Paris (AFP) – Right-wing French leaders have condemned as “sacrilege” a decision to allow a provocative Muslim rapper to play the Bataclan concert hall in Paris where jihadists massacred 90 people three years ago.
Medine — who caused an outcry when he attacked hardline secularists in a controversial 2015 song, “Don’t Laik”, a week before the Charlie Hebdo killings — is to play the Bataclan for two nights in October.
French opposition leader Laurent Wauquiez said he was shocked that “someone who sings about ‘crucifying securalists’ and calls himself ‘Islamo-scum’” should appear at the venue “less than three years after Islamist barbarism cost the lives of 90 of our compatriots.
“It is sacrilege and dishonours France,” the leader of the Republicans party tweeted.
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen said that “no French person can accept that this guy spew out his rubbish at the Bataclan.
“We have had enough of complacency and worse, of this incitement to Islamist fundamentalism,” she added in a tweet.
An online petition organised by her National Front party calling for the concerts to be banned had over 15,000 signatures by Monday morning.
Neither the Bataclan’s co-director Jules Frutos nor the rapper responded to AFP requests for comment.
– Fatwa lyric –
But a former leader of one of the Bataclan’s victims’ groups, Emmanuel Domenach, sent stinging replies to both Wauquiez and Le Pen’s tweets: “It’s crazy as you use the victims of terrorism for your sterile controversy.
“What level of dishonour does that put you in?” he asked.
The bearded Medine, who comes from the northern port of Le Havre and is of Algerian descent, has denied that he was an Islamist.
But he became the bete noire of hardline secularists after 11 people were killed in the jihadist attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in January 2015 only a week after his “Don’t Laik” song was released, a play on the French word for secular.
In it he said, “Let’s crucify the secularists like at Calvary… put fatwas on the heads of these idiots.”
Medine said later that the song was to “secular fundamentalists what Charlie Hebdo cartoons were to religious fundamentalists.”
The rapper has also admitted that “he went too far” in the song.
“Provocation is only useful when it provokes a debate, not when it triggers an iron curtain,” he told an academic conference on rap, the music magazine Les Inrocks reported.
However, Aurore Berge, an MP from French President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling Republic on the Move party, said having him headline a concert at the Bataclan was an “insult” to the victims of the slaughter.
Bruno Retailleau, the leader of the opposition Republicans in the French Senate called on the government to prosecute the rapper in the same way a firebrand comedian Dieudonne was convicted of glorifying terrorism in 2015.