A French teenager who lambasted Islam on social media has been put under police protection with her family following death and rape threats she has been receiving for the last two weeks.
Mila, who is 16 years old, has reignited a debate about free speech in France nearly five years after jihadists massacred cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo magazine due to cartoon portrayals of the Prophet Mohammed.
In her Instagram footage that provoked the backlash, she was doing her makeup and began informing those watching that she was a lesbian and “blacks and Arabs” were not her type after receiving messages complimenting her and asking if she would divulge her age, she told the host of French talk show “Le Quotidien” on Monday. (Related: Facebook To Give French Judges Identifying Data Of People Suspected Of Hate Speech, Official Says)
After this response, however, she began her diatribe that French politicians, Muslim groups and French citizens have either defended or rebuked on the basis of freedom of expression. “The Quran is a religion of hatred, there is only hatred in it,” she said in the stream. “Islam is shit.” She goes on to describe in vulgar terms what she would do to “your god,” according to France 24.
Since her video, a French education board insisted Mila stay home from school due to the threats she recieved after the video became viral, #JeSuisMila trending on Twitter in France, alluding to the hashtag that trended following the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. A senior member of the French Council of the Muslim Faith said on French radio that Mila “asked for it” and “you reap what you sow.” The president of the group, however, said that “nothing justifies death threats.” (Related: Foreign Leaders March For Free Speech In France, But Not At Home)
Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet also denounced the death threats Mila received as “unacceptable in a democracy,” but rebuked the remarks Mila made about Islam as “clearly an infringement on freedom of conscience.” Bruno Retailleau, the senate leader of France’s main opposition Republican Party, defended Mila against “this political Islam which is trampling our values.” Marine Le Pen, the far-right National Rally leader, tweeted that Mila is “braver than the whole political class in power over the last 30 years.” Former Socialist presidential leader Segolene Royal defended Mila’s freedom to criticize a religion, but she should have shown more “respect, manners, and knowledge,” and shouldn’t be made into a icon of freedom of expression.
Il y a plus de courage chez cette jeune fille que chez toute la classe politique au pouvoir depuis 30 ans ! MLP https://t.co/hgmyX8QCte
— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) February 4, 2020
Mila said on Monday that she did not regret her remarks and has a right to blaspheme, but that she apologized to people who may have been offended.