Updated: Dec 15, 2019
French leftists in the commune of Montfermeil were angered by the inclusion of the term “Islamist terror” on a plaque commemorating hero police officer Arnaud Beltrame who traded himself for a hostage during a terror attack and was killed in March.
Local politicians of the Front de Gauche, or Left Front, said their objection to the wording was because it supported a view of “religious war”, Le Parisien reports.
“We are proud that a place pays tribute to the humanism and sacrifice of Arnaud Beltrame, but by adding the notion of Islamist terrorism, the mayor continues his provocations and inscribes his vision of a religious war in marble,”Front de Gauche member Angélique Planet-Ledieu said.
Members of the Montfermeil Muslims Association were also unhappy over the wording of the plaque with the secretary general of the association Farid Kachour saying he would have preferred the term “victim of terrorism, or Daesh, but not the term Islam”.
Mayor of Montfermeil Xavier Lemoine, a member of the Christian Democrats, called the controversy over the terms on the plaque “counterproductive”.
Lt.Col Arnaud Beltrame, who sacrificed himself for a hostage
Montfermeil is not the only French city to use the term “Islamist terrorism”. The term has also been used by the mayor of Béziers Robert Ménard who has been a long-time ally of the populist Front National, now named the Rassemblement National (National Gathering/RN).
Ménard has been a vocal critic of Islamisation and mass migration and was brought before a French court and fined last year for comments he made on Twitter in 2016.
In the offending post, Menard wrote: “In a class in the city centre of my town, 91 per cent of the children are Muslims. Obviously, this is a problem. There are limits to tolerance.”
He then referred to the “Great Replacement” – a term coined by prolific French author Renaud Camus to describe the substitution of populations due to mass migration.
Other far-left politicians have gone even further in their criticism with a member of the ultra-left France Insoumise (Unsubmissive France/FI) party being arrested after posting on social media that the death of Beltrame had been a “great thing”.