French-Muslim activist denies tweet of famous Jews is ‘hit list’

Sihame Assbague posts 8 names along with GIF from ‘Game of Thrones’ where character lists people she wants to kill; but she claims it was a joking reference to their ‘Islamophobia’

Reporter and activist Sihame Assbague on November 4, 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Reporter and activist Sihame Assbague on November 4, 2017. (Screen capture: YouTube)

A French Muslim anti-colonialism activist on Thursday denied posting a “hit list” of Jewish groups and individuals while referncing a popular TV character.

Sihame Assbague last week posted a list of names of individuals and groups, accompanied by a GIF of a character from the series “Game of Thrones,” from a scene in which she lists the people she intends to kill.

It included the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities; the Socialist Jewish politician Julien Dray; former prime minister Manuel Valls — a supporter of Israel, whose ex-wife and children are Jews; and the radical left-wing politician Jean-Luc Melenchon, who is not Jewish.

But Assbague told the Times of Israel on Thursday that her post “was absolutely not a ‘hit list,'” and was a joking reference to a meme used by many online to denote “people or things that have upset them.” She said the names on her list were those of people or bodies who “distinguished themselves by their Islamophobia.”

The tweet by Assbague — whom the LICRA civil rights watchdog has accused frequently of spreading racist views on Jews – prompted a reply from the official Twitter account of Al Kanz, which is one of France’s best-read Muslim news websites.

The Al Kanz staffer who wrote the reply added nine more names, including the Jewish philosophers Raphael Enthoven and Alain Finkielkraut; the French-Jewish historian Eric Zenmmour; the French-Jewish journalist Elisabeth Levy; and several other writers with critical views on Islam and radical Islam.

Enthoven wrote on Twitter that the lists were “hate speech” and expressed his “solidarity with the other targets.”

On the Al Kanz Twitter account, a spokesperson denied amid an uproar over the lists that they were sinister in any way and dismissed them as an attempt at humor. A later message said that Enthoven’s condemnation exposed the paper to harassment online by Jews.

As the controversy unfolded, the Al Kanz staffer again replied to Assbague’s original list, writing: “May they and we live to be older than 100 in excellent health.”

Assbague said the list was pop culture reference to her displeasure over the treatment of French Muslim activist Maryam Pougetoux, who she said had been “dragged in the mud” for wearing a headscarf during an interview on national television.

She said “some organizations and political figures, known for their fury against Muslim activists” have “accused me of having drawn up a list of Jews to be killed and of incitement to murder. And now those scandalous accusations are spreading in Jewish media.

“That’s a shame. The only reason why the people I’ve named were in my tweet is because they’re denying Muslim women the right to join the public debate with their headscarves or expressing…That’s their common point.”

She claimed Enthoven and acitvist Laurent Bouvet, who “started this campaign against me and Alkanz… spend a fair amount of their time identifying ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Muslims, defaming, spreading fallacious and scandalous accusations.

“And now they dare to transform a funny, ironic, imaged tweet, [into] a call to murder.”

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