Since 1998, the French people, who are normally greatly divided in the realm of politics, have often been united at least on one of its national symbols: Les Bleus.
Les Bleus, which is French for “the blues,” is the title used to refer to the French national football team.
Although Emmanuel Macron famously said before this year’s World Cup that we should not mix politics and sport:
“I think we must not politicise sport,” said Macron, whose national team are defending the title they won in Russia in 2018.
Macron, who will go to Qatar if France reaches the semi-finals, said it was “a very bad idea to politicise sport“, noting that France would host the Olympic Games in 2024.
However the reality is that this is something that is technically impossible in France. The reason for this is partly due to the significance it holds with the people. Allegedly Macron himself knows this, and he spent more than 500,000 euros of public money to travel to Qatar himself and watch the semi-finals and the finals.
The French Football Federation (FFF) is far from being neutral. In fact, according to some critics, it is more focused on marketing and politics than on the sport itself, with every political party seeking to capitalize on the nation’s passion for Les Bleus.
Les Bleus are a symbol of variety and cosmopolitanism for both the center and left. It doesn’t take long for a newcomer to realize how diverse the players are and how, despite this fact, they are able to perform at the highest level of the sport.
For the right, these players are symbolic of assimilation. These “honorable” citizens have cast away the cultures of their forefathers and are working towards the interests of their country, France. This team is essentially viewed as a practical demonstration of how love for one’s nation can trump things such as blood and culture.
In terms of the political handling of Les Bleus, I’m not here to debate who is right and who is wrong. This football team does reflect the French population. Les Bleus are without a doubt an example of the outcomes of immigration, and they show that everyone can effectively assimilate into France’s lifestyle and culture.
Whether or not this is a good thing is of course another matter entirely.
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Now, here is the issue that we’re going to be exploring within the scope of this article:
The French national football team actually represents the French population too closely since they are also very Islamophobic.
Les Bleus and Islam: The Case of Karim Benzema
The simple-minded will probably reject my accusation outright on the mere basis that some of the team’s key players are Muslims. These naive critics are the same people that believe the USA and Canada are “Muslim-friendly” countries simply because Obama and Justin Trudeau ate iftar during Ramadan. This is of course utterly ridiculous and in fact laughable.
The French national team’s former Muslim players can be divided into two basic groups:
- Muslims that were unapologetic and proud of their religion, which meant that they had major problems with the French team; and
- Muslims that were quiet and not outspoken, which meant that they managed to fly beneath the radar.
Evidence for this will be provided in due course, but let me start with the very recent example of Karim Benzema’s withdrawal from the team just prior to the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
Since the very beginning of his career, Benzema has had all the makings of the perfect scapegoat for French football. He is a Muslim; he is Algerian; he openly prefers Algeria to France; and he refuses to sing the French national anthem at the start of matches. In summary, this explains why his international career in football has been so turbulent, despite the fact that he is the most successful French striker in history.
Benzema was suspended from the French national team in 2015 for allegedly blackmailing his former teammate, Mathieu Valbuena. The French team’s coach, Didier Deschamps, publicly refused to forgive such behavior within his team. Internal sources reveal that the French Football Federation actually had much greater concerns regarding Benzema. They hated the fact that he took the spotlight away from the other players, who essentially became jealous of his success. They also did their part in not talking about him. They justified this stance of theirs by claiming that sharing articles about him was too complicated because many football fans are racist and that they would write numerous hateful comments every time they put something up on the internet.
After receiving a call from Deschamps himself, Benzema returned to the French national team in 2020, at the peak of his football career. Karim Benzema’s signing was welcomed by many fans in the hope that he would strengthen the team. The reality, however, is that neither Deschamps nor Noel Le Graet (the president of the French Football Federation) wanted Karim to return. According to Romain Molina, a specialist in French football who led many investigations in relation to the French Football Federation, it was President Macron himself that had asked the French coach to call Benzema. Some executives thus took advantage of the situation. They realized that if the team lost they could conveniently blame Benzema as being responsible for the team’s defeat, and if they won they could boast about having made the decision to take him back.
Benzema’s international career ended this year due to being forced to withdraw from the World Cup. The Les Bleus staff concocted a false diagnosis of his fitness to be able to compete in order to make him abandon the idea of taking part in the tournament. This is despite the fact that Karim Benzema had won the 2022 Golden Ball, a trophy awarded to the most outstanding player of the season.
Just to be clear, no other nation has ever treated its star players in such a manner.
