French smartphone app targets Islamophobia

A leading French organization which combats anti-Muslim behaviour and speech launched a new smartphone and tablet app on Monday, allowing users to report incidents of Islamophobia by sending photos and videos to the group.

The Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France (the Collective against Islamophobia in France) on Monday launched a smartphone app to enable members of the French public to report anti-Muslim acts and speech.

“In the face of Islamophobia, let’s all be witnesses,” CCIF said in a statement on Monday.

The app – available on Apple phones and tablets and for Android – allows users to filter news reports on racist and anti-Muslim activity, to check if there have been recent incidents in their area, and perhaps most significantly, to report such incidents, whether as victim or witness.

“The primary goal is to allow people to send out instant reports,” CCIF spokesman Babacar Sene told The Local on Monday.

“But the app also gives legal advice to anyone who might have been a victim of Islamophobia, and informs them of their rights,” he added.

The launch of the app comes on the same day that two mosques in Besançon, eastern France, were vandalized with swastikas and slogans such as “France for the French”, “Death to Muslims”, “Arabs out”, and “Long live the National Front,” in reference to the far-right anti-immigration party.

The new reporting and intelligence tool also comes at a time when France has seen a sharp increase in Islamophobic incidents over the last year or so.

“There’s been a real explosion in these incidents,” Sene told The Local on Monday.  “We’ve seen many more places of worship being vandalized, and instances of anti-Muslim discrimination, for example.”

Back in April, The Local reported the shocking desecration of some 20 graves in the Muslim section of a cemetery near Paris. There was also a spate of anti-Muslim vandalism in February, with several mosques being tagged with swastikas and other racist graffiti in the space of just one week.

At the time CCIF president Sami Debah told The Local that Islamophobia has been “triviliazed” in France, and anti-Muslim opinions had entered acceptable conversation.

““It’s concerning to see views in France in 2013 that are the same as those that were held in the Middle Ages, when there were no human rights. It’s really worrying,” he said.

The Local, 4 November 2013