Le Figaro deputy editor Yves Threard is facing criticism over his remarks on the chat show Le Grand Soir on LCI TV on Monday night, during which he said he “hates” Islam, and said that Islamophobia “does not exist.”
“I hate the Muslim religion,” Threard said, commenting on the debate around the banning of the Islamic veil in public spaces.
The LCI debate came following by opposition National Rally party politician Julien Odoul’s suggestion late last week that the regional council assembly of Bourgogne-Franche-Comte should have forced a Muslim woman accompanying her son at a school event to remove her hijab on a recent trip to the local parliament. Odoul made his comments in the wake of the shocking killing of four Paris police officers by a radicalised colleague on October 10.
Bourgogne-Franche-Comte regional council president Marie Guite Dufay accused the National Rally of a “surge of hatred” that was “unworthy of elected officials of the republic.”
However, Threard offered support for the sentiment expressed by Odoul, saying he was also opposed to seeing the hijab in public spaces. According to the journalist, he once demonstrably got off a bus after seeing a woman in a full hijab onboard. Islamophobia “does not exist,” according to Threard, because French citizens “have the right to hate a religion,” and have “the right to say so.”
Threard’s sentiment was criticised by some, including journalist Samuel Gontier, who mockingly “thanked” the Le Figaro journalist on Twitter, writing that “from now on, I will wear a veil to take the bus to avoid any meeting with Yves Threard.”
Yves Thréard, du Figaro : “Il m’est arrivé de prendre un bus où il y avait quelqu’un avec un voile, et je suis descendu.”— Samuel Gontier (@SamGontier) October 14, 2019
Merci pour l’idée. Désormais, je porterai un voile pour prendre le bus afin de m’éviter toute rencontre avec Yves Thréard. pic.twitter.com/DB51tsS8yN
The comments section underneath Gontier’s tweet soon broke out into a debate, with some users accusing Threard of “racism,” or suggesting that he would soon be fired from his job, while others argued that he was right, and that France was a secular society.