A Muslim journalist, Nadiya Lazzouni, has contacted President Emmanuel Macron’s administration and requested protection having recently received death threats, she has told the BFM TV channel.
She said a presidential security adviser had assured her that the authorities were treating the situation “very seriously” and that an investigation had “been launched to assess the degree of the threat”.
To reinforce her claims, she posted a photo on social media of a handwritten letter she said had been sent to her, which called the addressee an “Islamist whore” and mentioned putting “a bullet in [her] neck”.
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The journalist, who said she was “upset and frightened”, asked Macron, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and Citizenship Minister Marlene Schiappa to act against the hate campaign, describing it as a “real witch hunt, first against the Islamists, and then against [all] Muslims”. She also took aim at the media, insisting it is “a complacent conduit” of political rhetoric and “discriminatory laws” that do not favour the Muslim community.
"Through my work and my public speaking, I have always advocated inclusion, peace and hope," the journalist stressed, assuming that these threats are probably linked to the preset media-political environment.
As Lazzouni tagged the top officials in her Instagram post, Schiappa, an outspoken feminist, instantly weighed in, saying no political debate could justify the “sexist and racist” threats, and advised the woman to turn to the authorities with an official complaint.
Lazzouni: No Public Backlash Against Islamophobic Sentiment
The journalist first came under the spotlight three years ago, when she argued against a proposal to ban Muslim head coverings and vehemently spoke out against Islamophobia. She lamented in comments to Al Jazeera in 2019 that there was no “no social backlash” to Islamophobic views in France, and accused the government of promoting a message that French Muslims are “a disguised enemy within the country”.
Overhaul of Extremism Legislation
Yet the European country has been severely hit by a string of Islamist attacks in recent years, prompting the government to update its legislation to prevent its largely secular principles from being undermined. In particular, the authorities introduced a bill that entitled law enforcement to crack down on groups and individuals suspected of extremist behaviour.
The bill landed Macron in the crosshairs of Muslim critics in France and beyond, with the debate having a new twist the other day as the parliament introduced an amendment that would ban minors from wearing Muslim coverings in public.