In a recent twist of narrative, U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) served up a heaping dose of Islamophobia on Twitter. Commenting on the ongoing protests in France following the tragic shooting of a seventeen-year-old by law enforcement, Greene manipulated the narrative to favor her own hardline views on gun control and immigration.
In her tweet, Greene warns America to “pay attention” to France’s experience with “a radical Islamic violent uprising destroying France and overwhelming their police.” She claims that France’s strict gun control measures have left its people vulnerable, while their acceptance of Muslim immigrants over the past two decades has brought turmoil to the country.
Let’s address the first falsehood: Greene’s portrayal of the unrest in France is grossly misrepresented. The victim of the tragic shooting, Nahel, was of Algerian heritage and was fatally shot during a routine traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. Contrary to Greene’s claim, footage of the incident showed no immediate threat to the police officer who discharged his weapon.
Nanterre prosecutor Pascal Prache confirmed that it’s believed the officer acted illegally in using his weapon. Currently, the officer is under formal investigation for voluntary homicide and has been placed in preliminary detention. Nahel’s grieving family has called for an end to the violence.
Now, onto the second misrepresentation: France’s relationship with guns. According to Frenchly’s data from May 2022, the number of firearm deaths (including homicides, suicides, and accidents) in France is around 2.5 people per 100,000 inhabitants each year. Compare this to the U.S., where this rate jumps to more than 12 per 100,000 inhabitants. So, for every person who dies from firearms in France, about five do so in the U.S.
As for Greene’s allusion to France’s “strict” gun control measures being a problem, it’s worth mentioning that the illegal flow of arms across Europe’s porous borders has been a persistent issue. Even so, France maintains a strong stance on gun ownership, with laws banning military-grade guns and requiring annual mental, physical, and health checks for weapon owners.
Lastly, Greene’s insinuation that France’s Muslim immigrants are causing a “violent uprising” is an egregious generalization. As progressives, we must recognize that attributing violence to an entire religious or ethnic group only fuels more division and hate. Instead, we should focus on addressing the real issues, such as police brutality and gun control, with comprehensive policies grounded in justice, equality, and human rights.