France did this simply because Karim is a bearded Muslim who publicly confesses his love for his religion and the country of his parents. They absolutely could not and would not allow such an individual to become a symbol for the French people.
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Benzema’s case is not a one-off occurrence either. When you examine the history of Les Bleus, it quickly becomes evident that other Muslim players also had problems with the French Football Team, including the likes of Ribery; Anelka;—and more recently—Kanté; and Pogba. Ribery experienced the same kind of treatment during the 2014 World Cup when the medical staff made a false diagnosis regarding Ribery’s injury, which prompted the team to retire him.
In 2010, Nicolas Anelka, the French convert, was falsely accused by the press of having insulted the former French coach, Raymond Domenech, and he was thus expelled from the team. Years later, Domenech himself admitted that Anelka had never uttered the insults that had been attributed to him.
Les Bleus and the French Football Federation have been responsible for many similar incidents over the years. All of these incidents have one thing in common: a Muslim player is treated unfairly. Also, as explained earlier, there is no doubt that both the French Football Federation and the French national football team are heavily entangled in politics.
The mere fact that there are Muslim players currently active on the French team, or that the greatest “legend” in French football, Zinedine Zidane, is Algerian, does not do anything to wash away the team’s antagonistic stance on Islam. Sure, due to their outstanding reputation in the world of football, some Muslims were allowed to join the team, but they quickly became embroiled in manufactured scandals. Other players managed to endure but only by keeping a low profile, though often, like with Kante, they too were hated and discriminated against after revealing their love for Islam.
As for Zinedine Zidane, he actually describes himself as being a non-practicing Muslim. Make of that what you will.
I just want to add here that I am fully aware regarding how most of the Muslim players I mentioned here are open sinners that should not be praised, nor taken as models by the youth. But their unforgivable sin in the eyes of France is that they identify as being Muslims before being French, and this is something which is completely incompatible with French values and simply can’t be tolerated by the French Football Federation.
I have to say, it’s quite an amazing feat that this national football team was able recreate France’s social dynamics within a small group of just 26 people! It is for this very reason that, for twenty years, they have been the pride and joy of the French nation.
In a sense, they are France: a bunch of sinners; pro-LGBT; of mixed origins; and they absolutely despise Islam.
“Allez Les Bleus!”
We, as Muslims, should spread awareness about Islamophobia. There are some people normalising it and it can be very dangerous.
Kanté and Pogba are Muslims and they won the world cup. Kanté has been always praised by the staff and his team mates about his behaviour and how kind he is.
No, not really.
Media criticized Kanté when he said that his religion was more important to him than football, and some team staff members accused him of being affected by Ramadan and playing poorly.
In recent months, Paul Pogba has been involved in many scandals because he said someone did Sihr to him.
Pogba and Kanté were not allowed to fast during Euro 2016.
As Muslims, they have been involved in scandals, since the FFF and Les Bleus are islamophobic like the rest of the French political establishment.
Les gens ne comprendront jamais, tant qu’ils ne sont pas musulmans (et non libéral) et habitant en France depuis l’enfance que la France est l’un des pires ennemis de l’Islam (et des autres religions, sauf J.U.I.F).
La France est en opposition à l’Islam, tout simplement.
La France ne veut pas de l’Islam, même l’Islam “réformé” (ça n’existe pas en Islam) est trop pour eux.
C’est une nation fondé autour de : la laïcité (anti-religion) et les pếchés.
L’islam est la solution pour la France.
I remember seeing a video about a French organization of naked girls. These girls go to mosques and churches naked, but they never enter synagogues like that. When a French journalist asked a lawyer of those naked girls why they don’t go to synagogues naked, the journalist was harassed by the police and by that lawyer.
No surprise. France is a country where even the head of state beggs to a professional football player to stay in his team and not join another one( Macron begging Mbape to stay in PSG instead of going to Real Madrid). The french governement is excessively intrusive . Macron telling to not mix politics into sport is very hypocrite when he(a politician and president of the french state) is deeply involved in the matters of private club PSG ……
Asalamu alaikum brother. It needs to be said that after Benzema won the champions league with Real Madrid, he unfortunately comitted shirk. This is because Real Madrid is a catholic team and after they won they offered the trophy to Mary.
Here is a video explaining:
Wa alaikum salam brother,
Thank you for the message, I did not know that and I will investigate in sha Allah. Thank you and may Allah reward you.
Barakallah brother may Allah reward you aswell for your work