French far-right politician makes Islamophobic remarks about Morocco women's team following France win

French far-right politician makes Islamophobic remarks about Morocco women's team following France win
Julien Odoul has made Islamophobic and racially-charged comments on ethnic minorities and Muslim women throughout his political career.
3 min read
09 August, 2023
Odoul's comments on the Moroccan football team - which includes a hijab-wearing player - were lambasted on social media [Getty]

A French far-right politician has come under fire for making "Islamophobic" comments regarding the Moroccan women’s football team following their defeat to France on Tuesday.

Julien Odoul, a member of the National Rally (RN) party, which is headed by Marine Le Pen, called France’s 4-0 victory over Morocco "a win for women’s rights and freedom against the Islamist ideology" in a tweet following the match.

He also said that "the hijab is eliminated" in a comment seemingly targeting Moroccan defender Nouhaila Benzina, who became the first footballer to sport the Muslim headscarf at the Women's World Cup.

In another tweet, Odoul remarked that Morocco’s loss was "humiliating for the Muslim Brotherhood" and that "Sharia [law] will never be the law in France", in an apparent response to a post by Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan.

Earlier, Ramadan said a potential Moroccan victory with Benzina in their squad would be "humiliating" for "the French media who disguises their Islamophobia behind secularism, whose meaning they have corrupted."

The far-right politician’s comments were lambasted by many social media users. One city councillor, Amine Saha, said: "Your mask has finally fallen, what you [actually] wish for is not women’s freedom but their submission. Your [comment saying] 'the hijab is eliminated' sounds like 'the Muslim women are eliminated'".

Left-wing politician François Piquemal, said: "Despite the French team’s victory, you manage to exploit them to vent your hatred of others."

Many also pointed out the irony in Odoul's comments, given that many members of the French team are Muslim.

Odoul, who’s been a member of the National Rally party since 2014, has targeted ethnic minorities and Muslim women with similar inflammatory comments in the past.

In October 2019, the politician targeted a French Muslim woman for wearing a hijab on a school trip with her son at a regional assembly in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, demanding that she remove her headscarf.

He said that wearing the veil was a "provocation" and couldn’t be "tolerated" following the stabbing of four policemen in Paris by a Muslim convert earlier that month.

The woman went on to take legal action against Oudol, citing "violence of a racial nature committed by persons with 'public authority' and 'incitement of racial hatred'".

The RN member previously targeted Morocco and PSG footballer Achraf Hakimi in September 2021 for saying that Paris’s Arab and Muslim communities made it "feel like home."

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Xenophobia and religious discrimination are commonplace in France, with many laws perceived as discriminatory in place, such as a ban on the hijab in women’s football and a ban on face coverings such as the niqab in public places.

France is also home to western Europe’s largest Muslim community, numbering at approximately 10 percent of the population.