We are extremists’ grandparents

Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli Former Minister of Oil

THE French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was defeated by the now President-elect Emmanuel Macron in last Sunday’s presidential election with the latter winning an unprecedented 66 percent of the casted votes and Le Pen just 34 percent.

No attacks on foreigners especially Arabs and Muslims were attributed to Macron during his campaign, unlike that of Le Pen due to her far-right political views.

Without any doubt, the win of the moderate pro-European Union presidential candidate Macron has given huge reassurance to the entire world. This is because the world does not need a Trump-like individual to lead another major country. However, this is not our topic for today.

Today’s topic concerns an amusing article written by a colleague Inaam Kachachi, which was published in the Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper. In this article, she narrated the story of her Arab friend living in Canada who has a huge interest in issues concerning genealogy and migrations, or what is known as “acculturation”.

During the recent French election campaign, several articles were published in both French and Arab newspapers concerning the origin and genealogy of “Marine Le Pen”.

One of the genealogists mentioned in his article that the origin of Marine Le Pen’s family especially her father, the founder of the “Front National” (a right-wing populist and nationalist political party), can be traced back to a Tunisian fighter called “Ben Ali”. He was a soldier under the command of Abdulrahman Al-Ghafiqi, the governor of Andalusia (Spain).

Commander Al-Ghafiqi had reached the borders of Poitiers city in France, where he was defeated in the “Battle of the Palace of Martyrs”. The remnants of his battalion withdrew to Andalusia. As it appears, several defeated Muslim soldiers remained there and worked in the farms including Le Pen’s grandfather “Ben Ali”.

The genealogy expert continues to say that a European girl fell in love with an Arab worker. They then got married and begot children and grandchildren. Later, when the family embraced Christianity and Judaism, they shortened their name by removing “Ali” and adding the definite clause “Le” (the) such that the name ended up being pronounced as “Le Pen” (The Pen; with Pen replacing Ben).

Considering these facts, the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who is known for her negative stance against everything that is Arab and Muslim, turns out to be the granddaughter of an Arab and Muslim jihadist.

I felt sad when I read this story. The West accuses us Muslims and Arabs of being responsible for the modern terrorism, which is going on around the world under the name of Islam and Arab when in reality, Islam and Arabs have nothing to do with terrorism.

The matter has escalated to such an extent that our blood is also accused of running through the veins of every extremist in the West who is considered odd in terms of the prevailing Western-society postulates such as freedom, equality, fraternity, equal opportunities, freedom of worship and religious practice, and so on.

E-mail: ali-albaghli@hotmail.com

By Ali Al-Baghli

Former Minister of Oil

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