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Saied's 'racist' remarks applauded by far-right French politician Eric Zemmour

February 23, 2023 at 11:39 am

France’s far-right party “Reconquete!” leader Eric Zemmour delivers a speech during a political rally to mark the first anniversary of his party on December 4, 2022 [Chesnot/Getty Images]

The French far-right politician Eric Zemmour has sparked controversy after he exploited Tunisian President Kais Saied’s statement about the existence of a “conspiracy” to settle Africans in Tunis, to support his extremist theory of the “Great Replacement”.

On Tuesday, Saied said there was a “criminal arrangement” to settle African immigrants in Tunisia to change its demography as an “Arab and Islamic country.”

Zemmour, leader of the far-right Reconquest Party, commented on Saied’s statement, saying: “The countries of the Maghreb region have begun to sound the alarm in the face of the escalation of immigration. Tunisia wants to take urgent action to protect its people. What are we waiting for to fight the Great Replacement?”

The “Great Replacement” is an extreme far-right theory developed by the French writer Renaud Camus in 2010. It is based on the idea of a “conspiracy” to replace the white Christian European population with a Muslim and Arab population from the Middle East and Africa. This theory has led to a number of Islamophobic and racist attacks against minority groups in the West.

READ: Human rights organisations condemn Saied’s ‘racist’ migrant speech

Sherif Al-Kharaifi, a leader in Tunisia’s Workers’ Party, addressed Saied following Zemmour’s comments and said: “Mr President, the extremist Eric Zemmour greets you and thanks you for this precious gift!”

He continued: “It is true that Europeans are concerned about the presence of irregular immigrants (and even regular ones) for many reasons (primarily political and economic), but the presidents of these countries have never stated what you have said (except for some extreme far-right and populist voices)!”

Activist Jawhar El Matmati added: “Eric Zemmour ran in France and won in Tunisia. Read the comments on Saied’s statement and you will understand how racist the Tunisian people are. The Tunisian people who complain about the racism of the extreme far-right in Europe that seek to implement the theory of the ‘Great Replacement’ come today to say that Africans represent a threat to Tunisia’s demography and its belonging to the Islamic nation.”