Freedom of Expression

Georges Bensoussan faces prosecution for anti-Muslim hate speech

The French historian has been targeted by the Collective Against Islamophobia in France for incitement to racial hatred. Here you can read a full account of the statements about antisemitism in Muslim communities which prompted this action.  It would be useful to have some more context for the first quote flagged as hateful:

“Today, we are witnessing a different people in the midst of the French nation, who are effecting a return on a certain number of democratic values to which we adhere”

The other offending passage was a criticism of ‘ancestral antisemitism’.

“This visceral anti-Semitism proven by the Fondapol survey by Dominique Reynié last year cannot remain under a cover of silence.”

“Besides, with the animosity toward the French nation, there will be no integration as long as we will not be rid of this ancestral anti-Semitism that is kept secret (…) as an Algerian sociologist, Smain Laacher, very bravely said in a film that will be aired on France 3, ‘it’s disgraceful to keep in place this taboo, knowing that in Arab families in France and beyond everybody knows but will not say that anti-Semitism is transmitted with mother’s milk,”

Although strongly worded it didn’t seem miles apart from, say, parts of Mehdi Hasan’s piece on the same topic:

It pains me to have to admit this but anti-Semitism isn’t just tolerated in some sections of the British Muslim community; it’s routine and commonplace. Any Muslims reading this article – if they are honest with themselves – will know instantly what I am referring to. It’s our dirty little secret. You could call it the banality of Muslim anti-Semitism.

Far more offensive things are routinely published in British tabloids. If people want to argue that his rhetoric or his facts are problematic – that’s fine – but there seems nothing here which justifies an attempted legal sanction.

Hat Tip: Fritz