Far-right France website probed after 'leak' of Muslim personal data
A criminal investigation has been opened against a far-right website that published data about leading French Muslim figures, prosecutors in France confirmed on Wednesday.
The far-right website, Fdesouche, allegedly leaked a file containing personal information about several notable Muslim figures including imams, journalists, and activists, who they labeled as "Islamo-leftists", Anadolu Agency's French reported.
The complaint was made by journalist Taha Bouhafs and his lawyer Arie Alimi on behalf of over 100 victims when the data was leaked last September.
The list included several members of the left-wing political party "France Insoumise", headed by third-place presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, as well as journalist Feiza Ben Mohamed.
Bouhafs, who is an anti-racism and anti-police brutality activist, confirmed the opening of the investigation on social media.
Suite à mes révélations sur l’existence d’un fichage de personnalités politiques « islamogauchistes » par le site d’extrême droite Fdesouche administré entre autres par Damien Rieu.— Taha Bouhafs 🔻 (@T_Bouhafs) April 26, 2022
Le parquet de paris vient d’ouvrir une enquête préliminaire.#Journalisme #Impact #MerciAuRevoir pic.twitter.com/i0GuC5nib4
According to the Paris prosecutor's office, the investigation was entrusted to the Banditry Repression Brigade, a police special unit of France’s ministry of interior.
The leaked document dates back to November 2019, when the website published the names and professions of a group Muslim activists who called for a demonstration against Islamophobia. The activists' political views were also detailed in the data leaks.
Fdesouche was responsible for another data breach in 2017, according to the French edition of the Huffington Post.
The file included private details such as email addresses and phone numbers of people working with organisations aiding migrants and refugees.
Pierre Sautarel, one of Fdesouche's editors, said that they did not partake in "anything illegal” and that the data "was public", reported the French daily Ouest-France.
France is home to Europe’s largest Muslim community, numbering approximately 5.7 million people.
Activists say that French Muslims are subject to discriminatory policies in France, such as the so-called "anti-separatism" law, and the government dissolving organisations monitoring Islamophobia.