Karim Benzema has been targeted again by the French Interior Minister, who previously claimed that he had links to a terrorist organisation.
Gerald Darmanin made the claims after the French footballer criticised the ‘unjust bombings’ in Gaza amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine that were killing innocent women and children.
Benzema’s lawyer Hugues Vigier confirmed on Thursday that his client was filing a complaint against the minister after he denied the allegations, however, Darmanin has continued to ask questions about the former Real Madrid star’s connections.
He told French outlet RMC that he would in fact not retract his allegations unless the 35-year-old would speak out on the death of Dominique Bernard, a professor murdered by a Chechen terrorist earlier in October in Arras.
When giving his reasons for alleging that Benzema had links to a terrorist organisation, Darmanin pointed to the fact he had remained silent about murdered children and those ‘massacred’ by so-called ‘Islamic terrorists’.
‘What did I say? Mr. Benzema is a great footballer, followed by millions of people,’ he began. ‘I noticed that he still hasn’t tweeted about the murder of that professor in Arras. He has also not tweeted about the beheaded babies, the raped women, the 1,300 massacred by Islamic terrorists in Israel.
‘Terrorism is very insidious. It consists of using all the means of society – sports, music, influence on the Internet – to promote Islam. That is what brotherhood consists of. I would love for Mr Benzema to tweet about the murder of the professor in Arras. He is known for an extremely rigorist Islam, with links, unfortunately, to people who have sometimes taken joy in the murder of Samuel Paty, for example.’
Paty, a school teacher, was stabbed to death and beheaded three years ago in a Parisian suburb, after reportedly showing cartoons of the Prophet to his class in a lesson on free speech.
‘We cannot be selective in our indignation,’ continued the French politician. ‘That is what Brotherhood consists of, unfortunately using selective messages in an insidious way, being able to show that through sport, music and society there is something different from radicalisation in a place of worship.’
He added: ‘Mr Benzema is French. But I have the right to fight the idea that when you tweet about Palestinian civilians, it is extremely surprising not to tweet about the 1,300 dead in Israel and not to tweet about the murder of the professor. You will see that this selectivity raises questions.
‘I am telling you that the Muslim Brotherhood is making extremely intelligent use of the opportunity to convey a deeply anti-French message. There are examples of this every day. Some get caught because they do it so quickly that it is a caricature, like the Nice player (Youcef Atal). Isn’t it shocking that a professional player working in France can say what he said?’
The French Interior Minister then called for Benzema to discuss the death of Professor Bernard in order to ‘show good faith’ and added that doing so would ‘improve’ national unity.
‘If Mr. Benzema wants to show his good faith, and is capable of tweet about the professor’s death, I will withdraw my comments. I note that he has made the extremely selective choice to use the same language as the Muslim Brotherhood.’
‘Wouldn’t that be a good thing for the Republic? That would be wonderful of you. National unity would improve because of it.’
The Muslim Brotherhood was officially classified a terrorist organisation in 2021 after Austria banned the group under the new anti-terrorism law adopted by its Parliament in July of that year.