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.

 

French police criticized for dressing as Muslims during drug raid

Police in Marseille have been criticized over the arrest of a suspected drug dealer made by two officers dressed in traditional Muslim attire. The suspect was detained on Wednesday in La Bricarde neighborhood in the north of the city, along with two other alleged members of his crew in an operation in which 1.2 kilograms of cannabis and 300 euros in cash were seized. An otherwise unremarkable arrest, were it not for the fact that two of the officers were dressed in a qamis and jilbab, long tunics typically worn by conservative Muslims. The arrest was caught on camera and quickly spread through social media.

 

The arrest was part of an operation by a special brigade within the national police, a spokesperson of the Regional Directorate of Public Security [DDSP] confirmed.

Many were angered that the police were dressed specifically as Muslims when other civilian clothing could just as well have been used.

“It’s normal that banlieusards feel stigmatized when the police use these kind of procedures, which speaks volumes about the city conditions,” wrote a person who originally posted the video on Twitter.

This is the first time that I’ve heard of the police using this strategy. I don’t think it’s right for the police to pretend to be Muslim just in order to arrest someone, even if the rules do go out of the window in this game of cat-and-mouse,” “Wassim,” a local resident, told France 24. “They could have simply been in mufti, without having to pretend to be Muslim.”

But others have not been so quick to criticize, saying it was necessary for the officers to blend into an area that’s deeply suspicious of police.

“In the neighborhoods, there are people who act as lookouts and immediately alert the dealers when the police are coming,” said “Clara,” another local resident. “So, I think that trying to blend into the crowd in order not to attract attention is a good way of catching traffickers.”

Trump’s Muslim registry wouldn’t be illegal, constitutional law experts say

The day after Donald Trump won the White House, the American Civil Liberties Union wrote on Twitter that if the president-elect attempts “to implement his unconstitutional campaign promises, we’ll see him in court.”

But when it comes to the immigrant registration program that would target Muslims entering the United States — outlined Wednesday by an adviser to Trump’s transition team — three constitutional lawyers say the ACLU won’t have much of a shot before a judge.

That program, labeled the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, required those entering the U.S. from a list of certain countries — all but one predominantly Muslim — to register when they arrived in the U.S., undergo more thorough interrogation and be fingerprinted. The system, referred to by the acronym NSEERS, was criticized by civil rights groups for targeting a religious group and was phased out in 2011 because it was found to be redundant with other immigration systems.

Robert McCaw, director of government affairs for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said a reinstitution of NSEERS would be akin to “just turning back the clock.” CAIR will lobby heavily against the system as not only discriminatory but also ineffective, McCaw said, if it ends up being proposed by the Trump administration.

He also accused Kobach, an architect of the original NSEERS program when he was with the Justice Department under the George W. Bush administration, of having “a long ax to grind with the Muslim community.”

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.

‘burkini pool day’ stirs debate in France

Plans by a water park in the southern French city of Marseille to hold a pool day for Muslim women who wear full-body swimsuits, known as burkinis, has sparked debate and anger in the country.

The event, set to be held on September 17, is being organised by a women’s association, Smile13, based in the port city, where about 220,000 Muslims reside.

Politicians and residents on opposite ends of the political spectrum have come out on Twitter and elsewhere to respond to the event, with some dubbing the pool day an attempt by the Muslim community to segregate themselves, while others called such criticism Islamophobic.

Florian Philippot, an adviser to the far-right leader of the National Front party, Marine Le Pen, said the pool day smacked of “dyed-in-the-wool communalism”.

“This sort of event should be banned,” Philippot said, warning of a “risk of public disorder”.

Senator Michel Amiel, mayor of the northern suburb of the city, Les Pennes Mirabeau, where Speedwater park is located, also said he is seeking a ban.

Valerie Boyer, of the right-wing Republicans party, said: “These practices represent an attack against our values. They have no place in our country.”

In response to criticism of the event, French socialist senator Samia Ghali, who is of Algerian descent, commented on Twitter that the matter was “an unnecessary controversy that feeds into the confusion over the real challenges of our battle. 

“Intolerance should not change camps,” she added.

Another politician, Patrick Mennucci, said: “Swimming while covered-is it against the law? No. Privatizing a place is authorised. This is anti-Muslim controversy.”

On the Facebook page for the event, the organizers ask women who plan to attend to not wear bikinis, and to cover the area between their chests and knees at the minimum.

There will be a male lifeguard on duty, the organisers said. Other males above the age of 10 will not be allowed to attend.

 

Brexit board member resigns over Islamophobic tweets

A board member of the Leave campaign resigned Monday over a series of anti-

Muslim tweets, just two days before a referendum decides whether the U.K.

should stay in the EU, according to British media reports.

The Guardian noted that Arabella Arkwright, who is also a businesswoman,

reposted on her Twitter feed an image of a white woman surrounded by black-

colored burqas along with the caption: “Britain 2050: Why didn’t you stop them

Granddad?”

She also reposted another message saying: “Yazidi women fleeing Isis [Daesh]”

with a “Stop Islam” logo, according to the paper.

Arkwright reportedly deleted her Twitter account after she got negative

reactions to her posts.

Vote Leave campaign in a statement to the paper said that Arabella’s tweets did

not reflect the views of the group.

“As soon as we were made aware of these tweets we asked Arabella to hand in

her resignation, which she has done with immediate effect. These tweets do not

reflect the views of the Vote Leave campaign,” it said.

Also, Arkwright defended her position in a statement to the paper.

