Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
The French teenager who received death threats after footage of her saying that Islam was a “sh*t” religion went viral online, has come out of hiding and said she “does not regret” her comments during a TV interview yesterday evening.
The teenager, only identified as Mila, appeared yesterday evening on the French TV programme Quotidien, aired by TMC and presented by Yann Barthes, in what the programme advertised was her “unique and only interview”.
The official Quotidien Twitter account shared a short clip of her speaking on the show yesterday evening at 8:46pm and it has already notched up over 2.3 million views, over 1,400 retweets and over 5,700 likes.
In the clip, Mila says: “I would like to clarify that… I would like to come back to the subject about the fact that I absolutely do not regret what I said, that it was really what I thought -“
Then Yann Barhes says: “That you don’t regret the right to blaspheme?”
And Mila replies: “Yes, that’s right. The right to blaspheme. And I don’t have to hide for this reason. I don’t have to stop living for this. But I would still like to say that in some way I am a little bit sorry towards the people who I might have hurt who practise their religion in peace, and I never wanted to target human beings. I simply wanted to… blaspheme… I wanted to talk about a religion, and say what I thought about it, and that’s all.”
While it was not in the short clip shared by Quotidien on their Twitter account (but it can be viewed elsewhere online), on the programme, Mila also said: “There are two things I regret in this story. The first is that I said it on social media because I had not taken into account how big it could get and [I also regret] having said it in such a vulgar way, because I could have argued my point better.”
When asked by Yann Barthes: “Could you have said these words about another religion?”
Mila replies: “Yes, of course.”
Barthes then asks: “Have you always been an atheist?”
And Mila replies: “I have always been an atheist.”
Barthes then says: “The law says something very simple. One can insult a religion but not citizens because of their religious beliefs. And you say in the video ‘one cannot be racist towards a religion.’ Is this a question you had already thought about?”
Mila replies: “Yes, of course.”
Barthes says: “To be so on point.”
Mila then replies: “There is a difference between religion and people. And people who are not capable of telling the difference are morons.”
Netizens commenting on the short clip Quotidien shared on Twitter appeared to be split, with many writing very supportive comments while others criticised Mila.
‘Lyes_Alouane’ said: “Proud of you.”
And ‘Pagondorf’ said: “It should also be noted that she was responding to a guy who, after harassing her, wanted to kill her in the name of Allah. It is not said enough, there is a context.”
While ‘ET45598117’ added: “16 years old. Bravo for this courage and consistency. Which so many people are missing… and who should be ashamed of themselves.”
But ‘Yougo18999512’ said: “I have a question about the right to blasphemy. If this young girl had made the same comments but about the Jewish religion? We would still be using the blasphemy argument ????”
The clip Mila made, and which was widely reposted online, making it go viral, has caused heated debate in France, where the country’s left-wing elite has been accused of cowardice for not speaking out in defence of the teenager, who faced death threats for insulting Islam.
Police reportedly told her that it is too dangerous for her to return to her high school and she is said to be struggling to find another that would be willing to take her in.
Richard Malka, her lawyer, told The Times: “It is the left that traditionally defends secularism in this country. It saddens me that it has not done so in this case”, adding that her situation had been ignored by feminist and left-wing groups, which are usually rather quick to defend female victims of verbal and physical violence.
Mila’s outburst in a video broadcast live online on Instagram led to her being targeted with a torrent of abuse. In a row with a Muslim man whose advances she rebuffed, she had said: “I hate religion. The Koran is… full of hate… Islam is a sh*t religion.”
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