Police in Nice have opened an inquiry after roads close to a mosque were given names that could "incite discrimination and racial hatred."

"/> Police in Nice have opened an inquiry after roads close to a mosque were given names that could "incite discrimination and racial hatred."

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Protestors rename Nice road ‘Burqa street’

Police in Nice have opened an inquiry after roads close to a mosque were given names that could "incite discrimination and racial hatred."

Protestors rename Nice road 'Burqa street'

The three roads, officially named rue d’Angleterre, rue de la Suisse and rue d’Italie, had their original street signs covered with new plaques saying “Burqa street” (rue de la Burqa), “Muslim Brotherhood street” (rue des Frères musulmans) and “Stoning street” (rue de la Lapidation).

Philippe Vardon, president of the group Nissa Rebela, defended the actions on its website.

“The Notre-Dame quarter has become a no-go area, starting with the rue de Suisse where prayers block the street,” he wrote.

Commenting on reports that police had taken away the new street signs for scientific examination, Vardon said “don’t the police have anything better to do? This is getting ridiculous.”

City authorities took a strong line against the incident, which happened on the first day of Ramadan, referring the matter to the public prosecutor. “These scandalous acts … constitute acts of provocation of racial hatred and discrimination,” they said in a statement.

The area has recently been in the spotlight after city authorities tried to prevent a Muslim association, Al Baraka, from buying the building housing the mosque on the rue de Suisse. Al Baraka claims to have been using the site for ten years. 

The city has claimed it wants to use the site as part of its regeneration of the area.

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RELIGION

French electrician sues Netflix for labelling him a radical Islamist

A French man of North African origin has accused Netflix of racial discrimination for labelling him a radical Islamist in an action movie for which he was filmed without his knowledge, his lawyer said on Monday.

French electrician sues Netflix for labelling him a radical Islamist
The Netflix movie Sentinelle was set and filmed in Nice. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

Sentinelle, set in the southern city of Nice, tells the story of an elite French soldier returning from service in Syria who embarks on a mission to find the man who raped her sister.

One scene shows the protagonist, Klara, looking through the sights of her rifle at two young friends saying goodbye to each other.

The scene was shot on the Promenade des Anglais, the seaside walk where a Tunisian radical mowed down 86 people with a truck on July 14th, 2016.

The French subtitles Netflix provided to describe the scene for the hard of hearing refer to two young “barbus” – a derogatory term for ultraconservative Muslim men that means “the bearded ones”.

One of the men, a 21-year-old electrician from Nice, filed a criminal complaint against Netflix over the description, accusing the company of “provoking discrimination and racial hatred,” his lawyer Jean-Pascal Padovani said.

“The director took the liberty of drawing a line between the North African features of the people he filmed… and religious fundamentalists,” Padovani said.

That the shot was filmed at the scene of one of the worst terror attacks in French history was even more suggestive, he added.

“It’s unacceptable as it suggests that anyone of North African origin is a potential terrorist,” Padovani said.

A spokesperson for Netflix, which was targeted by the complaint as the film’s broadcaster, declined to comment on the matter when contacted by AFP.

It has, however, removed the term “barbus” from the audio description.

Padovani said that his client had received over 80 messages from acquaintances who recognised him in the film, which was shot in 2019 and began streaming on Netflix in March.

Some expressed shock at seeing him depicted as a terrorist, he said.

The complainant is also considering suing Netflix for using his image for commercial purposes without his permission, Padovani said.

Sentinelle was directed by French film-maker Julien Leclercq.

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