This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of March, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date of publication: 15 March 2019
Media Outlet: LCI, French 24 hour online TV channel
Author: Guillaume Tabard
Headline: "New Zealand: the terrorist evokes thoughts of France"
Description of the anti-Muslim content: The TV show “24 Pujadas”, hosted on the 24 hour online TV channel LCI, is moderated by French journalist David Pujadas. In this particular episode Robert Ménard, the mayor of Béziers known for his racist, anti-migrant and anti-Muslim stance, was invited onto the show along with Guillaume Tabard, editor-in-chief of Le Figaro, filmmaker Romain Goupil and Yael Goosz, chief of political news at France Inter. The host along with his guests discussed the recent terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand. On the topic, Tabard said: "We had lived through deadly Islamist terrorism in France, so if we want to keep score, we are not yet even. Don’t even mention the possibility of a rematch”. The video has been viewed on Twitter over 570,000 times.
Myth debunked: Tabard’s comments on the terror attack in Christchurch are not only heartless but also suggest it is acceptable for Muslims to die at the hands of terrorists, as people in the West have also been victims of Islamic terrorism. With this statement, he is equating Islamic terrorists with all Muslims, seeming to imply that they are one and the same. This sentiment is often used to paint Islam and all its followers as violent and in need of restraint, theories which have been dispelled repeatedly. Islamic terrorists do not represent all of Islam, just as Christian terrorists do not represent all Christians. Tabard’s reference to “balance” is extremely disturbing, as it seems to suggest that more Muslims must die at the hand of terrorists before they are “even” with the West. Besides being insensitive, this claim ignores the fact that the majority of victims of terrorism in the world are Muslim, and that Muslims in France have also died in Islamic terrorist attacks.
The reach of this statement by Tabard is worrying. With over 570,000 views on Twitter, this narrative reached a lot of people. Moreover, Tabard is the editor-in-chief of one of France’s largest newspapers, and thus has a far reach and influence. For someone in such a high position to be involved in victim blaming normalizes the practice and sets a dangerous precedent for society.
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