A controversial French comedian is under investigation for condoning terrorism after comparing the murder of US journalist James Foley by Islamist militants to the beheadings of the French Revolution, saying they symbolise “progress".
Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala, who has been convicted a number of times for making anti-Semitic jokes, said that decapitation "symbolises, before anything, progress – access to civilisation" in a video that appeared on the Internet last month.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said police were starting a preliminary investigation into Dieudonné on the grounds that he had condoned terrorism with the remarks.
Foley was beheaded by militants of the Islamic State (IS) organisation last month after being kidnapped while covering the Syrian conflict and held for 20 months. The act caused outrage around the world.
In the video, titled "Foley That Was", Dieudonné noted that the 2011 killing of ex-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and that of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, who was hanged in 2006, never aroused the same indignation as Foley's death.
"The Rothschild Mafia says no, that's OK – but James Foley, that's too much," Dieudonné says, an apparent but unexplained reference to the prominent Jewish banking family.
The video also showed some footage of the killing.
"I think decapitation symbolises, before anything, progress – access to civilisation," he said. "In France, we decapitated people in front of the masses, on the public plazas."
Dieudonné, 46, has been repeatedly fined for hate speech in France where local authorities in several towns have banned his shows as a threat to public order.
Although he says he is not anti-Semitic, public authorities say he owes more than €65,000 in fines related to past convictions for making anti-Semitic comments.
He is also credited with inventing the "quenelle", a gesture that critics have likened to an inverted Nazi salute and say carries anti-Semitic overtones.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-09-05