• France edition
 
French court to hear case of 'anti-white racism'
File photo: Mike Cogh

French court to hear case of 'anti-white racism'

Published: 26 Apr 2013 09:11 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Apr 2013 09:11 GMT+02:00

In an unusual trial that will provoke a certain amount of controversy in some quarters, a man will stand before a judge in Paris on Friday accused of carrying out a violent assault that was motivated by “anti-white racism”.

The attack, which took place on the Paris Metro, dates back to a night in September 2010 when two young men approached the white victim and asked him for a cigarette. When he refused they began insulting him, shouting the words “dirty white” and “dirty French”.

The victim was then set upon and attacked with broken bottles. He was left seriously injured.

To French prosecutors, the attacker's words were not just ordinary insults, they were a clear sign the beating was racially motivated.

A fact that might cloud the issue for some is that the man accused of carrying out the attack is white himself, according to French daily Le Parisien. Two other assailants who were involved in the beating have never been found.

'Anti-white sentiment is thriving in some neighbourhoods in France'

The issue of anti-white racism is a sensitive subject in France. Up until recently it was a concept invoked mainly by members of France's far-right organizations.

However, leader of the opposition UMP party, Jean-François Copé, provoked uproar last October when he claimed “anti-white sentiment is thriving in some French neighbourhoods."

"Some people, of whom many are French nationals, despise other French people because they don't follow the same religion," Copé added.

The UMP leader provoked further ire when he suggested a young boy had been beaten up for eating a French pastry during the Muslim festival of Ramadan.

Friday's landmark court case, however, has thrust the issue into the mainstream.

'Anti-white racism is just like any other form of racism - it cannot be ignored'

Significantly, the prosecution’s stance is being supported by the International League against Racism and anti-Semitism (LICRA).

"We are acting just like we would for any kind of racism case, whether it's anti-Semitic or anti-black," Vice president of LICRA Philippe Schmidt told The Local on Monday. "We cannot just pull a blanket over our eyes because this is a case of anti-white racism."

"It's obvious that incidents of anti-white or anti-French racism are less common, but that does not mean we have to ignore them.

"It is important not to make this into a political issue, the only principle we have is not to ignore it. In the early 2000s, French politicians made the mistake of ignoring the issue of anti-Semitism, no kind of racism can be ignored," he added.

For sociologist Nacira Guénif, however, the very concept of 'anti-white racism' doesn't make sense.

"Racism implies a system of domination which allows the denial of rights, and discrimination. And there is no oppression of whites as a group, in France. What we have is a changing world, in which being white is no longer a privilege," she told Le Parisien.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French paper Libération to fire third of its workers
Legendary leftist French daily Libération plans to shed a third of its workers. Photo: Pierre Andrieu/AFP

French paper Libération to fire third of its workers

The stalwart leftist daily in France, Libération, announced on Monday it will let go a third of its staff in an effort to keep the newspaper founded by Jean-Paul Satre from folding for good. READ  

Jilted Frenchman tells cops wife's a jihadist
A Frenchman thought jihad was great way to get back at his estranged wife (not pictured here). Photo: Mohamed Abed/AFP

Jilted Frenchman tells cops wife's a jihadist

An angry Frenchman tried to get back at his wife after she left him by telling police an apparently fabricated story of how she'd recently been radicalized and was planning to become a jihadist in Syria. READ  

Secret talks open in Paris on Ukraine crisis
Secret talks opened in Paris about the Ukraine crisis. Photo: Philippe Desmazes/AFP

Secret talks open in Paris on Ukraine crisis

France, Germany and Russia held secret talks in Paris about the Ukraine crisis on Monday, but have declined to reveal any details about the discusions, which come over a week after a ceasefire began in the war-ravaged country. READ  

Overcrowded French university shuts down
University leaders shut down a school in southern France because there were too many students. Photo: Pascal Pavani/AFP

Overcrowded French university shuts down

Youngsters turning up for their very first day at university got a rude shock when the overcrowded college in Toulouse told them to go home and come back in a week. READ  

Unions furious at plans to scrap bank holidays
France's bosses union has sparked outrage with a plan to fix the country's economy. Photo: AFP

Unions furious at plans to scrap bank holidays

France's top business owners have a plan to fix the country's moribund economy: cut bank holidays, pay under the minimum wage, skirt the sacred 35-hour work week and allow shops to open on Sundays. In response one outraged union leader questioned if child labour was also under consideration. READ  

Frenchman's suicide rope sent to his wife
The rope a Frenchman used to kill himself was sent to his wife. Photo: Rope: Shutterstock

Frenchman's suicide rope sent to his wife

A Frenchman’s former employer sent the rope he used to hang himself with while on the job to his widow and called it an accident. The wife has a different theory. READ  

Obama 'irritated' by French hostage ransoms
US President Barack Obama isn't too happy about France's hostage ransom payments. Photo: AFP

Obama 'irritated' by French hostage ransoms

France has signed up to the US-led international coalition to fight ISIS jihadis but that has not stopped President Obama from criticising his French counterpart for allegedly paying ransoms for the release of kidnapped French citizens READ  

Paris summit: France urges swift action on ISIS
World leaders were in Paris to discuss how to stop ISIS militants. Photo: Etienne Laurent/AFP

Paris summit: France urges swift action on ISIS

France's top leaders urged 'swift action' at meeting in Paris on Monday for an international strategy summit on how best to combat the extemist ISIS militants who have seized large swathes of territory and beheaded western aid workers and journalists. READ  

Air France pilots' strike expected to get worse
An Air France pilot strike was causing chaos on Monday. Photo: AFP

Air France pilots' strike expected to get worse

Sixty percent of Air France's flights are slated to be cancelled on Tuesday, up from 50 percent on Monday, due to a pilots' strike that is expected to continue until at least Friday. Stranded passengers were already stacking up at airports. READ  

France launches recon missions in Iraq
Photo: Patrick Baz/AFP

France launches recon missions in Iraq

The French air force is flying reconnaisance missions in Iraq as part of the US bombing campaign targeting ISIS militants who have been operating in the war-torn zone between Syria and Iraq. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Ten great bars in Paris only locals know about
Society
France's top expat tribes: Which are you?
National
France to set flat-rate for Paris airport taxis
Politics
French separatists want Scots to say 'yes'
National
Anti-dog poo offensive launched in French town
National
Scammers attack Paris's top cop at tourist hotspot
National
French leader didn't pay his rent for three years
National
'WW2 bomb' kills camper on French island
Does France have a racism problem?
National
National
'Enough gloom, France is an amazing country'
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
Gallery
The top ten tourist traps to avoid in France
Politics
The juiciest bits from Trierweiler's tell-all book
Politics
Trierweiler tells all: 'Hollande wanted me back, at any price'
Education
'Sacre bleu!' Do the French really say that?
Politics
Manuel Valls has plenty in common with Tony Blair, but not background
International
Votes for expats: Plan to end UK's 15-year rule
Gallery
Ten dos and don'ts for keeping your French in-laws happy
National
Unemployment: How does France compare to Europe?
International
Are all the talented professionals really leaving France?
National
La France profonde: Is it a rural idyll or a backwater hell?
Travel
Check out the four new attractions coming to Paris this autumn
Gallery
The French words you can't translate literally
National
Ten things you need to know about France's economics whizzkid
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se