Facebook draws 7,000 to anti-Muslim pork sausage party in Paris
A group calling for "resistance to the Islamization of France" is using Facebook to advertise an anti-Muslim party at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris Friday. Some 7,000 have RSVPed already.
French organizers of a so-called “pork sausage and booze” party in Paris – designed as a deliberate provocation against Muslims – will move it from a heavily Muslim neighborhood to the Arc de Triomphe on Friday.Skip to next paragraph
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The group, "Identity Block," called the new venue “Plan B,” after Paris police banned their bash this week on grounds of maintaining public order.
Advertised on Facebook and receiving some 7,000 RSVPs, the party is billed as a “resistance to the Islamization of France.” It was initially planned to take place next to a mosque in the 18th district after Friday prayers, and on the same day as the English-Algerian World Cup soccer match.
The date holds meaning for the French: On June 18, 1940, Charles DeGaulle issued his famous call for the French to resist Nazi occupation in World War II.
“Identity Block” is an assortment of mostly French right-wing groups.
Today, the group sent out a press release, calling upon “all Parisians … and French” to meet at the Arc de Triomphe Friday to eat ham and drink grape juice, fly French flags, protest the police ban, and listen to speeches against “religious control of public space” in France – a reference to the majority Arab-Muslim Goutte d’Or neighborhood where the sausage and wine party was to be held.
Fadela Amara, a French federal minister of Algerian origin, calls the implicit protest against Muslims "hateful, racist, and xenophobic."
Why the Arc de Triomphe?
The idea to gather at the Arc de Triomphe is described by Identity Block as symbolic, since it was where 2,000 schoolboys defied a Nazi ban on protest and marched against the occupying forces some 70 years ago.
The plan to hold a pork-and-wine bash in Goutte d’Or, where the overcrowded mosque spills into the streets on Fridays, was considered provocative enough to cause a riot. Islam forbids the consumption of pork and alcoholic beverages.
But it is also the latest and most public example of France’s current identity and culture wars aimed mainly at Muslims. In the past year, a controversial “national identity” debate run by the ruling party has gone along with a nearly completed federal ban in public places of the full-length veil or burqa worn by Muslim women. France is home to Europe’s largest Muslim population, some 4 million, most of whom are of North African origin.
Facebook flash mob
The pork bash and protest is also seen as an example of Facebook’s power to quickly mobilize large crowds. The right-wing pork party is a further morphing here of a new fad called “apéro géant” – huge binge-drinking parties organized overnight on Facebook. Apéro is short for apéritif, and geant means giant.