Paris | Sat, February 10, 2018 | 04:09 pm Muslim performer forced to give up French show over terror posts
Mennel Ibtissem, a 22-year-old student who wears a head cover, was one of the very best contestants within the Speech, where her British and Arabic version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah brought on a feeling. (Mennel Ibtissem’s Instagram/File)
A French Muslim singer who became an over night star after stunning judges on the TV talent show stop the contest Friday after arriving under open fire for earlier Facebook feedback about terror attacks.
Mennel Ibtissem, a 22-year-old scholar who would wear a head wrap, was one of the most notable contestants over the Voice, where her British and Arabic version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah induced a sensation.
But within days and nights of Saturday’s performance she was under pressure to bow out over old Facebook messages that seemed to question the terrorist nature of attacks that claimed results of lives in France in 2016.
The content have been deleted but display grabs of the remarks have been circulated on far-right websites.
In a single post following the July 2016 pickup truck attack in the location of Nice, where 86 individuals were killed, she said: “Here we go, it’s become a routine, an harm a week, and, as normal, the ‘terrorist’ needs his ID with him. It’s true that when you’re plotting something awful you never forget to take your papers together with you.”
She was referencing a series of jihadist assaults in France where police quickly called the killers through documents found on their bodies, including the 2015 Paris disorders that wiped out 130 people.
In another post, days and nights after two jihadists slit the neck of a priest in his Normandy cathedral, she had written: “The true terrorists are our government.”
The singer got apologized within the remarks, saying people of her family had been celebrating Bastille Day in Nice when the driver struck and this she have been “upset” by the inability of the regulators to prevent the attack.
– ‘Never meant to injure’ –
But the apology failed to quell the controversy.
With private broadcaster TF1 under pressure to pull her from the competition, including from family members of the subjects of the Nice assault, she quit on Friday.
“I never designed to harmed anyone and the mere thought that my remarks injure others hurts me, therefore i have taken your choice to give up this excitement,” she said in a Facebook video that has been seen over 860,000 times.
The creation company behind The Voice, ITV Studios France, said that despite her early apology the atmosphere on the show had become “too heavy” and hoped her decision to withdraw would “soothe tensions”.
However, many of her admirers indicated disappointment, amid allegations of anti-Muslim bias.
On Ibtissem’s Facebook page, Jihene Ferchiou had written: “We must not delude ourselves. Your turban, your faith, your origins were the obstacle.
“Clearly we’ve reached an unparalleled level of racism in France. It’s a disgrace.