'What? A prayer rug in my home? No, it's just that I'm a Fan of Aladdin': French Muslims hit back on social media after comments spark outrage
The proposed head of a new French government-backed Muslim organisation has sparked outrage after suggesting that Muslims should be "discreet" amid controversy after several towns banned the so-called "burkini" full-body swimming suit.
Jean-Pierre Chevenement is set to take over as head of the Foundation of French Islam later this year, despite not being a Muslim and describing himself as a "secular republican".
The foundation is being created as part of a package of proposed measures to better integrate France's Muslim population, but Chevenement's initial foray into community relations did not go well.
"The advice I give in these difficult times – like the imam of the Bordeaux mosque - is that of discretion," Chevenement told Le Parisien newspaper, referring to the burkini ban imposed by towns including the Riviera resort of Cannes.
“Muslims, like all French citizens, should be able to worship freely but they must also understand that in the public space where there is public interest, all citizens should make the effort to use ‘natural reason’.“
His comments immediately sparked a reaction among Twitter users under the hashtag #MusulmanDiscret.
— Audrey (@AudreyArnon) August 15, 2016
— Taha (@Tahaxiv) August 15, 2016
Translation: “Drink tea in this kind of glass”
— Man from Delmonte (@CheeseAndTuna) August 17, 2016
Ne dites pas je ne mange pas de porc mais qd j'étais petit j'avais un cochon de compagnie,je les aime trop pour les manger #MusulmanDiscret
— So true (@SOTRUE927) August 15, 2016
#MusulmanDiscret Ne dites plus "je ne bois pas d'alcool", dites "euh non merci, c'est moi qui conduis"
— Al Kanz (@Alkanz) August 15, 2016
Translation: “#DiscreetMuslims Don’t say 'I don't drink alcohol', say 'uh, no thank you, it's me who drives'”
— Aliii (@Al__i2) August 15, 2016
Translation: “What? A prayer rug in my home? No, it's just that I'm a Fan of Aladdin”
Translation: “Instead of saying 'I'll do my ablution' say 'I have a certain obsession with cleanliness a bit like Louis Pasteur'”
Nous venons de finir une séance de gymnastique en groupe au centre socioculturel,avec un coach à la voix motivante.#MusulmanDiscret
— Majdoub Fatima (@MajdoubFatima) August 16, 2016
Translation: "We have just finished a session of group gymnastics at the socio-cultural centre, with a coach with a motivating voice. #DiscreetMuslims"
Translation: “Huh, what? My scarf? A Hijab? No, never, my scalp is a little bit sensitive to the cold". #DiscreetMuslims”
— lallarififi (@lallarififi) August 17, 2016
Translation: “I do not wear the hijab, I'm vintage #DiscreetMuslims #Gracekelly”
— Nadia (@Nadia_Elka) August 15, 2016
Translation: “Don’t say 'I observe Ramadan' say 'I practise therapeutical fasting' #CleverMuslim”
— Nassira El Moaddem (@NassiraELM) August 15, 2016
Translation: “Don’t say 'I’m going on the hajj' Rather, 'I’m expanding French influence in potential markets of Saudi Arabia' #DiscreetMuslim #SmartMuslim”