Figaro article reports that after some hesitations, Coca-Cola France sought the assistance of the certification organization of the mosque of Paris, whose spokesperson announced that “Coca Cola is without alcohol and therefore halal.” Still, concern among French Muslims with the company’s Middle Eastern politics prevails. The Union of Muslim Associations of Seine-Saint-Denis, for instance, announced that families avoid the product for precautionary measures.
French imams have launched a new body to confront problems facing Muslim religious leaders in the European country. “It is high time for France’s imams to take the initiative in playing a genuine and effective role and filling in the gap left by Muslim groups,” said Drancy imam Hassan Chalghoumi, chairman of the “Conference of French Imams”. Launched on Thursday, June 11, the 43-member body aims to solve problems facing imams in France.
The new council has been critical of CFCM (French Council of the Muslim Faith), established under Sarkozy in 2003. The CFCM has come under fire for its mishandling of key Muslim issues like hijab and Islamophobia. “There is a total absence on the part of CFCM and its leader Mohamed Al-Mosawai,” Mohamed Henich, secretary general of the Union of Muslims Associations in the Seine-Saint-Denis district, said.
The person responsible for a mosque in Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis) requested the tribunal of Bobigny to restrict ownership of the buildings where his prayer halls were built in 1995 so that he can purchase them. The transaction between Mohammed Ta_four and Marie-Louise Duport, the current owner of the buildings, has stalled since 1996 by the pre-emption of the mayor and the ex-mayor who was opposed to Ta_four`s project. The lawyer of the “Association des B_tisseurs Musulmans de France“ requested the tribunal to honor the transaction. Despite these delays, the mayor has said that the promise of the space will be upheld.
By St_phanie Le Bars La construction de la mosqu_e de Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis) sera finalement retard_e. Le tribunal administratif de Cergy-Pontoise a annul_ le bail emphyt_otique sign_ entre la municipalit_ et l’association musulmane porteuse du projet. Le jugement a _t_ rendu public lundi 25 juin par Patricia Vayssi_re, _lue du Mouvement national r_publicain (MNR) de la ville, qui avait saisi la justice. Dans son avis, le commissaire du gouvernement avait jug_ que ce bail conc_d_ pour un euro symbolique constituait une subvention d_guis_e.