Why was the cry "Allahu akbar" chanted during the march against Islamophobia?


Question asked by Nicolas Mourcel on 10/11/2019


On a video filmed during the march against Islamophobia, which was held this Sunday, November 10 in Paris, we can actually see the statistician and former director of the CCIF, Marwan Muhammad standing on a van scander "Allahu AkbarIn front of a crowd of demonstrators, who take up the expression in chorus. He stands next to journalist Taha Bouhafs, one of the initiators of the demonstration, wearing a blue jacket. The video has since been shared by the accounts political figures of the National Gathering who denounce a "Islamist march".

In this 31-second video, we can see that Marwan Muhammad is chanting the crowd when he says: "We say Allahu Akbar because we are proud to be Muslims and to be French citizens". The crowd shouts. "One says "Allahu Akbar" because we are fed up with the media passing this religious expression for an expression of war ". The crowd is screaming again.

Contacted by CheckNews, Marwan Muhammad recounts that the scene took place before arriving on the Republic Square, in the middle of the demonstration, on the Boulevard de Magenta: "I'm asked to get on the truck to shout slogans to the protesters. And for starters I tell them Salam aleykoum, (a Salution Formula in Arabic which means "Peace be upon you" (Editor's note). I explain then for those who do not speak Arabic, that it is about messages of peace, like other expressions like bismillah (in the name of God, ed) and at a moment I quote "Allahu Akbar". When I say that, the crowd is racing and takes "Allahu Akbar", I was surprised, but suddenly I told myself that I was going to do something with that to show that we must play down the expression. This is where I make them say "Allahu Akbar" to show that they are proud to be Muslim and French and that this expression has been demonized.

What does Allahu Akbar mean?

In 2015, the section Desintox de Liberation had already looked into the meaning of the expression "Allahu Akbar", often associated with terrorist attacks. As we summarized in this video, this Arabic formula, also called takbir, translates into French as "God is the greatest".

It is an expression that has an incantatory value since it launches and rhythm the prayers, but also has a popular use to express its joy or to give strength. What confirms us Marwan Muhammad: "It's also an expression of everyday language, when there is good news."


Jacques Pezet

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