Relieved of his duties as leader of the National Front delegation in the European Parliament after calling for the “de-Islamification of France”, sources told AFP that Aymeric Chauprade is now the subject of a legal inquiry.
Extreme right MEP Aymeric Chauprade is under investigation by the French authorities for his controversial video response to the Paris terror attacks in January, French legal sources say. His comments had already cost him the leadership of the French National Front’s (NF) Brussels delegation.
In a press release published on his website on Thursday 4 June, the NF politician announced that he would use his immunity as a member of the European Parliament to refuse a police summons to give evidence in the investigation.
MEPs are protected against coercive measures like police custody, but their parliamentary immunity does not extend to protection from trial. According to a legal source, Aymeric Chauprade’s recent police summons was to a free hearing.
An inquiry was opened by the Paris prosecutor following complaints by several organisations, including the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra), the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) and SOS Racism.
The MEP is accused of inciting hate, violence and discrimination on the grounds of religion.
Aymeric Chauprade posted this video on the Internet after the terrorist attacks in Paris, between 7 and 9 January.
In the passage under investigation, Chauprade said: “We are told that the majority of Muslims are peaceful. Of course, but so were the majority of Germans before 1933 and National Socialism.” He also called on the French people to “fight the Islamification of our country”.
The video, in which the MEP denounced a “powerful fifth column” in France that could “turn against us at any moment” triggered strong reactions in France and beyond. Many MEPs were also shocked to learn that these comments, uttered during a European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg, had been recorded using the institution’s own technical services.
In response to the outcry, Marine Le Pen, the president of the National Front, stripped Aymeric Chauprade of his functions as her international affairs advisor and head of the party’s European Parliament delegation.
In spite of his demotion, Chauprade accompanied his party leader on her visit last month to the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Egypt, one of the most prestigious Sunni Islam institutions. Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb reportedly shared with Marine Le Pen his “serious reservations” over her “hostile position towards Islam and Muslims”.
The National Front leader later spoke of her “many converging points of view” with the Grand Imam.