A row erupted has over a planned performance by a controversial Muslim rapper at the Bataclan, where 90 people were killed during the November 2015 Paris attacks.
Laurent Wauquiez, leader of the conservative party, The Republicans, said the concert would be “a sacrilege for the victims and a dishonour for France.”
Two lawyers acting for relatives of those killed and injured in the Bataclan massacre said they would launch legal action to get Médine’s planned shows on October 19 and 20 cancelled on the grounds that they pose a threat to public order.
Right-wing MPs started an online petition titled “No to the rapper Médine”, which has garnered more than 9,000 signatures.
Médine, whose full name is Médine Zaouiche, is known for provocative lyrics about Islam and France’s secular tradition. One of his albums is called ‘Jihad’.
However, the 35-year-old rapper, born in the Channel port of Le Havre, has offered his condolences to the families of those killed in the Paris attacks. He says he is against violence and the jihad he is referring to is an individual, internal struggle.
Liberals see him is an artist who wants to shock people into thinking about difficult issues in new ways, but lyrics such as “I put fatwas on the head of jerks” and “crucify the secularists” have shocked and disgusted conservatives.
Jean-François Copé, the mayor of Meaux, near Paris, and a former head of The Republicans, said it was “intolerable and completely mad” to allow Médine to perform at the Bataclan. He demanded that President Emmanuel Macron ban the concert.
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Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-Right Front National, which has been renamed as Rassemblement National (National Rally), tweeted: “No French person can accept that this bloke goes and pours out his filth at the scene of the #Bataclan.”
Bruno Retailleau, a Republican senator, urged the government to employ “the same weapons against this rapper as those used against Dieudonné,” a comedian who has been convicted and fined for hate speech against Jews and condoning terrorism. Several of Dieudonné’s shows were banned under the former government of President François Hollande.
The row comes after survivors and families of victims of the Bataclan attack, which was claimed by Isil, filed a legal complaint on Friday over the failure of soldiers near the venue to intervene. They had been ordered not to enter the Bataclan. The case, which also seeks an explanation about why special forces were not deployed, could prove embarrassing for military commanders and political leaders in office at the time.