By Louise Riondel
By Louise Riondel
Morocco World News
Rennes, France, Nov 15, 2012
Media Transports, the company which decides what can be displayed in Paris’ metro stations, has banned the Collective Against Islamophobia in France’s new campaign, the French daily Le Figaro reported on Wednesday. The heat comes from one particular poster : a replica of « The Tennis Court Oat » (Le Serment du Jeu de paume) by French painter Jacques-Louis David. The original masterpiece from the 18th century presents one of the most famous French historical event, the gathering of Third Estate members, symbol of the beginning of the Revolution.
This 2012 version depicts a very heterogeneous population, far from David’s vision. Among the characters are a Christian priest with a cross, a man who seems to wear payots (i.e Jewish sideburns), a dark-skinned man with a turban and the women whose heads are covered with veils. Above the tricolor flags they’re holding, one can read the campaign’s slogan « We are (also) the Nation ».
The Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) is dedicating the month of November to different events in order to raise awareness on prejudice against Muslims. According to them, the number of Islamophobic acts has raised by 58% in a year.
The press folder describing the poster states that it is about « French Muslims claiming their full membership in the nation and the full compatibility of their citizenship and religious practice ».
While some argue that the poster depicts the reality of the ethnic diversity of the French society, Media Transports has denied the CCIF the right to display the poster. According to the company whose mandate is to stay neutral, the refusal is due to the “religious and political connotation” of the image that “could stir controversy.”
The spokesman for the collective has reaffirmed that the campaign has “nothing to do with politics,” but that the way it’s perceived is nothing “less than a proof of the stigmatization of Muslims.” The CCIF has stated that it might take legal actions to resolve the question.