International

Controversial French journalist sparks outcry with 'insular Muslim' comments

PARIS: Prominent French journalist Eric Zemmour was back in the spotlight Saturday after being barred by a news channel for saying Muslims were elbowing French people out of the suburbs.

The iTELE channel said late Friday that Zemmour would not be invited back to a chatshow he has been appearing in since 2003 following an outcry over his latest remarks.

Zemmour, who recently published a best-seller titled “The French Suicide,” is no stranger to polemics and has been convicted of inciting racial hatred.

The latest controversy erupted after he gave an interview to Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper in which he said “Muslims kept to themselves in the suburbs” and the “French were forced to move out.”

Zemmour is a well-known media commentator and columnist for Le Figaro newspaper who prides himself on his outspoken defiance of what he deems politically correct, woolly liberals.

Zemmour’s parents are Jewish Berbers who emigrated from Algeria in the 1950s.

France is home to five million Muslims, the largest population in Europe. It also has the largest Jewish diaspora on the continent.

The SNJ journalists union hailed the “strong decision” taken by the television channel, a position taken by SOS Racisme, an anti-racism watchdog.

But far-right leader Marine Le Pen, the head of the National Front party, tweeted: “The ban on Zemmour is odious.”-AFP

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