‘Blasphemy’ case divides France

Rebecca Rosman

Some of France’s top politicians, including President Emmanuel Macron, have defended a teenage girl who received death threats last month after posting a live broadcast on social media attacking Islam. The post has reignited a national debate about blasphemy, which has been legal in France for centuries.

“The law is clear: we have the right to blasphemy, to criticise, to caricature religions,” Macron said in an interview with Le Dauphine Libere

The outburst sparked a divisive debate on social media with supporters using the trending hashtag #JeSuisMila.

Whether she was looking for it or not, one pillar of support for Mila came from far-right National Rally figurehead Marine Le Pen, who said Mila had “more courage than the entire political class in power for the past 30 years”.

Bruno Retailleau, of the centre-right Les Republicains, praised the teenager for speaking out against “this political Islam which is trampling our values”.

Critics, on the other hand, blasted the Grenoble-based teenager for her comments, and some on social media began sharing her personal information, including the name of her school. After receiving death threats, the public prosecutor opened an investigation against Mila’s attackers. She was put under police protection and eventually placed in another school.

 newspaper on Wednesday. “The republican order is not a moral order … what is outlawed is to incite hatred and attack dignity.”

The controversy started in late January when a 16-year-old, only known as Mila, started a live makeup tutorial on her Instagram account.

Recounting a scenario that had played out on French television, Mila says one commentator started hitting on her during the broadcast. After responding she was a lesbian and that “black and Arabs” weren’t her type, Mila received a slew of insults, with one Muslim commentator calling her a “dirty lesbian”. In response, Mila launched a verbal tirade against Islam, stating “I hate religion. The Quran is a religion of hate.”

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