Le Forif takes up the fight against anti-Muslim acts

Le Forif takes up the fight against anti-Muslim acts

An initiative that fills a gap. A working group from the French Islam Forum (Forif) – a new platform for dialogue between the State and the Muslim faith – created the Association for the Defense Against Discrimination and Anti-Muslim Acts (Addam) on February 9, which aims in particular to guide and support victims of anti-Muslim acts in the exercise of their rights.

Since the government’s disavowal of the French Council of Muslim Worship (CFCM), in December 2021, this function was no longer carried out by any association linked to the State. Before this date, two associations ensured the counting of anti-Muslim acts in France. The National Observatory for the Fight against Islamophobia on the one hand, under the aegis of the CFCM, had an agreement with the Ministry of the Interior which allowed it to exchange figures for complaints received from police stations. But since 2021, the body, although it is still active and recently reformed its statutes, is no longer recognized as an interlocutor by the public authorities. On the other hand, the Collective against Islamophobia in France carried out its own count, but was dissolved in 2021. It is therefore this void that the Addam hopes to fill.

“Many victims do not push the door of the police stations”

The association pursues several objectives. First of all“support and defend victims with a global approach”she indicates in a press release, but also “identify and centralize precise data on anti-Muslim acts”And finally “promote dialogue and partnership with the different actors and interlocutors”.

“We will identify the data from the complaints, see how these criminal complaints are handled by the prosecution, and intervene as best as possible so that the victims can benefit from support and that they are supervised, defended and assisted in the exercise of their right “explains Amèle Mansouri, lawyer and vice-president of the association.

In fact, today, the census methodology comes up against a major flaw: anti-Muslim acts are clearly undervalued. In 2022, the Ministry of the Interior counted 188 (a drop of 12% compared to the previous year), and 131 until November 2023 for three quarters of the past year. Figures which would be much lower than reality. “Many victims do not open the doors of police stations,” notes, like others, Amèle Mansouri.

This phenomenon of discrepancy between the number of complaints and the reality of the number of racist acts – called “black number” – is well known by the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) which produces a report each year on the fight against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. “This dark figure does not only concern anti-Muslim acts, but all acts of a racist nature, such as anti-Semitic actsexplains Claire Lallemand, advisor responsible for her questions at the CNCDH. With regard to anti-Muslim acts, the trivialization of anti-Muslim discourse – which we have observed in the media – causes a form of habituation among victims and, moreover, dissuades them from coming forward. »

Prevention and awareness

Faced with this, Addam hopes to support victims in their administrative, medical or psychological journey, in particular thanks to a network of departmental referents. “The whole point of these local representatives is to work closely to raise awareness and bring peace of mind,” continues Amèle Mansouri. Because for her, the possibility for victims to be heard also helps to reestablish social bonds and trust between citizens: “The victim who does not file a complaint will nourish a feeling of impunity and resentment which fuels the impression of being a separate citizen,” explainsShe.

Wishing to collaborate “on good terms with the authorities”the association also plans to work to strengthen local systems and intends to become a “privileged interlocutor of the State” For “serve as leverage” in the guidelines provided by public authorities.

In particular, she is thinking of establishing a link with Arcom to “avoid stigmatizing speech and the trivialization of hate speech in the media”. “How do you want to forge a collective sense of belonging to a nation if the media constantly reassign people to their identity, to their origins? “, she calls out.

Finally, the association plans to begin prevention and awareness work, for example by encouraging open days at mosques. “It is in ignorance that rejection and hostility are born”believes Amèle Mansouri. “And building this bond through living together begins with the local neighborhood. »

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