Police investigate false bomb threat against 'quenelle' creator
French interior minister says 'quenelle' salute, invented by French comedian Diedonne M’bala M’bala, is anti-Semitic; mulls legally blocking him from performing.
French comedian Diedonne M’bala M’bala complained to police about threats to blow up the theater in which he performs.
The bomb threat was made Thursday against the Main D’Or theater, in which Dieudonne operates, in Paris’ 11th arrondissement, MetroNews.fr reported. Police rushed to the scene but found no explosives.
Performances by Dieudonne, an accused anti-Semite and inventor of the "quenelle" quasi-Nazi salute, have been targeted in the past by activists of the Ligue de Defense Juive, the local branch of the JDL.
Last week, six men believed to be linked to JDL were arrested in Lyon for allegedly assaulting two individuals who posted online pictures of themselves performing Dieudonne's trademark gesture, the "quenelle," which French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Tuesday was a gesture of hate and anti-Semitism.
On Friday, Valls vowed that he would ensure that Dieudonne will pay some $88,500 he had run up in fines, Al Jazeera reported Saturday. Speaking on a radio show, Valls also added that he would try to legally ban the comedian from performing.
Dieudonne has been convicted seven times for defamation, hate-speech and racial discrimination. He is currently under criminal investigation for a implying on television that a Jewish journalist belonged in a gas chamber.
In recent months, several athletes in France and beyond were seen performing the quenelle, which is believed to be gaining traction in French society.
On December 28, West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka performed the salute during a match, prompting strongly worded condemnations from anti-racism campaigners.
But Kick it Out, a prominent British organization working to curb soccer racism, issued a guarded statement saying only that it will assist Britain’s Football Association in investigating Anelka’s behavior. Anelka has ignored calls to apologize, saying the salute was a gesture to his friend Dieudonne.
John Mann, chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism at the European Parliament, blasted Kick it Out for not using stronger language.
“Not good enough,” Mann wrote on Twitter last week. “You should be leading on challenging this racism. Your statement is weak and puny.”
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