Two officials of the Riposte Laïque website, which presents itself as the defender of the principle of secularism, were given fines today by the criminal court in Paris for inciting hatred against Muslims.
The president and founder of the association, Pierre Cassen, was fined €4000 and Pascal Hilout, a member of the association and author of one of the texts that led to the prosecution, was fined €1500. The two men also have to pay €1500 in damages to the Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH), as well as €2000 in costs.
They must also pay one euro in damages and €800 in costs to other associations that were civil parties in the case: the Ligue internationale contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme (Licra), the Association de défense des droits de l’Homme (ADDH), SOS Racisme and the Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples (Mrap)
The sentence must be published on the home page of the website for a period of three months.
In June 2010 Riposte Laïque gained notoriety for supporting a “pork sausage and wine” street party in the multi-ethnic district of Goutte d’Or (18th arrondissement), which is home to one of the most popular mosques in Paris. The prefecture of police banned the protest.
At issue in the court case were two editorials posted on the association’s website on 11 October and 12 December 2010. The first was titled “Can we defeat the Islamist offensive by democratic means alone?” and the second “Occupation: prayers in the street, veils, halal and mosques are of course symbols of occupation and conquest”.