FRANCE

To Arabs, Le Pen Is The Only One Who Benefits From Paris Attack

The hardline presidential candidate has made fighting 'radical Islam' a theme in her campaign

FRANCE
REUTERS
Apr 21, 2017 at 8:20 AM ET

At least one of her opponents may have called off campaign events in the wake of Thursday’s shooting attack in Paris, but presidential candidate and hardline conservative Marine Le Pen is expected to benefit the most from the terror incident, at least Arabs watching events from the Middle East believe.

The Islamic State claimed one of its followers carried out the shooting of French police officers along the famed Champs-Elysee boulevard on Thursday evening. A 39-year-old man fired on officers, killing one before he was shot dead by security forces. According to local reports, he was known to French police and was considered a potential Islamist radical.

Le Pen, who has often employed hardline rhetoric against Islam and immigration during her campaign delivered a speech early Friday despite calls from other candidates to put aside politics for now. She said “Islamism is a monstrous totalitarian ideology that has declared war on our nation” and promised to wage war against radical Islam.

“I call for the awakening of our people’s ancient soul, capable of opposing a bloodthirsty barbarism.” She also called on the French government to immediately reinstate border checks and expel foreigners who are on the watch lists of intelligence services.

“Le Pen is the only one who benefits, we know that ISIS intervened to help the worst,” wrote one person watching from Egypt. “Does ISIS know that with this attack they support the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen? Everything ISIS did was disastrous for Muslims,” tweeted another. Others echoed the belief that “ISIS is voting for Le Pen,” saying “ISIS is granting Marine Le Pen her victory in the elections.” One said “the terror that hit Paris again and hits Europe and most of the Arab countries is serving the far right to gain power.”

The assailant in Paris, who was named by ISIS as “Abu Yousef al-Belgiki,” (the Belgian) was known to French police and had been considered a potential Islamist radical. On Friday French Police arrested three family members of the gunman. A second man suspected of being linked to the shooting surrendered to authorities in Belgium.