Extremist youth group storms French mosque after releasing anti-Arab manifesto

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“A Declaration of War” by the French rightist group Génération Identitaire.

A French youth nativist group that rose to international notoriety last week for an anti-Arab viral video that condemned “coexistence” and the “mixing of races” has stormed a mosque in an aggressive move to drive Muslims out of the city of Poitiers. Around 70 members of Génération Identitaire broke into the Great Mosque of Poitiers, unfurling from the roof a hand-painted banner with the organization’s name.

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French extremist on the roof of a Poitiers mosque. (Photo: Cocorico/PartisansMarine.com)

“We don’t want extra-European immigration anymore, nor buildings of mosques on french soil,” said the group in a statement claiming responsibility for the vigilante outburst. Génération Identitaire also called on its members to “fight” against immigrants, and cites a historical battle and present economic woos for their reason to rid France of perceived newcomers:

1300 years ago, Charles Martel stopped Arabs in Poitiers after an heroic battle which save our country from the Muslim invasion. It was the October 25th of 732. Today, we’re on 2012 and the choice is still the same : live free or die. Our generation refuse to see her people and her identity disappear through indifference. We’ll never be the Native Indians of Europe. From this place, important symbol of our past and bravery of our ancestors, we call to memory and fight !

Génération Identitaire first posted “A Declaration of War,” a video manifesto with a high production value at the beginning of October. Within days the black and white images of French youth speaking out against a so-called “explosion of anti-white racism,” May 1968, and “sexual liberation,” was translated into seven languages, even earning the attention of notable American Islamophobes including David Horowitz’s Front Page Magazine. YouTube’s German censors stepped in and banned the video.

The manifesto’s overt racism is shocking. In part it is because the video was made by a diverse group of self-proclaimed “guard[s] of the youth,” confirming France’s fringe rightists have trespassed into a cross-section of society. Such nationalism rings of the hate speech that preceded World War II. When Génération Identitaire said in the manifesto, “We no longer believe that ‘Khader’ could ever be our brother,” where “Khader” is a signifier for all Muslims, and then the group carries out grandiose measures like occupying a mosque, it confirms that hate speech has now become hate attacks.

Additionally the video touches on a deeper level of dehumanization against Muslims and/or peoples of Middle Eastern descent that has existed with varying intensity in Europe for hundreds of years, but now has the backing of centrist public officials.

Earlier this year on the eve of Francois Hollande’s 2012 victory as the next president of France, Yascha Mounk warned in Slate that despite the socialist parties inevitable win, the real victor was the extremist groups. “At no point in Europe’s postwar history has the far right’s influence been as pervasive as it is now,” said Mounk. Even during the run up to elections both Hollande and Sarkozy vowed to protect the school cafeterias of la France from the evils of halal meat.

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