Accused of Islamism | The controversy surrounding Karim Benzéma continues in France

(Paris) The controversy surrounding Karim Benzema, former Blues striker and 2022 Ballon d’Or, continued on Friday, with the French Minister of the Interior being accused of having exploited the player by accusing him of Islamism for not not having expressed compassion towards the Israeli victims of Hamas.

Latest episode between the ex-Real Madrid star and the minister, Gérald Darmanin affirmed Thursday evening that he would withdraw his comments accusing Karim Benzema of being “in notorious links with the Muslim Brotherhood” if he “tweeted” to “also mourn” the assassination of the French teacher from Arras by a radicalized young person.

Mr. Darmanin criticized the former international (97 caps) for “tweeting selectively”.

A reference to the message on Sunday from the Franco-Algerian player addressing “all (his) prayers for the inhabitants of Gaza who are once again victims of these unjust bombings which spare neither women nor children”, without mention of the Israeli victims of Hamas.

“If Mr. Benzema wants to show his good faith, that he is capable […] to show in front of 20 million people who follow him (on X), that he also mourns the death of this professor, I will withdraw my remarks,” declared Mr. Darmanin.

The war triggered by the Hamas attack resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, mostly civilians on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides.

These comments stunned the First Secretary of the Socialist Party (opposition) Olivier Faure. “A Minister of the Interior can accuse publicly and without proof? Then justify yourself on the haphazard basis of tweets posted or not? We are leaving the rule of law to enter the era of suspicion,” he reacted on X.

“Facial tweet control”

“The Minister of the Interior, he has nothing to do other than read Benzema’s tweets? », added ecologist Sandrine Rousseau on Friday while Alexis Corbière (La France Insoumise, radical left) believed that Gérald Darmanin had invented “facies-based tweet control”.

To support his remarks, the Minister of the Interior relies, according to his entourage, on “a slow drift in Karim Benzema’s positions towards a hard, rigorous Islam, characteristic of the Brotherhood ideology”, with in particular “a proselytism on social networks around Muslim worship, such as fasting, prayer, pilgrimage to Mecca.

The 35-year-old defended himself via his lawyer.

“Praying on October 15 for civilian populations under bombs which spare neither women nor children obviously constitutes neither “propaganda for Hamas”, nor “complicity in terrorism, nor acts of collaboration”, maintained Mr.e Hugues Vigier.

Karim Benzema “never had the slightest relationship” with the Muslim Brotherhood, insisted the lawyer who intends to file a complaint against Mr. Darmanin and far-right and right-wing politicians who have become engulfed in the controversy like Eric Zemmour or Nadine Morano.

Considered a legend in Spain, “KB9” has never had the same popularity in France due to multiple controversies, including his involvement in blackmail. sex tape of his teammate in the selection Mathieu Valbuena. He has long been a target of the far right, questioning the patriotism of the international, born in Lyon to Algerian parents.

This accusation has regained strength since his departure last summer for Saudi Arabia, a country where the Muslim Brotherhood is classified as a terrorist organization, but also known for its rigorous practice of Islam – where the Frenchman said he appreciated live your faith “by being in the truth”.

While judging that “the indictment of Mr. Benzema, who no longer even lives in France, is a diversion”, the leader of the deputies of the National Rally (far right), Marine Le Pen, in turn criticized him Friday of having “clearly a complacency for the most radical Islamism”.

In September, the president of the RN Jordan Bardella qualified him as a “fellow traveler of Islamism” for having appeared in traditional Saudi dress, on that country’s national holiday, like other stars.

Another criticism frequently expressed is the fact of not singing There Marseillaisethe French national anthem, in selection.

The player defended himself by claiming that he had no obligation to do so and received the support of Michel Platini, emphasizing that the French team in the 1980s did not sing the national anthem without anyone ever telling them reproach.

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