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Launch of a Class Action against the statements of Minister Laurence Rossignol

The Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) strongly condemn the remarks made by French Minister for Women’s Rights Mrs Laurence Rossignol who targeted both the Black and Muslim minorities while at the same time using the memory of slavery to again stigmatise Muslims, including veiled women.

In a March 30th interview, she declared that veiled Muslim women were comparable to “N****** who were in favour of slavery”. The violence of this statement cannot be underestimated and the government has so far failed to react or take action.

These remarks can’t possibly be construed as yet another awkward slip of the tongue. When a minister speaks while still being in office, we cannot say that it was a “slip of the tongue” or a “blunder”, but we can only highlight full political responsibility.

It is by taking fully into account the scope of this rhetoric, assumed by a state representative, that everyone can judge of the gravity of this statement, in a context where political tensions and feelings of rejection are on the rise.

We can not accept that such speech that was held at the highest levels of the government remains unsanctioned. If that were to be the case, it would mean we have reached a new  level in terms of institutional racism and islamophobia.

It has become necessary to question a number of media and political discourse which threaten national cohesion and legitimise rejection and exclusion, especially towards black, arab and/or Muslim citizens.

This is why the CCIF intends to take a class action lawsuit against Mrs Laurence Rossignol for her statement.

The CCIF calls upon every person that has felt targeted to get in touch with our legal department (contact@islamophobie.net) in order to press charges. The CCIF will play its role and get the procedure in order.

As the government launched a national campaign against “racism, antisemitism and anti-Muslim hatred”, one can only realise how the government can be inherently blind to its own abuses, both in terms of negrophobia and islamophobia as well as police brutality and their institutional mechanisms.

The CCIF come to the same conclusion every year in the annual report on islamophobia: women are the first victims of it (about 74% in 2015) and institutions are the first to discriminate (64% of discrimination took place in public services in 2015).

Racism does not happen by accident. It is a system which mechanisms have been legitimised from within institutions.

Between never ending and nauseating debates about Islam on the one hand and the highly politicised and stigmatising statements from the top layers of the government towards muslims on the other, it is time to question the ideologies that support and legitimise racism and the exclusion of a considerable part of our fellow citizens.

We call upon political responsibility and public discourse regulatory bodies, particularly the CSA (Audiovisual Council). We cannot  heap opprobrium on thousands of women, or on entire communities, while clearing ourselves of any responsibility in terms of how they are treated afterwards.

The CCIF refuses that individuals or communities are scapegoated, because of their skin color or assumed religion, to be targets of populist rhetoric masking policy failures.

For this reason, we want that today, through this class action, which has already gathered hundreds of plaintiffs, challenge the responsibility of those whose decisions and speeches spoil our lives and those of our fellow citizens on a daily basis.

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