The heinous murder of Samuel Paty is fueling Islamophobia on social media, stirring fear and frustration among the Muslim community in France.
Rabat – In a post on social media, prominent Moroccan-French author Leila Slimani announced her decision to deactivate her Instagram and Facebook accounts to protest the increase of hatred and racism online.
Leila Slimani announced her decision on October 20, four days after the killing of French teacher Samuel Paty on October 16. Since the day of the murder, Islamophobic posts have swept social networks.
Angry reactions against the Chechen refugee who beheaded Samuel Paty are to be expected, but the use of Islamophobic comments is now stirring panic and frustration among Muslim communities in France and around the world.
The 18-year-old attacked Paty after the history teacher he displayed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad during a class on freedom of expression.
In her farewell message to her fans before deactivating Instagram and Facebook, Leila Slimani said she can no longer endorse networks “where hatred spreads without filter, where no surveillance exists.”
She acknowledged that her decision will make it more difficult to communicate with her friends. “But as long as these networks are an arena where fanatics, haters, racists twist the concept of freedom of expression for their benefit, it will be without me,” she said.
Since the murder of Samuel Paty, concerns have mounted about the surge of Islamophobia.
Islamophobia does not exist only on social networks, but also in public following the murder.
On October 18, French police opened an investigation into the stabbing of two women near the Eiffel Tower.
Al Jazeera reported that the two victims have been identified as Muslim women who were wearing the Muslim veil or hijab at the time of the attack. The two suspects are reportedly “European-looking” women who shouted racist insults at the victims.
The news outlet also cited the increase of Islamophobia in France due to the government’s announcement of a crackdown on Muslim associations.
The murder of Samuel Paty took place in an already heated context. In late September, French police arrested a suspect involved in stabbing attacks near Charlie Hebdo’s former office.
The stabbing occurred weeks after the satirical magazine reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
After the attack near the old Charlie Hebdo office, Emmanuel Macron announced France’s plan to counter “Islamic separatism.” The measures include stopping a program allowing the entry of imams from Muslim countries.