Alleged misuse of French anti-extremism fund stirs controversy
France is being rocked by allegations that funds earmarked to fight “extremism” in the country may instead have targeted groups fighting anti-Muslim prejudice and even been used to target a news agency from a majority-Muslim country.
Share It :
The €2.5 million ($2.7 million) Marianne Fund was announced in April 2021, following the gruesome murder of a Paris history teacher, as a measure to stem rising “separatism” in the country, according to the French government.
The fund’s creation was spearheaded by Marlene Schiappa, currently minister delegate in charge of citizenship, and management of the fund was given to the Inter Ministerial Committee for the Prevention of Crime and Radicalisation (CIPDR).
In March, French broadcaster France 2 reported that certain charities had illicitly benefited from the public funding, and Le Monde daily said on June 3 that the fund had also been used to target the Turkish-based Anadolu Agency and its correspondent in France.
The allegations have been the subject of an investigation by prosecutors.
The Senate also formed a commission of inquiry and heard the testimony of Christian Gravel, the committee’s general secretary responsible for the fund. Next week, Schiappa is due to be questioned by the Senate.
Gravel resigned on Tuesday over the allegations linked to the misuse of the fund.
It has been reported that after Gravel took over the committee, the institution's political stance changed completely. Instead of extremism, the organization targeted associations belonging to Muslims in the country and individuals involved in combating Islamophobia.
Mathilde Panot, head of the left-wing La France Insoumise group in the National Assembly, told BFMTV on Tuesday that Schiappa has the political responsibility, not the public officials, and so she should resign.
In interviews, Schiappa has denied any wrongdoing.