The right and left criticize the French Interior Minister’s attack on international football player Benzema

The French radical left as well as the French extreme right criticized the controversial statements of French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin concerning international football player of Algerian origins, Karim Benzema, after the latter made statements sympathetic to the victims of the Israeli bombing of Gaza.

In a post on “X”, formerly Twitter, prominent leftist French politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon sent a message of support to the former Real Madrid and current Saudi Al-Ittihad striker and current Ballon d’Or holder Karim Benzema, amid controversy sparked by Minister Gerald Darmanin’s statements.

The head of the leftist party began by saying: “Hello, Mr. Benzema, I do not know you and I do not know anything about football, but the French government and its friends have chosen to distort your image, as they call you ‘the Frenchman on paper’.”

Mélenchon continued, saying: “With such enemies who speak such words, you must be a special person, without ethnic or religious hatred. France belongs to everyone who chooses it, and whoever insults us does not deserve that.”

In a tweet on X, Benzema sent a message of support to the residents of Gaza, saying, “All our prayers are for the residents of Gaza who are once again falling victim to this unjust bombing that did not spare women or children.”

For her part, French far-right leader Marine Le Pen considered Darmanin’s accusation of Benzema of his relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood “misinformation.” But at the same time, she accused the former Real Madrid top scorer of “flattering Islamic fundamentalists.”

Le Pen told the RMC channel: “The accusation of Mr. Benzema, who no longer even lives in France, by the Minister of the Interior is misleading, while we are currently facing major problems.”

Le Pen, who lost the second round of the presidential elections in 2017 and 2022 to current President Emmanuel Macron, continued, “Mr. Benzema is blamed for his closeness to the Muslim Brotherhood. But I have never heard Mr. Darmanin request that the Muslim Brotherhood be banned, because before you accuse someone of sharing an ideology, one must express this ideology,” she said, adding, “I called for a law to confront Islamic ideologies.”

At the same time, Le Pen accused the new player of the Saudi club Al-Ittihad of “flattering extremist Islam, which some call Islamic fundamentalism,” and insisted on this, saying, “This is self-evident,” without explaining further, according to the “Deutsche Welle” website.

Darmanin had accused the French national team striker of having “a notorious relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Hamas is an armed Palestinian Islamic group, classified by Germany, the European Union, the United States and other countries as a terrorist organization.

Benzema was born in Lyon to parents of Algerian origins from Oran. He began his football career with his hometown club Olympique Lyonnais in 2005, and contributed intermittently to three French League titles. In 2008, he was named UEFA Player of the Year and was named in the Team of the Year, finishing the season as top scorer in the league and winning his fourth title and first French Cup. In 2009, Benzema was the subject of a football transfer from the then French Federation when he signed for Real Madrid in a deal worth €35 million.

Benzema moved at the beginning of the current season from Real Madrid to the Saudi Jeddah club.

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