Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Mashujaa day: Kenyatta and Odinga call for peace before election rerun

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Kurdish referendum a ‘colossal mistake’, says son of late president Talabani

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

The new 30s club: NZ's Jacinda Ardern joins list of maverick leaders

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Raqqa, Kirkuk, Xi Jinping

Read more

REPORTERS

The Dictator's Games: A rare look inside Turkmenistan

Read more

#TECH 24

Teaching maths with holograms

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Is China exporting its pollution?

Read more

#THE 51%

Are female empowerment adverts actually good for the cause?

Read more

FOCUS

The mixed legacy of 'Abenomics' in Japan

Read more

France

French far-right press ‘incites hatred’ in attack on Muslim minister

© AFP | Archive photo of Najat Vallaud-Belkacem

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-09-03

A far-right magazine has sparked a firestorm of controversy by describing France's new education minister as a "Moroccan Muslim at the head of national education" and calling the appointment of the 36-year-old rising star a "provocation".

Moroccan-born Najat Vallaud-Belkacem is the first woman in French history to hold the office of education minister.

It is the latest step in a brilliant and so-far unstoppable career for the telegenic protégée of President François Hollande.

But far-right magazine Minute splashed a picture of her on the cover of its latest issue that hit newsstands on Wednesday with the caption: "A Moroccan Muslim heads the national education (ministry). The Najat Vallaud-Belkacem provocation."

It is not the first time the magazine has sparked outrage.

Earlier this year, it featured a cover picture of France's black Justice Minister Christiane Taubira and headlines which read: "Crafty as a monkey" and "Taubira gets her banana back."

In French, getting your banana back is roughly the equivalent of recovering the spring in your step.

Another far-right publication, “Valeurs Actuelles” (Modern Values) had the supposed front page of its Thursday edition leaked on Wednesday, including a picture of Vallaud-Belkacem above the words “The Ayatollah – an inquiry into the minister for re-education”.

‘Racism is not an opinion, but a crime’

The head of the ruling Socialist Party, Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, called for Minute magazine to be sued, calling it an “incitement to hatred”.

Meanwhile, the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism described the cover as "shameful" and said those "spreading hate" had to be stopped.

Vallaud-Belkacem herself, who already found herself targeted by the far-right when she was minister for womens' rights, spoke out Wednesday against “Minute”.

“I call for respect ... And I repeat in particular that racism is not an opinion, but a crime,” she told the Associated Press.

Vallaud-Belkacem was born in the Moroccan countryside but grew up in the suburbs of the northern city of Amiens before heading to Paris to study.

She holds dual French and Moroccan nationality and has described herself as a "pure product of the Republic," an example of "happy integration" in a country which is home to the largest Muslim population in Europe.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)

Date created : 2014-09-03

  • FRANCE - RACISM

    French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Mayor fined €3,000 for saying Hitler ‘didn’t kill enough’ Roma

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Jail time for ex-National Front candidate over 'monkey' jibe

    Read more

COMMENT(S)