France's Grenoble street art festival loses subsidies over hijab mural
A street-art festival in the French mountain town of Grenoble has had its subsidies suspended by the regional authority because of a mural of a women wearing the Islamic hijab, according to French outlet Le Dauphine.
Authorities in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region of France claimed that the mural of the women in a hijab was "provocative" and "unacceptable".
They claimed that showing the image fuelled violence and hatred, and only benefited "extremists".
In the artwork, titled ‘Bad Religion?’, a women can be seen wearing a blue stripped hijab, evocative of the uniforms that Jews in Nazi concentration camps were forced to wear, and a yellow start of David, with the word 'Muslim' written on it, once more stirring memories of the Nazi persecution of the Jews.
The artist responsible for the street art is an anonymous figure, who goes by the name 'Goin'.
The festival’s director, Jerome Catz, said the artist wanted the mural to draw attention to the reality that some people face discrimination because of their religious beliefs.
Catz said he believed that the reason behind the decision to withhold the €10,000 in funding was "purely political" and linked to the upcoming presidential election in France, set for April.
The artwork was defaced after the decision to withhold the subsidies was announced. Black paint was used to cover the women’s face and the start of David.
French politicians and the French government have recently ramped up pressure against France's Muslim community, raiding mosques and Islamic foundations, and proposing to implement “anti-separatism” law, which would impose restrictions on the French minority.
A French presidential candidate, Eric Zemmour, along with the infamous Marine Le Pen, have both spread hatred about Muslims, with the former being found guilty in court of racist hate speech.
The Grenoble Street Art Festival runs from 21 January to 19 March.