The French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, believes that famous soccer player Karim Benzema is not aligned with the correct viewpoint regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Darmanin doubled down Thursday night on evidence-free remarks linking Benzema to the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist party considered to be a terrorist group in several Middle Eastern countries, after the footballer backed Palestinians under fire in Gaza.
Darmanin criticized Benzema for not tweeting about the recent murder of a teacher in Arras, the beheading of infants, the rape of women, and the 1,300 people killed by Islamist terrorism in Israel.
Darmanin stated on BFMTV that if Benzema, who has a large following of 20 million people and now resides in Saudi Arabia, can demonstrate his sorrow for the deceased teacher in front of his audience, including his French background, then Darmanin will retract his previous statements.
Darmanin, a staunch advocate for security and secularism, pointed out that the individual in question is currently using rhetoric similar to that of the Muslim Brotherhood, but until there is evidence to suggest otherwise, this remains a selective choice.
On Monday evening, Darmanin caused controversy with his statement that “Benzema is known to have ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, and we are all aware of it.” This came after the former Real Madrid player, who practices Islam, expressed his support for the people of Gaza who were facing relentless bombings that were harming innocent women and children.
The initial insult from the interior minister was refuted by Hugues Vigier, the lawyer for Benzema.
According to Vigier, a spokesperson for the organization, the statement that Karim Benzema had any involvement with it is incorrect. He stated to Le Parisien, a French news source, on Wednesday night that his team is considering pursuing legal measures against the French minister.
A French lawmaker has requested that the footballer be deprived of his French citizenship, following up on Darmanin’s remarks from Wednesday.
After gaining control in Egypt during the Arab Spring, the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist party, was later removed by a military overthrow in 2013. The group is financially supported by Qatar and is regarded as a terrorist organization by numerous Middle Eastern nations, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who are located near Qatar’s capital, Doha.
Benzema made the move to play football in Saudi Arabia last summer, leaving Real Madrid for Al-Ittihad. His reported annual salary at the new club is €200 million.