- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 10, 2013

A French journalist is facing a criminal trial for remarks he made in a radio interview against the influence of Islam in the country.

Ivan Rioufol, who has written for Le Figaro newspaper for almost 28 years, was summoned to court following a complaint from a group called the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), the Daily Mail reported.

Mr. Rioufol’s comments from a Nov. 15, 2012, RTL radio program particularly objected to a CCIF poster, which showed pictures of Muslims under the slogan “We are the Nation,” the Daily Mail said. He said the idea of the poster went against France’s inclusive, secular republic.

“In seeking to undermine liberty of expression, a sacred principle of our civilization, the Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) takes the risk of appearing like a menace to democracy,” said Mr. Rioufol at the time of his summons.

“This is essentially what I hope to be able to explain in court, because I will have to appear in a few months before the 17th Criminal Court in Paris,” he said, adding that France’s 1881 Press Law was being used to “penalize criticism, intimidate journalists and censor the media.”

A spokesman for CCIF said it had a duty to challenge Islamophobia.

“Mr. Rioufol will in court seek to prove that his words were true — one of the defenses against defamation,” the spokesman said.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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