“I would like to make it absolutely clear that my RTs [re-tweets] and forwarding

do not mean that I endorse in any way the content of them,” she said.

Leave campaigners have repeatedly used xenophobic and Islamophobic content

to instill fear among voters that such a move would supposedly invite millions of

migrants into the bloc, especially to the U.K.

On Monday, Sayeeda Warsi, a senior Muslim politician in Britain’s governing

Conservative Party, also abandoned her support for Brexit.

The former Foreign Office minister had accused the Leave campaign of telling

“complete lies” about Turkey’s EU membership and announced she now

supported a vote for Britain to remain in the European Union.

Medway councillor Mike Franklin sparks investigation over ‘offensive’ tweets about Islam

Comments by a Conservative councillor on social media are being investigated after being described by his opponents as “extremely offensive”.

Several other messages, some of which have since been removed from his account, promoted anti-Islamic views, which opposition councillors said were inappropriate, particularly from someone representing a socially and ethnically diverse ward.

The Luton and Wayfield councillor took to Twitter a few months before his election in May last year and has since drawn attention for a number of tweets – prompting the online blog The Political Medway to publish a collection of them in January under the title The Troubling Tweets of Conservative Councillor Michael Franklin.

Speaking this week, Cllr Franklin admitted some of the tweets had gone too far.

“I may be what you call a veteran councillor, and I’m naive to Twitter,” he said. “A couple of judgements weren’t perhaps right. I don’t even remember more than one about Justin Trudeau.

“I’ve said nothing that implies that I hate anybody or that I’m racist,” he said. “It’s a political argument used to attack me.”

One of his retweets showed a photo of Muslim political activist Anjem Choudary, captioned with: “Westerners need to accept the fact that Islam will dominate all lands it touches! The holy Koran teaches us that where we put our feet we shall rule that land, it’s that simple.” Cllr Franklin retweeted that with his own comment: “Anyone still have doubts?”

Labour councillor Tristan Osborne, who also represents the ward, said he was unsure what Cllr Franklin meant by his exclusion and that residents and groups were entitled to communicate with whoever they wanted.

“The fact is his tweets were inappropriate,” he added. “He’s someone who has been in politics for many years – he was on Rochester council for many years – and he should have a common-sense view about what is appropriate.”

Paris Attacks: Muslims Use #MuslimsAreNotTerrorist Twitter Hashtag To Counter Prejudice

Muslims around the world are making a passionate stand against anti-Islam prejudice in the wake of the devastating terrorist attacks in Paris. At least 127 people have been killed in a bombing and shooting spree in the French capital which Islamic State have claimed responsibility for.

Many people pounced on the opportunity to condemn all Muslims for the acts of violence and denounce the religion as evil. Soon the hashtag #MuslimsAreNotTerrorist began to trend as Muslims sought to counter the poisonous sentiment.

Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the attacks but the brand of Islam they preach is a far cry from that practised by the huge majority of the world’s 1.57 billion Muslims.

Virginia teen admits he was secret voice behind a pro-ISIS Twitter account

Amin, 17, pleaded guilty in federal court as an adult to conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. His friend, according to court records, is now believed to be a member of the Islamic State in Syria. In a call to his mother not long after he left the United States, Niknejad said that he would “fight against these people who oppress the Muslims” and that he would see her in the afterlife, the FBI alleged.
Amin’s and Niknejad’s cases are, in ways, emblematic of the phenomenon, and, in other ways, unique. Both were born abroad — Amin, according to his attorney, in Sudan, and Niknejad, according to court records, in Iran — but both were naturalized citizens who came to the United States early in their youth. Both, for a time, were students at Prince William County’s Osbourn Park High School, though Amin withdrew in February and Niknejad graduated last June.

France asks US Internet giants to “help fight terror”

The French government has requested that Google, Facebook and Twitter cooperate with French officials during investigations and asked that they immediately take down any extremist propaganda that is discovered, said minister of the interior Bernard Cazeneuve.

“We emphasized that when an investigation is under way we don’t want to go through the usual government to government channels, which can take so long,” said the interior minister after a meeting with representatives from the US tech giants while visiting Silicon Valley.
“It’s important to have full cooperation and quick reaction,” he added

Cazeneuve’s comments came after the deadly Charlie Hebdo attacks which claimed 20 lives, including the three gunmen. Twitter and Facebook officials stated that they work to prevent radical propaganda but didn’t comment as to whether they would heed the minister’s request.

“We regularly host ministers and other governmental officials from across the world at Facebook, and were happy to welcome Mr. Cazeneuve today,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We work aggressively to ensure that we do not have terrorists or terror groups using the site, and we also remove any content that praises or supports terrorism.”

When asked whether Twitter would comply with French investigators, a spokesperson stated: “We review all reported content against our rules, which prohibit direct, specific threats of violence against others.”

An email to Google requesting comment was not immediately answered. According to US intelligence officials the number of foreign fighters leaving to join ISIL has grown, with at least 3,400 coming from Western nations out of the 20,000 from around the world.
“I told them we can figure this out together, we can come up with counterterrorism speech and block these sites that are enticing the most vulnerable members of our society to commit terrorist acts,” said Cazeneuve.

France is also pushing to treat “jihadi material” on the internet like child pornography, a task that few had heard of before the attacks in Paris, but is now widely acknowledged by Europe’s top officials. Cazeneuve believed the meeting was a solid foundation for building a strong relationship between the tech companies and the French government.

He said he invited them to go to Paris in April to continue the conversation.