Austrian police over the weekend arrested an Algerian asylum seeker who is suspected of having committed a murder in his home country.
On Saturday morning, two Algerian citizens, aged 23 and 26, were stopped by police for a routine inspection as they walked on the Pyhrn motorway in Leibnitz. Suspicions were raised when the two men failed to present any form of identification but mentioned that they had applied for asylum through the local government, regional news outlet Mein Viertel reports.
After establishing the identities of both men, it turned out the one them had an international arrest warrant for murder in Algeria. Police, after consulting with the local prosecutor, promptly arrested the 26-year-old Algerian asylum seeker and transferred him to Jakomini Prison in Graz.
For the deputy of the National Rally in France, the speech of the singer Camélia Jordana on Saturday evening claiming she is afraid when she sees a police officer, is a typical example of the excesses of the cultural left: They prefer to defend the delinquents rather than the police.
There is a lingering, unpleasant issue which has surfaced in French media. The police are invariably depicted as executioners and murderers, while thugs are perpetually excused, Louis Alliot noted in an op-ed for French weekly Valeurs Actuelles.
Critics however have forgotten how the police have been put under pressure in recent years, forced to work in extremely difficult conditions with attacks, immigrant riots, gratuitous violence and continuous social unrest, according to Alliot.
The cultural left are co-responsible for the attacks that the police undergo every day. In ensuring order and respect for law during confinement, numerous police officers were attacked throughout France.
In Colombes, an immigrant rammed into two stationed police bikers, justifying his gesture as the “defense of Palestine”. On May 25, three men voluntarily crashed into a RAID car at full speed during an intervention in the Cévennes district of Montpellier. One policeman who “was seriously injured in one leg, was crushed between his own vehicle and that of these attackers who had voluntarily rushed towards him,” a report in France Bleu noted.
“The anti-cop climate is growing and that worries us very much,” said Yann Bastière, denouncing in particular “words unworthy of a Camelia Jordana, in search of negative recognition and looking for attention by featuring in a talk show on Saturday evening, and who is free to feed this anti-cop hatred”.
In fact, it only takes a cursory glance at the regional daily press to realize the extent of the phenomenon: dozens of neighborhoods are literally out of control and the police are seen there as the enemy, Alliot pointed out.
“Unfortunately, no one dares to designate those who are jointly responsible for this deleterious climate, at the forefront of which is part of the cultural left,” the RN deputy said. Born from Algerian parents in France, the singer and actress Camelia Jordana, is the new star of “indigenous” victimization.
On the programme On N’est Pas Couché hosted by Laurent Ruquier, she alleged being afraid of the police because of her “curly hair”. The singer added that some people were “massacred for no other reason than their skin colour”.
She has since challenged the Minister of the Interior to a debate with her. Clearly, the Macron administration is no longer respected and has lost its grip on public order.
Slandering police officers collectively, ignores the reality on the ground, its vicissitudes and its difficulties says Alliot. “She does not know that 2019 was a dark year for the number of police suicides. She also probably ignores what delinquency and crime are in 2020. The majority of French people are much more afraid of coming across an organized gang after dark than of coming across a police check!”
“Without the police, it is the street gangs who enforce their own rules, which are far more unjust,” the deputy said. Also, the wealthy Camelia Jordana does not have to endure the deterioration of common areas, drug trafficking, threats and daily violence that mark the no-go-zones in French immigrant social housing areas, according to Alliot.
“When half of France looks like a Brazilian shantytown, professional mourners will take refuge in their Moroccan riads or their second homes in Florida. They have the means to escape, unlike the average French person.”
The Alliance police union said in a press release that it was going to seize the public prosecutor and asked Interior Minister Christophe Castaner to do the same. Other police officers also reacted on the web, including the commissioners of the national police (SCPN): “Appalling testimony of a ‘new star of stupidity’ which demonstrated in two minutes the poverty of her thought, accompanied by scandalous and slanderous arguments, all on a public broadcast,” they tweeted.
Jordana has continued her racist attacks not only against the police, but on whites in general: “My generation does not feel concerned by a society led by old and white people.” Despite her loud attacks on French society, she curiously told French magazine Telestar: “I am a bourgeois! I grew up in a beautiful villa with a swimming pool. I did piano, theater, dance.” Being “bourgeois”, she added, made her different from other Arabs living in social housing.
Hundreds of Muslims celebrated Eid al-Fitr with socially distanced prayers at an Ikea parking lot in Wetzlar, Germany, on May 24. The “festival of the breaking of the fast” is one of Islam’s two major holidays, and begins when the moon rises on the final day of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. Drone footage shows a reported 700 worshippers taking part in prayers to mark Eid. The Islamic Community Milli Goruş (IGMG), which organised the event, said in a message posted to the group’s Wetzlar Facebook page: “We have done holiday prayer as a nation in the open air with 700 people. We would like to express our gratitude to the Wetzlar police, the Wetzlar regulatory office, to IKEA Wetzlar and others that made this extraordinary prayer possible. Have a blessed holiday.”
Credit: IGMG Wetzlar Gençlik via Storyful / https://www.news.com.au/national/hundreds-gather-in-german-ikea-parking-lot-for-socially-distanced-eid-prayers/video/c7391acb6f1a485c726532ee0890e0a5?fbclid=IwAR0KOhDse7Eq47XixdOK6opj4O_up3cZRB61rkhbMi4B74-nZJOBdWjFqBI
At an event at the end of Ramadan in Vienna’s Ottakring district, Turkish Ambassador Ozan Ceyhun is said to have called the Christmas celebration selfish.
