French Muslims Urged To Fix Image
- French Muslims Urged To Correct Their Image
By Hadi Yahmed, IOL Paris Correspondent
PARIS, March 29 (IslamOnline.net) - French Muslim media experts
considered the image of Islam in the French media to be teeming
with 'deceit and distortion', highlighting the need (for French
Muslims) to join the media field more actively to correct their image
This came during a symposium organized Saturday, March 27,
by "Multiple France Coalition" in the French capital Paris, with the
participation of a number of Muslim researchers and media people in
"The recent dialogue on Islam in France has shown several important
premises; the first of which is that the French mass media always
deals with Islam as a religion of the past that has no present or
future," Sori Kaba, editor in chief of Umma.com, a prominent
Francophone website for French Muslims, said.
Belonging to the past is a common feature among all western religions
and philosophies, Kaba added, giving examples for the wrong handling
of the Islamic issues by the French media, like
demonstrating "fanatic trends" as the only representative of Islam,
while ignoring other more open ones.
"French mass media uses the term [Islamists] as an accusation in
itself, though such term is being used in the Arab and Islamic world
to refer to people and parties represented in the parliaments of
their respective countries," he said.
He reiterated that the western history is not void of persecution,
referring to what the Protestant Christians faced during the sixth
"Several mass media present a false and unrealistic image of Islam,
quoting a report prepared by France Channel Two on a Paris
neighborhood, showing it as an Afghan district in the capital, though
the reality is surprisingly different," Ahmed Hafeizy, presenter of
France Channel Two 'Knowing Islam' program, said.
Abu Bakr Malek, an editor in 'safirnat.info' website, affiliated to
the Muslim community in France, said that falsehoods attributed to
Islam in the French media simply stem from ignorance.
"Several French experts, who introduce themselves to mass media as
specialists in Islamic issues, have not read Qur'an and do not know
the difference between Qur'anic verses and Prophetic sayings," he
On means of correcting falsehoods attributed to Islam in the French
media, Kaba said, "Muslims of France should deliver their own image
themselves, instead of only being the subject of such imaging. They
should be active to generate their own image."
"We try to undertake such mission through Umma.com website, calling
upon Muslims of France to join the media field rather than being a
subject of an imaging fabricated by others," he added.
Hafeizy agreed with Kaba that it is imperative that Muslims and Arabs
draw their own image. He reiterated that Muslims are required to
review the image drawn by the Islamic world about others.
The number of Muslims in France exceeds six millions, representing
10% of the population and possessing 1.8 million votes. Muslims in
France come from 53 countries and speak 21 languages. Algerians
represent a great majority of Muslims in France.
Some studies and estimates point out that the number of Muslims in
France will be more than threefold by 2020. Their numbers will reach
20 millions due to the high fertility rate, the high birth rate,
continuous immigration into France and adoption by large numbers of
French people of Islam, as Muslims of French origin amount to
The French Malaise
By Israel Shamir
Tarascon is as French as they come. A charming and tiny Provençal
village outside the high crenellated walls of an old chateau on the
high bank of Rhone lies in a pleasant country full of sunlight,
thistle, rough wine and Mistral poetry. But for the river, it is very
similar to my arid Palestine; and indeed, an ingenious and liberated
Palestinian girl Nicolette was wooed here by the heir to Beaucaire
castle, young Aucassin, in a 13th-century fable. Tarascon's church
(bombed in 1940's by the ubiquitous US Air Force) is old enough to
remember their oaths. But Tarascon's chief claim to posterity is due
to a novel by the bard of the South, Alphonse Daudet. There is a
monument to its main character, Tartarin, an epitome of a Southern
peasant, a jovial, earthly but boastful type who is getting carried
away by his imagination and invariably gets cold feet.
In a less-well-known sequel, Tartarin is told that the Alps are
perfectly safe, and ravines, avalanches and steep rocks are but means
for the local guides to squeeze hefty tips from naïve alpinists.
Armed with this knowledge Tartarin commits great feats of courage,
crosses abyss by walking a rope, climbs unvanquished heights and
shocks his guides by his foolhardy bravery; until Until he learns
that the dangers of the Alps are perfectly real. From that moment he
is unable to walk even a broad path for fear for his life, and the
great hero of yesterday has to be taken down by four strong men.
This mishap of Tartarin reminded me the present U-turn of French
politics. Just a year ago, France courageously objected to the US
plans of aggression in Iraq. Jacques Chirac forged the coalition of
the brave, allying with Germany, Russia and China against the
neocons' drive to submit the Middle East to Sharon's mercy. But since
then, the US tanks reached Baghdad, and the neocons declared France
their enemy No.1, on a par with North Korea and Iran. Tartarin of
Tarascon had had second thoughts for he paid heed to the Alpine abyss
in front of him.
This U-turn is most visible in relation to Israel and to Jews. Just a
year ago, the feeling of French independence was so strong that a
French ambassador dared to wonder why `a small shitty country' causes
so much mischief on global scale. Now, the president of the small
shitty country entered Paris amidst the triumphal brouhaha normally
reserved for victorious emperors; and the butcher of Qibye, Sabra and
Chatila is about to visit the subdued France this summer.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz mused: "If you are planning to visit
Paris next week, maybe you should reconsider. Because of the "rising
tide of anti-Semitism"? On the contrary. Because of the "I love
Israel" parade. President Moshe Katsav will be arriving in Paris for
a state visit and his counterpart, Jacques Chirac, intends to greet
him with a big bear hug and even halt all the traffic in the busy
downtown area. In the 16th century, the Protestant King Henri IV
declared that "Paris is well worth a Mass" (i.e., conversion to
Catholicism). The sovereign sitting in the capital today believes
that warmer relations with Israel are well worth giving irritable
Parisian drivers a nervous breakdown."
