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Five ways France's Zemmour sparks controversy

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A screen grab shows French far-right media pundit Eric Zemmour delivering a speech to announce his candidacy for the 2022 Presidential election in a video broadcast on his Youtube channel, on November 30, 2021 in Paris. (Photo: AFP)
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French far-right TV pundit Eric Zemmour, who declared Tuesday he was running for president next year, has forged his reputation on controversial stances over issues including immigration, Islam, and France's identity.اضافة اعلان
AFP looks at some of his views, which have led to numerous police investigations for hate speech and several convictions: 

Immigration

One of the central ideas of Zemmour's rhetoric is that France is heading for civil war due to racial and religious tensions caused by mass immigration.
This was the theme of his best-selling book in 2014, "Le Suicide Francais" (French Suicide), which sold more than half a million copies. 

He is an advocate of the "great replacement theory" favored by white supremacists which posits that Europe is being deliberately populated by foreigners — "colonizers" in his terms — which are pushing out natives.
"The great replacement is neither a myth, nor a conspiracy, but a relentless process," he wrote in his latest book published this year.

He is being prosecuted for calling child asylum seekers "thieves, killers and rapists" and was convicted for saying that the reason non-white people were stopped more by the police was because "most drug dealers are black and Arab."

Islam

Although of Algerian Jewish descent himself, Zemmour sees himself as an ultra-nationalist defender of France's Christian heritage — against the imposition of what he sees as Islamic values and culture. 

He regularly says that "Islam is incompatible with the French republic", and he makes no distinction between practicing French Muslims and Islamists, who seek to impose their religion on the rest of society.

In January last year, he talked in favor of "re-migration" and the idea of "sending back immigrants who do not assimilate", although he has ruled out expelling naturalized French people of foreign background. 
He caused an outcry by expressing "respect" for the jihadists who attacked the Bataclan concert hall in Paris in 2015.

"I respect people who are prepared to die for what they believe in, something which we are no longer capable of doing," he said in an interview with Causeur magazine in October 2016. 

Women

Zemmour's 2006 book called "The First Sex" helped make his name in France when he was a journalist at Le Figaro newspaper.

The openly sexist text argued that much of France's social ills and decline could be attributed to the "feminization" of society and the loss of male "virility".
As well as arguing in favor of prostitution and blaming women for too much shopping, he criticized feminists for their campaign to rid society of sexual violence.

He returned to the subject in "French Suicide", saying he regretted that "before feminism," a bus driver could "slide a concupiscent hand over a desirable female bottom" without risking prosecution for sexual harassment.  
As for women as leaders, they "don't express power, they don't embody it. Power evaporates when they arrive," he told the BFM channel in 2013.
 
World War II   

Zemmour has been accused by historians and Holocaust survivors of trying to rehabilitate France's disgraced Vichy regime during World War II, which collaborated with the Nazis following the occupation of France in 1940.
In "French Suicide", he argued that the head of the collaborationist French regime, Philippe Petain, tried to save French Jews by deporting foreign Jews instead.

"I say that Vichy protected French Jews and handed over foreign Jews," he said on CNews in September this year, whereas archive documents have shown Petain himself demanded changes to toughen up an anti-Semitic law. 
Zemmour says one of his battles is against "repentance" and of "telling French people they are guilty all of the time".

Zemmour has described himself as an "adversary" of what he calls the "gay lobby" and a defender of the "heterosexual norm".

He fiercely opposed gay marriage when it was legalized by the former socialist government in 2013.

Read more Opinion and Analysis
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