In the first hours after the attack, journalists and politicians took to Twitter to blame Muslims and demand they disassociate themselves from the violence.
Secretary general of the Tory “Republicans” party Laurent Wauquiez even demanded “an internment camp for the 4,000 people monitored for terrorism”.
Overnight racist graffiti appeared on at least three mosques and a Muslim-owned shop.
At Evreux in northern France “death to Muslims” was sprayed on the town hall.
At gatherings to mourn the dead in Lille and Metz last Saturday, small groups of fascists were given short shrift.
But despite a number of demonstrations being banned under the state of emergency, a far right protest against refugees went ahead in Pontivy inBrittany.
Eyewitnesses reported marchers assaulting a dark-skinned passer-by and chasing after others.
This comes in a context of deep racism in France, particularly against Muslims.
Contrary to claims widely made in the media—and echoed by Labour MP Tristram Hunt—the bloodshed was not the worst Paris has seen since the Second World War.
Over 200 Algerian protesters were killed on 17 October 1961, by police led by former Nazi collaborator Maurice Papon.
The past 20 years have seen a series of laws restricting Muslims’ rights, and there are currently moves to eliminate pork-free meals in manyschools.
The fascist Front National was already expected to do well in regional elections next month. It looks set to be the main beneficiary of the crisis.
French socialist activist Sellouma said, “Few people are motivated to vote, given the impasse French politics has been in for several years.
“All the main parties are pushing to the right. It’s the Front National and other fascist groups that will win at this game.”
But there is potential to fight back—as underlined by a large march against racism in Paris last month.
Sellouma said, “My hope is that the effect of the attacks will push the section of the left that opposes Islamophobia to get its act together.”
The Things They Say
‘Close down all Mosques, Madrasas, ban the Hijab, Burka & all religious displays in public. People dying due to this alien religion’
Ukip candidate Adrian Howard on Twitter
‘Why aren’t we standing up to the enemy within?’
A headline in the Daily Telegraph newspaper
‘Deadly threat of Britain’s enemy within’
A headline in the Daily Mail newspaper
‘We should be alarmed by the presence of an enemy within’
Max Hastings in the Daily Mail
‘Implement some admittedly harsh measures’
What Hastings wants to see to stop terrorism
‘Written in the blood of innocents, the folly of a Europe with no borders’
A headline in the Daily Mail