The best and biggest congress venue of Paris, Palais des Congres, was
allocated to the annual concert of ABSI, Association for Israeli
Soldier's Welfare (it was shifted at last moment to the Expo Park at
Versailles). The brave communists of PCN-NCP wrote in their
ringing Gallic prose: `It appears that we have to attend to welfare
of these sweet guys who planted 200 000 anti-personnel mines in South
Lebanon, of the henchmen of the check-points, the destructors of
Jénine and Palestine, of back-up troops of the death squads, the
pilots who bomb the Palestinian refugee camps, of soldiers shooting
at children armed with stones'.
The PCN-NCP do not beat around the bush and do not attribute this
development to doubtful Israeli charms. For them, "the Zionist lobby
are the advance force of Yankee collaborationists who carry out their
old worn-down blackmail of `antisemitism'," this equivalent of anti-
Sovietism in the Pax Americana. But the real problem is
not `antisemitism' but Judeophobia, fear of Jews, not-too-irrational
fear of their power. Many people in France and elsewhere believe in
their heart of hearts that it is the Jewish power that brought
American tanks to Baghdad, and can bring them to Paris, if necessary.
True or not, the idea has its own power. And while the brave French
people of the PCN-NCP reject what they call `Kollaboration with the
American-Zionist imperialism', less brave trod the submissive path of
Vichy. France is not conquered yet, but Tartarin already warms his
The Jewish lobby hates every reference to Christ and objects to the
epochal film Passion of Christ by Mel Gibson; and in all Catholic
France, once the beloved daughter of the Church, not a single
established distributor dared to screen this film. This suicidal task
was taken by a Christ-loving Muslim immigrant from Maghreb, thus
stressing that Christ is the unique figure uniting Arab Muslims,
French Catholics and Russian Orthodox in one anti-Mammonite front.
Indeed, the Muslim immigrants restored to France some of its
indomitable spirit that was lost with many young lives at Verdun.
The Zionist lobby objected to the wild humour of Dieudonne and this
extremely popular stand up comedian found the halls of the country
locked in front of his face. The Zionist lobby objected to my book
L'Autre Visage d'Israel published by Balland, and its manager Denis
Bourgeois, this rightful heir to Tartarin, ordered to burn the book.
Now, on 15 of March, 2004, in Marseille, the CRIF, the shock troops
of American-Israeli collaborators in France, take to court the
internet publisher of La Maison d'Orient, Pierre-Alexandre Orsoni and
the translator Marcel Charbonnier, dour friends of Palestine and my
friends, for `provocation of racial hatred' for they translated and
published in the Web my essay Midas Ears (read it in English , in
French , in Spanish ).
In the essay, I attributed the Iraqi War to the concerted drive of
the organised American Jewry. "Oh no, it is OIL", wrote some
readers, "it is WMD", surmised others. A year passed by, Iraq is
conquered, but there is no oil coming out of there, as I predicted;
but oil and food is coming at good price to the bleeding American
troops in Iraq from Israel. There was no WMD in the Middle East, but
in Israel, the only beneficiary of the Iraqi War.
King Midas also did put his barber on trial for disclosing the
terrible secret of king's donkey ears; but too late, the secret was
out. Likewise, the secret of Polichinelle of Jewish influence in the
US was out thanks to their push for war.
The CRIF had an additional reason to attack Midas Ears. In the essay,
I quoted a French Jewish historian Simcha Epstein, who discovered
that French Jewish organisations secretly bought and subverted French
media for many years. This historical fact was too close to the dark
heart of CRIF's influence. Instead of arguing with it, or asking
Simcha Epstein, a leading Jewish historian with the Centre of
Antisemitism Studies in Israel, to enlighten them, they tried to
silence it. Two newspapers Le Monde and Libération (a.k.a. L'Immonde
and L'Aberration) apparently felt concerned and simultaneously
attacked Orsoni, Marcel Charbonnier and me. None dared to deal with
the accusation of Epstein. Indeed, Le Monde had met the Israeli
President with a front page heading Zionist and Proud of It.
The trumped-up charges of `racial hatred' should not mislead. It is
our Zionist enemies who daily incite racial hatred, Alain
Finkielkraut ("What's good for the Jews is good for France") to
Arabs, Andre Glucksman to Russians, Daniel Goldhagen ("Hitler's
Willing Executioners") to Germans. In 1972, Bernard-Henri Levy
applauded summary executions of French lovers of German officers in
the most racist terms. But de Gaulle did not `incite racial
hatred' when he called for Resistance to the German invader. Joan of
Arc did not `incite racial hatred' when she fought for France against
the English overlord.
Our friends, noble Pierre-Alexander Orsoni and valiant Marcel
Charbonnier, belong to the same sort of French as Charles de Gaulle;
they fight for Free France against the encroaching shadow of Judeo-
American imperialism and its Fifth column in France. Friends of
Palestine, they know of the Cross of Lorraine presented by de Gaulle
to Arafat; the embattled Palestinian president still wears it on his
heart as a sign of love to Christ and to His French and Palestinian
warriors. It will surely bring victory to the fearless and deserving.
The judges in Marseille should be fearless, too. For a judge, as
opposed to a peasant of Tarascon, cowardice is a sin; it is the
unforgivable sin of Pilate. They should not listen to the claque of
CRIF calling to crucify these men. After all, France is not occupied
yet, though you would never guess it by the impudence of the Fifth
Column. The writ of New York and Tel Aviv does not reach Marseille
yet. Though Alps are real, Tartarin can still walk this path.
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