COMMON CAUSE

It is time for Twitter to shut Marine Le Pen’s account, as it has others who spread ISIL’s hate

Marine Le Pen has proven she is aligned with the ISIL Islamo-fascists, by promoting the violence and murder they fetishize, and insulting the victims of terrorism.

Accused on French radio yesterday (Dec. 16) of sharing a “community of spirit” with the so-called caliphate and its jihadist recruits bent on inciting civil war between Muslims and everyone else, how did the leader of the far-right National Front respond?

By Twitter-screaming “Daesh is THIS” and posting an obscene, unfiltered ISIL propaganda image of the body of journalist James Foley, in close view, after he was beheaded last year. Then she immediately followed up her atrocity by Tweeting successive photographs of executions, again humiliating those assassinated at the hands of this rampaging revolutionary offshoot of radical Salafist Sunni Islam.

Not even the pleas of Foley’s parents, who have demanded she remove the “shamefully uncensored” photographs of their son and others, could immediately move Le Pen to action. “We are deeply disturbed by the unsolicited use of Jim for Le Pen’s political purposes and hope that the picture of our son, along with two other graphic photographs, are taken down immediately,” John and Diane Foley said in a statement. Finally, under heavy pressure, and after almost 24 hours, Le Pen deleted the beheading image just before 10am in France on Dec. 17, but left the two other execution photos.

The cascade of hate and horror from Le Pen’s Twitter feed, which has more than 830,000 followers, and the hurried retweeting of her outrage by sycophantic National Front lackeys, whose posts were instantaneously shared hundreds more times, was so shocking, many thought her account had been hacked.

But no, she underscored the personal, diabolical decision by signing her Tweets “MLP”, so everybody knew the party boss was directly behind them.

Of course, Le Pen’s hysterical online fury is unsurprising given that the French radio interview that set her on the Twitter rage, featured the renowned Islam specialist Gilles Kepel, who told Quartz this week that the far right shares a common cause with ISIL, and glories in its successes.

Le Pen has proved the precise point Kepel and interviewer Jean-Jacques Bourdin were making during the radio interview, as they discussed links and similarities between the identity politics of ISIL and the National Front.

The author of the new book Terror in the Hexagon: the Genesis of French Jihad, Kepel argues that the two extremist phenomena of ISIL-inspired jihadism and the far right are in a certain sense allies.

“They both want to create a society split into two distinct groups: on one side, Muslims who are victims of what is relentlessly termed ‘Islamophobia’ and on the other the extreme right” with its base of supporters who want Muslims and immigrants out, he told Quartz.

“Of course they are not the same”, the professor of political science at Paris’s Sciences Po told Bourdin, but ISIL and the FN are two phenomena that “resemble each other”, in their desire to provoke a war of enclaves, to destroy the social fabric of a multi-ethnic pluralist country like France.

The provocation is working—almost 7 million voted for the National Front in last weekend’s regional elections. At the same time there is increasing support for Salafism and jihadism in France. Indeed, as Kepel told Quartz, the far right and the Salafists, have plenty of values in common–they opposed gay marriage and even marched together against it, and have sometimes even done electoral deals in regions of France.

The photographs Le Pen shared are widely available online. But what does it say about an aspiring president of France that she is spreading the images of hate, like any low-level online troll? The ruse has spectacularly backfired, earning her widespread condemnation and a police investigation for “dissemination of violent images”, as well as the threat of jail time.

We are once again reminded how much the National Front leader and other far right demagogues, who are tearing at the fabric of multi-ethnic, culturally and religiously diverse democracies, revel in ISIL’s rise to prominence.

They literally traffic in the images of death that are the terrorists’ stock in trade.

Like fascist leaders throughout history that Le Pen is drawn to, she is using graphic violence for her own propaganda purposes, dehumanizing individual victims and making a banality out of evil. The National Front leader made the murdered men in the photographs an object in her nefarious plan to turn France and Europe into the chaotic mess ISIL so zealously desires.

By doing so however, she forgot her carefully constructed image as the “acceptable face” of far right, slipping back in to the scandal still associated with her estranged father Jean-Marie Le Pen, the Algerian war torturer and Holocaust denier.

I read that the images had been masked with warning notices, and turned to Le Pen’s Twitter feed, only to be confronted by them against my will. And now I feel sick, like an unwilling participant in the misery inflicted on this man and his family.

It is as if I too violated James Foley’s memory by viewing the grotesque images, that, each time they are posted and seen, are like he is being murdered all over again.

A little over a year ago Twitter closed accounts known to be sharing the images of Foley’s horrifying execution. Why don’t they do the same to Le Pen?

Follow Emma-Kate on Twitter at @eksymons. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

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