French Politicians, Media Attack Ballon d’Or Winner Benzema for Solidarity with Gaza

Football star Karim Benzema. (Photo: Антон Зайцев, via Wikimedia Commons)

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has accused renowned footballer, Karim Benzema of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a proscribed group in France, after he voiced support for Palestinians in Gaza.

“We have closed 1,100 Islamist establishments. And in recent weeks, I’ve been particularly interested, Mr. Benzema is linked, we all know it, notoriously with the Muslim Brotherhood,” Darmamin said last Monday, speaking to French outlet CNews.

“We are attacking a hydra that is the Muslim Brotherhood because they create an ‘atmospheric jihadism’,” Darmamin added.

Following Darmanin’s baseless allegations, French Senator Valerie Boyer, vice-president of the conservative Les Républicains Party, called to strip Benzema of his French citizenship.

International Athletes Raise Their Voice: I Stand in Solidarity with Gaza

“If the minister’s comments are true, we have to consider sanctions against Karim Benzema,” Boyer said on X.

Boyer even called to take away Benzema’s Ballon d’Or; the highest individual award a professional football player can receive, which Benzema won in 2022, claiming it could be a “first, symbolic sanction,” and suggested “the deprivation of his nationality” as a second punitive measure against the Franco-Algerian player.

Benzema posted his support for Palestinians on Sunday amid Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza, which has killed over 3,800 Palestinians, a majority of them women and children.

“All our prayers are for the people of Gaza who once again fell victim to this unjust bombing, which did not spare women or children,” Benzema said on X.

In response to the French official’s accusations, Benzema’s lawyer Hugues Vigier said in a statement: “This is false! Karim Benzema has never had the slightest relationship with this organization.”

He added that Benzema expressed “natural compassion” with “what many today describe as war crimes being committed in Gaza, but which does not detract from the horror of the terrorist acts of October 7, something not open to discussion.”

The lawyer added that the footballer was planning to file a complaint against Darmanin for his comments.


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