Israel-Hamas war: ‘Rise in anti-Muslim racism in France’ – Times of India


In France, there has been a notable increase in anti-Muslim racism, which has been largely unchecked since the Hamas attack on October 7. This surge in racism has been particularly evident in the aftermath of a Moldovan couple being caught spray-painting stars of David in Paris’s 10th arrondissement on October 27.
Despite the couple’s arrest and the prosecutor’s statement linking these and other similar antisemitic acts to a foreign sponsor, Muslims in France continue to face scapegoating, especially from far-right groups, a Middle East Eye report said.
The ministry of the interior in France reported a threefold increase in antisemitic acts and statements since the Hamas attack, totaling 1,518 incidents. Jordan Bardella, president of the National Rally, without providing evidence, attributed this rise in antisemitism to the alleged growth of “political Islam” in various neighborhoods.

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Amidst the escalating tensions in France during the deadly phase of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with significant casualties on both sides, the Muslim community is concerned about the misuse of violence in the Middle East to fuel hatred against them. Abdallah Zekri, a leader in the French Council of Muslim Worship (CFCM) and president of the Observatory against Islamophobia (OCI), criticized the exploitation of Middle Eastern violence to incite hatred against Muslims.
The CFCM refused to participate in an anti-antisemitism march, criticizing it for not addressing the rise in Islamophobic acts in France. Zekri highlighted the direct threats faced by many mosques and Muslims, including hate speech on news channels and social media.

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Notable figures like Pascal Perri and Arno Klarsfeld have made controversial statements linking antisemitism to the Muslim population, with Klarsfeld’s comments currently under complaint for inciting racial hatred. The Grand Mosque of Paris’s rector, Chems-Eddine Hafiz, expressed concern over the increasing stigmatizing and hateful discourse against Muslims in France, the Middle East Eye report said.
Islamophobic acts have also been reported, such as attacks on a Franco-Turkish cultural association and a septuagenarian heading to a mosque. Sabrina Sebaihi, a member of parliament, highlighted the growing Islamophobia and the silence of political leaders on this issue.
Interior minister Gérald Darmanin has opened investigations into these incidents and reassured French Muslims of state protection, although he noted that the scale of anti-Muslim acts is not as extensive as antisemitism. Vincent Geisser, a researcher, pointed out that linking antisemitism with Islam contributes to the stigmatization of Muslims and serves far-right agendas.

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