Prominent French Muslim and Talkshow Host must go into hiding

In France, a fuss has arisen after a series of incidents around Muslims. Mosques have been scrapped and set on fire, and Nadiya Lazzouni, a popular talkshow host among Muslims, is threatened.

The Islamic umbrella organisation CFCM has condemned the violence. The French Episcopal Conference expressed its solidarity with Muslims and Minister for the Interior Gérald Darmanin publicly expressed his dislike.

Nadiya Lazzouni filed an indictment of death threats this week. She is a lawyer and journalist and has her own program on YouTube that is widely watched by young Muslims. A week ago, she got a letter delivered to her home. Shut up and get out, wrote the anonymous sender. Take your big mouth to North Africa.

hiding

Shes scared because the letter was delivered to her private address. They know where I live. That is quite different from a threat on social media. Lazzouni is in hiding. I live with friends now. And when I walk on the street, I often pull a hood over my face. I notice that I keep looking around to see if no one comes at me, she says.

In the letter, French Muslims were also threatened in general. We are going to visit non-French neighbourhoods and some of them will scream for their mother before they get a neck shot, says the sender.

Six months ago, DeccEit made a report about her work and her talk show.

Nadiya Lazzouni was called almost immediately after receiving the threatening letter and reported it on Twitter by an employee of President Macron. I was asked what I needed. I said Id like to move temporarily and want police protection. But I havent heard anything after that. No officer has come to see me to pick up the letter, for example, to look for traces or fingerprints.

The European journalist organisation EFJ Europa raised the matter with the Council of Europe.

Law against Muslim extremism

In recent days, other Muslims have also been targets of various actions in France. In Rennes, anti-Muslim slogans were discovered on Sunday on the wall of an Islamic centre. In Nantes, the entrance door to a mosque was set on fire two days before. In Le Mans, police picked up a 24-year-old man who had said he wanted to attack a mosque in the city on social media. Guns and ammunition were found at his house.

In the French press, there has been a link between anti-Islamic actions and the start of Ramadan. But Nadiya Lazzounis lawyer sees that differently. Parliament is currently debating a law against Muslim extremism. This has led to a whole series of Islamophobic actions, says Arié Alimi.

In the French First Chamber, the right opposition adopted several amendments to that law. For example, underage girls are no longer allowed to wear headscarf in public areas. Mothers with a headscarf are not allowed to go on a school trip.

Those amendments will probably be voted out in the House of Representatives. The government has already spoken out against it. But with its proposals the House has hardened the climate of Islam, suspects lawyer Alimi.

Thats what Nadiya Lazzouni thinks himself. I always plead for tolerance in my talk show. My tone is always conciliatory. But so you can see: when politicians create divisions, even Muslims like me are perceived as a threat.