French mayor fined €2000 for tweeting 'too many Muslim children'

Right-wing French mayor fined 2,000 euros for inciting hatred, after declaring there were 'too many Muslim children' in local schools.

Tags: Racism France
Yoel Domb ,

Muslim woman driving in Paris
Muslim woman driving in Paris
Serge Attal/Flash 90

A right-wing French mayor has been fined 2,000 euros for inciting hatred, after declaring that there were 'too many Muslim children' in his local schools, according to a report by the BBC.

Robert Menard, mayor of the southern town of Beziers, is an independent politician and ally of the anti-immigrant National Front party. On September 1, 2016, the first day of the school year 2016-2017, he tweeted that he was witnessing the "great replacement". This term is used to describe the alleged eviction of France's white Christian population by migrants.

On September 5th Menard said on LCI television: "In a class in the city centre of my town, 91% of the children are Muslims. Obviously, this is a problem. There are limits to tolerance."

Menard defended his comments by saying that: "I just described the situation in my town. It is not a value judgement, it's a fact. It's what I can see."

In addition to the fine, a Paris court awarded €1,000 (£850; $1,100) in court costs to anti-racist groups that had brought the case. The total fine was higher than the €1,800 called for by the public prosecutor, who said Menard had "pointed the finger at kids, whom he describes as a weight on the national community".

Menard says he will appeal against the ruling.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen is due to face centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in the second round of a presidential election on 7 May. She has temporarily stood down as president of the National Front, in an attempt to brand herself as the "candidate of the people".