Brigitte Bardot runs afoul of French hate speech laws


ChuckB writes "Film actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot is being tried in France for inciting racial hatred. The Courier-Mail of Queensland reports that Bardot, in her book Un cri dans le silence, writes that she opposes the Islamisization of France and racial mixing. The story also notes that

Bardot has previous convictions for inciting racial violence after she criticised in print the Muslim practice of slaughtering sheep.

Bardot is likely to be fined rather than imprisoned if found guilty."


France seems very strange to me, I'm not French so I may not have the full picture.

Not being able to criticize sheep slaughter methods because they are part of someone's religion seems like political correctness gone insane.

Not allowing Muslims to wear their religious garb in public school also seems nutty, although I find it amusing. To prohibit any religious symbols in order not to offend anyone offends everyone who would like to or is required to wear a religious symbol.

I'm glad I'm not French.

Frankly, I think it's rather hypocritical of a government to bring someone up on hate speech charges for opposing the religious practice of sacrificing sheep as "cruelty to animals", when the same government has been horrifically insensitive to the religious convictions of that same group. And I don't think they should whine about complaints of Islamization when they have a department which not only dis/approves new words for the language, but can even forbid certain names for new born children.

It does seem odd, but as I understand it, the apparent discrepancy grows out of at least two features of French society & culture.

First, the avowed secularism of the French government, going back I think to the French Revolution, when there was a backlash against the Church's involvement in political affairs. Thus the banning of religious symbols in public schools and government buildings.

Second is the growing number of unassimilated, unemployed, and increasingly violent young men of North and West African descent, living in the housing projects surrounding the major French cities. I think about half of these are Muslim.
This problem is described in Theodore Dalrymple's superb essay "The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris" in the Autumn 2002 issue of the City Journal . Here is an excerpt in which Dalrymple notes the ambivalent approach of the French government:

The French state is torn between two approaches: Courbet, Fauré, nos ancêtres, les gaullois, on the one hand, and the shibboleths of multiculturalism on the other. By compulsion of the ministry of education, the historiography that the schools purvey is that of the triumph of the unifying, rational, and benevolent French state through the ages, from Colbert onward, and Muslim girls are not allowed to wear headscarves in schools. After graduation, people who dress in “ethnic� fashion will not find jobs with major employers. But at the same time, official France also pays a cowering lip service to multiculturalism—for example, to the “culture� of the cités. Thus, French rap music is the subject of admiring articles in Libération and Le Monde, as well as of pusillanimous expressions of approval from the last two ministers of culture.

According to Dalrymple, the number of the unassimilated has doubled since 1975, hence the fears of Islamisization. So the ban on religious symbols is driven by the Gallic secularist impulse, and the multiculturalism issues in hate-speech laws whereby one may not criticize the animal sacrifices practiced by another religion. It is crazy, but one can see how things came to this pass.

I suspect you would enjoy Dalrymple's essays, mdoneil. He's a conservative of a sort you would find largely congenial (though I don't think he's a Falangist). Fang would at the least enjoy the quality of his writing and his often curmudgeonly tone. Theodore Dalrymple is a pseudonym--his real name is Anthony Daniels, I believe.

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