World Bulletin/News Desk
France debates "free speech" after a TV commentator was sacked for suggesting all 5 million of the country's Muslims should be deported "to prevent civil war."
The comments by Eric Zemmour, who has previously been convicted of inciting racial hatred, prompted outrage and led to him being dropped from an 11-year stint on a chat show.
Zemmour was dismissed by the 24-hour news channel i-Tele after telling an Italian journalist that France's estimated five million Muslims should be "deported" to avoid "chaos and civil war".
The channel's decision was approved by anti-racist groups and some left-wing politicians. It was lambasted by senior figures on the right of French politics, who adore Zemmour, but also by some on the left, who detest him, on the basis of his right to free speech, the times of India reported.
Asked whether he would suggest deporting 5 million French Muslims, the controversial French journalist replied: “I know it’s unrealistic, but history is surprising.
“Who would have said that in 1940 almost a million Pieds-Noirs [literally meaning Black-foot, a term referring to people of French and other European ancestry who live in French North Africa], twenty years later would leave Algeria in order to return to France?”
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve issued a statement Tuesday in order to “condemn with the utmost firmness the words of Éric Zemmour.”
“The French nation is defined by living together, and France’s Muslims, like Christians, Jews, believers and unbelievers, are all its children,” he added.
Even internet users were quick to denounce Eric Zemmour comments under the hashtag #ZemmourDeporteMoi.
The French black organisations’ umbrella group, Cran, has been joined by the Jewish students’ union and several other anti-racist groups in filing complaints against Zemmour for incitement to racial hatred.
On top of the legal action, a group of NGOs and celebrities have written an open letter to the country’s media watchdog, the CSA, calling on it to stop him broadcasting his “overtly racist and anti-egalitarian ideology”.
His book Le Suicide Francais has sold 250,000 copies in the past three months. It claims that France's core identity has been destroyed by immigration, feminism, homosexuality, Europe, free trade and excessive, unnecessary guilt about the persecution of Jews in the Second World War.
Zemmour also said during another televised interview that Algeria does not exist, adding that Morocco’s neighbor to the east is nothing but a French invention that has always been a colonial land.
France's population of 5 million Muslims is the largest of any country in Europe, and France also has the largest Jewish diaspora on the continent.
Zemmour's parents were Jewish Berbers who emigrated from Algeria in the 1950s.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Aralık 2014, 13:51