At 71, this is the first time that Sarah, a Muslim from Val-de-Marne wearing a headscarf, parades through the streets of the capital. "I can not shut up anymore, otherwise it would mean that I agree with the current climate. Some time ago, in the bus, a guy who looked good in every way insulted me by saying: Go back to the bled, dirty Arab! "Says this Franco-Algerian," mother of a teacher and an engineer. "
Like her, they are 13,500 protesters – according to the independent counting of the firm Occurrence for a collective of media including the Parisian-Today in France – to have walked to say "stop to Islamophobia", Sunday, November 10, in the afternoon, between Gare du Nord and Place de la Nation in Paris.
A controversial march that, by the profile of its instigators as the term used ("liberticidal laws", "Islamophobia") has torn the political class, especially on the left, in recent days and provoked a government outcry. It has also divided the Muslim community itself.
"The polemics, we do not care about it"
Sunday, the imam of Bordeaux, Tareq Oubrou, has distanced himself from the organizers of the rally, which he "does not share the point of view." "I am not against the demonstrations, provided that the event is a moment of understanding and appeasement, no tension society," he told the microphone of Europe 1.
In the procession took place the leader of La France Insoumise Jean-Luc Melenchon, the senator ecologist Esther Benbassa, the boss of the CGT Philippe Martinez, the comedian Yassine Belattar … And thousands of anonymous.
"The polemics, we do not care about it! We are there with our Muslim and non-Muslim brothers and sisters, we are with our families, "said Kaouthar, 18, a student in communication. "Yes to the criticism of religion, not to the hatred of the believer" or "French and Muslims, proud of our two identities," reads the signs.
"I am constantly obliged to justify myself"
"We are in danger, we are not dangerous," say participants who denounce "growing stigma." "Olele olala, solidarity with veiled women", they sing between two concerts of youyous. Rachida, a forty-year-old from Yvelines, transformed his tricolor flag, waved at the World Cup football a year earlier, into a blue-white-red veil. "This symbolizes both my love of God and my love of France," says this wealth management consultant.
Benissa, 30, aeronautical engineer from Evry (Essonne) worries about an "atmosphere in our country more than deleterious". "Secularism is not the absence of religion, it is respect for all religions," he says. "For two years that I have the veil, I am constantly obliged to justify myself. People say to themselves: Oh, she's radicalized! However, my values have not changed, I'm still French and Muslim in my heart, "continues his sister Sihem, 34, midwife.
"I am afraid of what becomes of France"
The reactions to the headscarf are at the heart of the worries. "Since my mother, who lives in Loir-et-Cher, decided to wear it six years ago, close friends have turned her back," said Zakarya, 19, a student in political science. "I'm afraid of what becomes France," says Rania, 33, who works in the social.
In the crowd, there is a merchant whistle, many French flags and a Palestinian banner, families and non-Muslims, like Marie-Christine, a retired who, although "shared" on the port of sail, is "against all racism". Some protesters sport a yellow star alongside a crescent to compare the fate of today's Muslims to that of the Jews of yesterday, oppressed under Nazi Germany. A strong symbol, which several observers in the evening moved, while the photo of a little girl, the sticker on the jacket, went around the social networks.