French Teen Who Criticised Islam Receives 30 Hate Messages a Minute

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The French teenager who received death threats after criticising Islam online and was briefly the subject of a hate crime investigation receives 30 hate messages a minute.

Mila, then aged 16, came to media attention in February 2020 when she was subject to a “hate provocation” investigation after making comments critical of Islam, at one point saying to a social media user: “I hate religion. The Quran is… full of hate. There is only hate in it. Islam is a shit religion. That’s what I think.”

The local public prosecutor dropped the case against the young woman, proceeding to investigate the barrage of death threats being levelled against her.

The Times revealed on Tuesday that nearly one year later, Mila is still receiving 30 hate messages a minute, according to the teen’s lawyer. Still under police protection, in hiding, and being home-schooled, Mila has received more attention on the internet than any other teenager in France, surpassing even the 2018 World Cup for the number of posts, according to a charity, E-Enfance, that supports child victims of online hate.

Richard Malka, her lawyer, said that so far police have identified 50 people suspected of sending harassing messages or death threats to Mila. One 23-year-old was imprisoned for three years after being convicted for posting a video in which he gestured at slitting the girl’s throat.

Mila, who earlier reports state is a lesbian, said last year that despite the death threats which forced her to go into hiding, she does not regret making her anti-Islam comments.

“I did nothing wrong,” she had said, adding: “I absolutely do not regret my words.”

The report comes in a period when the French leadership is grappling with political Islam and defending the secular values of the Republic. The latest struggle started ahead of the trial of the conspirators of the 2015 Islamist terror attack against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo because it had published cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed.

In September, Charlie Hebdo defiantly republished the cartoons that inspired Islamists to murder and wound their colleagues, a move which allegedly sparked a revenge attack on the magazine’s former office by a Pakistani migrant weeks later. The 18-year-old, who authorities had said arrived in France illegally as an ‘unaccompanied minor’ three years prior, had attacked two people who had left the building that formerly housed the magazine’s office, badly injuring both other them. Following the 2015 attack, the Charlie Hebdo office had moved to an undisclosed location — a fact the attacker did not know.

On October 16th, a radical Islamist Chechen refugee, 18-year-old Aboulakh Anzorov, beheaded high school teacher Samuel Paty because he had shown the Hebdo Mohammed cartoons to a class during a lesson on freedom of expression.

The terrorist murder sparked concern in France over the Republic’s long-maintained state secularism and freedoms from blasphemy laws. President Emmanuel Macron went on the offensive against political Islam, vowing to shut Islamist organisations and other bodies that did not subscribe to French democratic values and rout out “separatism” from the Republic.

Mila was also forced to leave school, citing threats from her own classmates: “Considering the threats I received from people in my high school, I could have been burned with acid, hit. I was threatened with being stripped naked in public, of being buried alive. I had to drop out of high school.”

The Charlie Hebdo and Samuel Paty incidents also exposed growing Islamist extremism in France’s schools, including children as young as 12 praising the death of the teacher. One teacher in a Paris suburb said that one-third of her class does not believe in freedom of speech and thinks it is “not normal” to criticise Islam. There were also several reports that threats against teachers had increased, some explicitly referencing the murder of Mr Paty.

Following the murder, reports claimed that Anzorov had paid pupils at Paty’s school to identify the teacher before the attack. By the end of November, several pupils at the school had been charged over the killing, including three for complicity for murder, for pointing out Mr Paty to the terrorist refugee.

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