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Médine Case: The Islamophile detour of a left that becomes anti-secular!

25 August 2023 Expertises   16538  

Nadia Geerts

Solidaris is the name of the socialist mutual societies in Belgium. A venerable institution, it was founded in 1869 as a cooperative and mutual aid fund in Fayt-lez-Manage, Wallonia. Since then, the Mutualités Socialistes have grown considerably, with a grassroots presence in Wallonia, Flanders and Brussels, working “on a daily basis to humanise change and reinvent a model of society that is inclusive, emancipating and sustainable”.
Every year since 1998, Solidaris has been organising a festival in Namur that brings together “a family audience where all generations come together around the same desire for togetherness, social justice and the fight against inequality”.

And on this year’s programme, in addition to Zazie, Stéphane Eicher, Louise Attaque and many others, there was the rapper Médine! Médine is clearly the new darling of the left, as he is also a guest at the LFI Summer University and the EELV (Europe Écologie – Les Verts) Summer Day in Le Havre.

The invitation to Le Havre has been causing controversy in the French press for several days, as well as within the ecologist party and the French left: the mayor of Le Havre, Edouard Philippe, has announced that he will not be giving the traditional inaugural speech, and a number of French ecologist figures have decided to boycott the event, including the mayors of Bordeaux and Strasbourg.

In Belgium, on the other hand, Médine’s appearance did not seem to have moved many people until 22 August, three days before his concert. And it wasn’t until I publicly denounced his presence that the Belgian press finally got to grips with the subject, albeit in an extremely cautious and timid manner, concentrating essentially on the fact that the president of the Mouvement Réformateur (a liberal, centre-right party), Georges-Louis Bouchez, picked up on the news. The result, if not the objective, of this manoeuvre is obviously to polarise the debate by transforming it into a left/right divide, while other political figures such as François Desmet (Défi), Georges Dallemagne (Les Engagés) also condemned the invitation, as did the Belgian League against Anti-Semitism.

What Médine embodies so wonderfully is not the left, but its current Islamophilic, and therefore willingly anti-secular, deviation. Médine is the man who, in his song Don’t Laik, makes this appeal: “Crucifions les laïcards comme à Golgotha” (“Let’s crucify the secularists as we did at Golgotha”), pointing out what he sees as the Islamophobic excesses of French secularism, embodied in particular by Caroline Fourest. The song, Don’t Laik, was released on 1 January 2015, six days before the attack on Charlie Hebdo.

He was also guest of honour at the Foire Musulmane de Bruxelles in 2012 and 2013, an event organised by the Ligue des Musulmans de Belgique (LMB), considered by the Sûreté de l’État in 2020 to be the branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Belgium.

In 2018, Médine claimed to play the role of ambassador for Havre de Savoir, an association based in Normandy which, under the guise of “raising awareness of Islam and its values of openness and tolerance, its ethics and morals”, has, for example, defended the presumption of innocence of Mohammed Merah, the Toulouse and Montauban terrorist. The association has also invited a number of personalities close to the Muslim Brotherhood to speak at conferences, including Imam Iquioussen, who has since been expelled from France, and Tariq Ramadan.

Médine is also the man who attended a conference by the black supremacist Kémi Seba in Dieudonné’s theatre, and who distinguished himself with a quenelle in 2014 in support of Dieudonné. Recently, he described essayist Rachel Khan, a Jew and granddaughter of a deportee, as a “resKHANpée”, before claiming, following the outrage caused by this extremely tasteless pun, that he was not “alluding to any origin or family history”.

The man whom Tristane Banon recently described in Franc-Tireur as the “Tariq Ramadan of rap” claims to be a “secular Muslim”, considers himself to be a “demineraliser” and justifies his outrages by his “intellectual freedom”, “an outrageous, satirical spirit in the name of freedom of expression to be able to blaspheme a value when it has gone astray”.

But as Alexis Deck, EELV town councillor for Le Havre, analysed in a 2018 petition against Medine’s appearance at Le Bataclan(1), “The rapper Medine, in his violent and provocative lyrics, constantly plays with words and images, skilfully handling the ambiguity of terms, ‘jihad’, crucifixion of ‘secularists’, ‘fatwa’…. The clips and images are equally impressive, with swords, jihadist symbols, throat-cutting gestures and threatening ‘gangs’. The themes – the Algerian war, ‘Palestine’, anti-secularism – clearly convey a belligerent communitarianism that has an impact on young people”.

The least we can say is that, under the guise of outrage and satire, Médine takes up and magnifies the codes of political Islam, to which he is clearly close. But curiously, that’s not what Solidaris has in store for the rapper, whom she dares to praise in the following terms: “A gravelly timbre to highlight the finesse of his lyrics, an overflowing musicality that would make even the most elitists pale: that’s the artistic signature of Le Havre rapper Médine for eight albums now. Navigating easily between incisive punchlines, storytelling and intimate messages, the rapper from Le Havre has never hesitated to use his music to reveal himself and his flaws. Throughout his 15-year career, Médine has told stories of the eternal struggles that play out in the heart of every human being: between instinct and reason, principles and impulses, logic and emotion. His lyrics are original and powerful, leaving no listener indifferent. And his battles are worth listening to and supporting!

The message is clear: we must support Médine’s struggle… although it is not clear what noble struggle we should be supporting in the name of solidarity and social justice. In any case, they are not those of the historic left, either Belgian or French. The left that was still secular and universalist.

This is not the first time that Medina has been one of the “choice” guests of a left-wing party in Belgium. In 2015 and 2017, he appeared as the headliner of “Manifesta”, the solidarity festival organized each year by the far-left party PTB. And in 2022, he performed in Verviers as part of the Libertad festival.

On August 23, 2023, on the other hand, Solidaris took the decision, in consultation with Maxime Prévot, Mayor of the City of Namur, to deprogram Médine. On the contrary, the decision was taken “with a certain amount of consternation, but with a view to appeasement”, to avoid any outbursts tarnishing the festival.

Another way of saying that the problem is not Médine, but those who oppose his appearance !

 

  1. https://www.mesopinions.com/petition/politique/djihad-bataclan-respect-aux-victimes/44401