French TV channel slammed for 'sensationalist' report on Muslims
A French TV programme about "the dangers of radical Islam" has come under fire on social media for its ‘Islamophobic’ and divisive undertones.
French channel M6 aired an episode of investigative show ‘Zone Interdite’ (Forbidden Zone) that examined the "spread" of Islam in France, with a focus on Roubaix, a town close to the French-Belgian border.
The programme's team was embedded with French intelligence, who followed and monitored individuals suspected of being "extremists".
Clips posted to social media from the documentary showed the team entering mosques, schools and shops to enquire about religious habits.
Les renseignements territoriaux suivent les islamistes considérés comme potentiellement dangereux. Un travail qui a permis de déjouer 37 attentats en France.— M6 (@M6) January 23, 2022
📺 "Face au danger de l’Islam radical, les réponses de l’État", dimanche à 21.10 dans #ZoneInterdite pic.twitter.com/XyWFP6d1Ic
Some social media users condemned the show, saying it deliberately twisted narratives to fit an Islamophobic agenda.
They said the programme is a result of the entrenchment of Islamophobia that France has witnessed in recent years, including through the controversial 2021 "anti-separatism" bill that saw scores of mosques placed on state surveillance lists and several more shut down for suspected radicalism.
Journalist and activist Feïza Ben Mohamed said via Twitter that the documentary was “sensationalist”.
"This report shows perfectly how the media fabricates 'the Muslim problem' to serve politics," she said.
Alors que depuis plusieurs semaines, l’Islam était plutôt absent de la sphère médiatique, #ZoneInterdite se lance corps et âmes dans une propagande à vomir. Ce reportage illustre à merveille comment les médias fabriquent « le problème musulman » pour servir le politique.— Feïza Ben Mohamed (@FeizaBM) January 23, 2022
However, some social media users said the programme showed the "truth" about Islam in France.
This isn’t the first time that M6 has broadcast a controversial program about Islam. In 2016, the channel aired a program questioning the secular republic's "failure" regarding Islam, drawing condemnation.