Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
This far-right politician has claimed that Arabic has become France’s second language and highlighted it with a photograph showing a coronavirus health poster in French next to one in Arabic.
Local media report his message implying that Arabic is now so prevalent that it is the second language chosen on important messages to citizens has been widely shared online by netizens.
The only problem is that it is fake news, with local media quick to point out that these signs exist in 24 languages, including Amharic, Albanian, German, English, Bengali, Bulgarian, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Georgian, Urdu, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian and Tamil.
But when Alain Mondino, a supporter of far-right politician Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN; formerly the Front National), shared the information online, he failed to mention this.
He captioned the photo with the message: “I did not know that Arabic had become the second official language of France ?? No one is supposed to ignore the law, but ignoring French apparently doesn’t matter…”
The politician is no stranger to controversy, and only last week he caused outrage when he posted an antisemitic video on social media linking Jews to the spread of the coronavirus.
His latest hate message was left in place on social media giant Facebook, who did however flag that it was questionable. People viewing the post on Facebook also saw a message saying “partly false information” that now appears over the photograph.
Local media report that his post was shared by numerous netizens and reposted, often with racist comments, including “a cancer eating away at us fast” and “a willful, planned and executed invasion”, among others.
The Sante Publique (Public Health) website that shows the posters in numerous other languages said: “These documents were designed in response to the needs of vulnerable populations.”
They summarise most of the messages sent to the general public and also attempt to include people in other situations and living conditions, for example, care homes or even the homeless.
Alain Mondino is head of the far-right RN list in municipal elections in the Paris suburb of Villepinte.
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