According to a report in the Krone newspaper, numerous AKP supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in the 16th district of Vienna on Sunday to pay tribute to a Corona relief action from Turkey and distribute aid packages. Present were students and graduates of Imam Hatip schools as well as other AKP-related groups. While praising the Turkish relief action, Ambassador Ozan Ceyhun is said to have said something about Christians in his speech: “They don’t organize events like we do here. For example at Christmas, and I deliberately say the word Christmas in German language so that you understand what I mean. They proceed in a selfish manner and seclude themselves in their own homes and don’t hand out presents like we do.” In addition, the Turkish AKP MP Zafer Sirakaya, is said to have paid tribute to Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, at the event: “The biggest ammunition, the military arsenal, is the Muslim brothers, who are connected in brotherhood.”
On May 13, the French parliament adopted a law that requires online platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat to remove reported “hateful content” within 24 hours and “terrorist content” within one hour. Failure to do so could result in exorbitant fines of up to €1.25 million or 4% of the platform’s global revenue in cases of repeated failure to remove the content.
The scope of online content deemed “hateful” under what is known as the “Avia law” (after the lawmaker who proposed it) is, as is common in European hate speech laws, very broadly demarcated and includes “incitement to hatred, or discriminatory insult, on the grounds of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or disability”.
“This law proposal aims to combat the spread of hate speech on the internet,” it is stated in the introduction to the Avia law.
“No one can dispute the exacerbation of hate speech in our society… the attack[s] on others for what they are, because of their origins, their religion, their sex or their sexual orientation… hints… [at] the darkest hours in our history… the fight against hatred, racism and anti-Semitism on the Internet is an objective of public interest that justifies…strong and effective provisions… this tool of openness [the internet] to the world, of access to information, to culture, to communication, can become a real hell for those who become the target of ‘haters’ or harassers hidden behind screens and pseudonyms. According to a survey carried out in May 2016, 58% of our fellow citizens consider the internet to be the main locus of hate speech. More than 70% say they have already been confronted with hate speech on social networks. For younger people in particular, cyber-harassment can be devastating…However… Few complaints are filed, few investigations are successful, few convictions are handed down – this creates a vicious circle…”
Having acknowledged that online “hatred” is tricky to prosecute under the existing laws because “few complaints are filed and few investigations are successful, few convictions are handed down”, but nevertheless determined that censorship is the panacea to the perceived problems, the French government decided to delegate the task of state censorship to the online platforms themselves. Private companies will now be obliged to act as thought police on behalf of the French state or face heavy fines. As in Germany, such legislation is bound to lead to online platforms exhibiting overzealousness in the removal or blocking of anything that might conceivably be perceived as “hateful” to avoid being fined.
The purpose of the law appears to have been twofold — not only to achieve the actual censorship of speech by the removal or blocking of online posts, but also the (inevitably) chilling effects of censorship on online debate in general. “People will think twice before crossing the red line if they know that there is a high likelihood that they will be held to account,” French Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet saidin what sounded ominous for a government representative to say in a country that still claims to be democratic.
From the beginning, when French President Emmanuel Macron first tasked the group led by Laetitia Avia with preparing the law, the proposal was met with criticism from a number of groups and organizations. France’s National Consultative Commission on Human Rights criticized the law proposal for increasing the risk of censorship, and La Quadrature du Net, an organization that works against censorship and surveillance online, warned that, “Short removal times and large fines for non-compliance further incentivize platforms to over-remove content”. The London-based free speech organization Article 19 commented that the law threatened free speech in France. According to Gabrielle Guillemin, Senior Legal Officer at Article 19:
“The Avia Law will effectively enable the French state to devolve online censorship to the dominant tech companies, who will be expected to act as judge and jury in determining what is ‘manifestly illegal’ content. The Law covers a wide range of content so this is not always going to be a straightforward decision.
“Given the timeframes by which companies have to respond, we can expect them to err on the side of caution when it comes to deciding whether content is legal or not. They will also have to resort to using filters that will inevitably lead to the over-removal of content.
“The French government has ignored the concerns raised by digital rights and free speech groups, and the result will be a chilling effect on online freedom of expression in France”.
The passed law was also met with disapproval in France. On May 22, Guillaume Roquette, editorial director of Le Figaro Magazine, wrote:
“Under the pretext of fighting ‘hateful’ content on the Internet, it [the Avia law] is setting up a system of censorship that is as effective as it is dangerous… ‘hate’ is the pretext systematically used by those who want to silence dissenting opinions.
“This text [law] is dangerous because, according to lawyer François Sureau, ‘it introduces criminal punishment… of the conscience’. It is dangerous…because it delegates the regulation of public debate… on the internet to American multinationals… A democracy worthy of its name should accept freedom of expression”.
Jean Yves Camus. from Charlie Hebdo, called the law “a placebo for fighting hate” and pointed out that the “hyper-focus on online hate” masks the real danger:
“It is not online hatred that killed Ilan Halimi, Sarah Halimi, Mireille Knoll, the victims of the Bataclan, Hyper Cacher and Charlie; it is an ideology called anti-Semitism and/or Islamism… Who determines what hatred is and its [distinction from] criticism? A Pandora’s box has just been opened… There is a risk of a slow but inexorable march towards a digital language hyper-normativized by political correctness, as defined by active minorities”.
“What is hate?” asked French writer Éric Zemmour rhetorically. “We do not know! You have the right not to love… you have the right to love, you have the right to hate. It’s a feeling… It cannot be judicialized, legislated.”
Nevertheless, that is what hate speech laws do, whether in the digital or the non-digital sphere. Asking private companies — or the government — to act as thought police does not belong in a state that claims to follow a democratic rule of law.
Unfortunately, the question is not whether France will be the last European country to introduce such censorship laws, but what other countries are next in line.
 As well as other online platforms and search engines that reach a certain threshold of activity in France (this threshold will be specified by decree at a later date).