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French committee opposes the term Islamophobia

The French government’s Interministerial Committee for the Prevention of Crime and Radicalisation has released a statement through a series of posts on Twitter expressing opposition to the term ‘Islamophobia’.

The statement argues that the term ‘Islamophobia’ is inappropriate on the grounds that it conflates bigotry with legitimate criticism of religion.

In a tweet, the committee also states that ‘the term ‘islamophobia’ was imposed by the Islamists with the aim of prohibiting any form of criticism of radical Islam’. Furthermore, it argues that the term is used to introduce a ‘crime of blasphemy’, suggesting that the term ‘puts a target on those who exercise their fundamental right’ to free expression.

According to Le Figaro, who first covered the story, the committee was formed in 2006 and, since 2016, has also been tasked with countering radicalisation in France. Although it is not clear whether the statements released over Twitter directly equate to official French government policy, Le Figaro notes that as early as 2013 French President Emmanuel Macron had expressed the view that, ‘Islamophobia is the Trojan horse of the Islamists’.

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