MEDINA. The invitation of the rapper Médine to the summer universities of EELV and LFI, scheduled for the end of August, sparked a controversy. This is not a first for the artist who attracts the wrath of the political class as much as he provokes it.

[Updated August 22, 2023 at 4:32 p.m.] Rapper Médine is once again embroiled in a controversy. The reason ? His participation in the summer universities of Europe Écologie Les Verts and La France Insoumise on August 24 and 26, 2023. This double coming has generated numerous criticisms from right-wing politicians, but also within the Nupes itself. The rapper’s detractors accuse him of being an Islamist, close to the Muslim Brotherhood and also of being anti-Semitic. One of his last tweets, dated August 10, 2023, against the essayist Rachel Khan, Jewish and granddaughter of a deportee, set fire to the powder.

Medina called the writer a “resKHANpée” and a person “drifting among social traitors and literally eating at the far-right table” after Rachel Khan called the rapper “rubbish”. . The Le Havre artist then defended himself from any anti-Semitic words in a second tweet two days later: “The unsuitable formula, which must certainly have offended people and I apologize for that, was not directed to his family. nor towards the victims of the tragedy of the Holocaust.”

Médine must participate, on August 24 in Le Havre, in a debate with Marine Tondelier, national secretary of EELV. Guest of Franceinter, she said that the artist “is one of the people who do not realize the scope of their words, who do not see the suffering that this can generate”. On August 26 in Valence, it is with Mathilde Panot, leader of the LFI group at the National Assembly, that the rapper will exchange. According to Gallina Elbaz, vice-president of the Licra (International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism), guest of RMC, “there is perhaps a desire for political recovery and a form of political clientelism” behind the arrival of Medina to these political events.

A photo of Medina taken in 2014 keeps coming out to accuse him of anti-Semitism. We see him taking up the “quenelle”, a gesture popularized by Dieudonné and described as anti-Semitic. Questioned by Liberation in 2015, the rapper confided that this shot had left him “a bitter taste”. Since 2015 and the release of the title “Don’t Laïk”, six days before the attack on Charlie Hebdo, Medina has regularly been at the center of controversy. Multiple requests for deprogramming as for his concert at the Bataclan, misappropriation of the title of a 2005 album or even alleged links with the Muslim Brotherhood, the reproaches made to Medina are not lacking.

On Twitter, June 22, 2022, Nicolas Bay protested in a message posted on Twitter, against the documentary Médine Normandie, partly subsidized by the Normandy region. “This close to the Islamist movement of the Muslim Brotherhood had not hesitated to name one of his albums ‘Jihad'”, had criticized the political member of the Zemmourist party Reconquête!. Médine had then reproached Nicolas Bay for his ignorance of the documentary.

“In reality, everything he accuses me of is completely deconstructed in the documentary. He accuses me of being close to terrorism and extremists, while I am the first to fight them in my region, through concrete actions, such as my support for local associations! I do not accept any lessons from this Norman at the fictitious home. And I want to fight against this shameful montage made against me. This is a simple reminder to the republican order”, declared then Médine, questioned by France 3 Normandie.

An article on the Booska-P site, which cannot be found today, is regularly brandished by critics of Medina. On a screenshot of the header, the artist would affirm this sentence: “I am also an ambassador of the association ‘Havre de savoir'”. This association is regularly accused of promoting the Muslim Brotherhood as in this tweet from Philippe Vardon, member of Reconquête!. In a Facebook post published in 2014, Havre De Savoir claimed that Médine was an “ambassador” and “an active member” of the association.

On February 23, 2021, Médine announced that it had filed a complaint against LREM deputy Aurore Bergé for defamation at the Paris court. In question ? The comments made by the elected representative in March in an interview given to LCI on February 18, 2021, referring to a conference given in Medina at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS). “This Islamist rapper Médine, you know, the one who said that the secularists had to be killed, is it legitimate for a school as prestigious as the ENS to give voice to those who call for murder?”, she launched.

Already targeted by right-wing and far-right elected officials in 2018, Médine explained to Médiapart the reasons for his complaint. “It’s one too many times. I am witnessing the media turnaround of this fringe of the government which is becoming radicalized by adopting a more right-wing, even extreme right-wing discourse. I have the impression that the The time for dialogue is over. All these people do not take the time to read our work”, explained the rapper from Le Havre, who said he wanted to “enforce [s]es rights”, claiming to be the victim of “false accusations”.

According to the rapper, Aurore Bergé “sticks an ideology to him which is, of course, not [his] own.” If the deputy was in part referring to the song Don’t Laïk, which evokes a crucifixion of the secularists, for Medina, this “song is a succession of absurdities, oxymorons”, and from which the elected official took out a quote from its context. “Aurore Bergé’s ignorance of rap and style is blatant. I invite her to do what she should have done before speaking on LCI”, launched the artist in the columns of Médiapart. He then wanted “a condemnation and a public apology”, but also “damages”. “My honor is at stake,” he concluded.

In 2018, Médine was scheduled to perform at the Bataclan in Paris on October 19 and 20. Scheduled for several months, these concerts, planned in one of the places targeted by the terrorist attacks of November 13, 2015, had aroused at the time a vast controversy linked to the words of the rapper. Associations of victims had immediately expressed their desire to have his visit banned. Elected officials from the right, far-right and from the La République en Marche party were indignant at the lyrics of his songs Jihad or Don’t Laïk, which they already considered, like Aurore Bergé and Nicolas Bay, to go into the meaning of the doctrines of the Islamist jihadists.

In Don’t Laïk, Médine declares in particular: “Let us crucify the laicards as in Golgotha”. Words that have not gone unnoticed. “A call to murder” had already judged Aurore Bergé at the time. Médine was then quickly explained in the face of these accusations. “I absolutely wanted to talk about the way in which a republican value such as secularism is manipulated today when, in its spirit and its letter, secularism is made to bring people together,” he said.

“Don’t Laïk is to secular fundamentalisms what Charlie Hebdo cartoons are to religious fundamentalisms,” he defended himself a little later in a column published in L’Obs. A petition had even seen the light of day under the impetus of Grégory Roose, former departmental delegate of the FN. The concert at the Bataclan was finally canceled, in the face of pressure and even if the concert hall mentioned a cancellation “out of respect for the victims of the attacks of November 13, 2015 and their families.” Medina, on the other hand, justified this decision in another way: “Some far-right groups have planned to organize demonstrations whose aim is to divide, not hesitating to manipulate and rekindle the pain of the families of the victims.”

During the outcry against the arrival of Medina at the Bataclan, the title of his first album was changed. Many right-wing and far-right political figures have taken to a visual superimposing a poster promoting the concert with the cover of an album supposedly named “Jihad”. Several things are to be deciphered in this false information. First of all, the date of the concert at the Bataclan and the release of this album are separated by 13 years so the artist did not intend to promote this opus in 2018.

Second, the title is inaccurate, as the album is called “Jihad: The Greatest Fight Is With Yourself.” This was probably not in the sense of his detractors who preferred to truncate the title “Jihad”. During an interview with Mouloud Achour at Clique TV, Médine returned to this album: “I titled my album Jihad, first with a subtitle ‘The greatest fight is against oneself’, and then , it was in 2005, in another context. My message at that time was addressed to those who would be tempted to leave to fight and to those who have a definition of this completely overused term.” The rapper wanted to recall here that etymologically, “jihad” means “effort” or “struggle” and not automatically “holy war”. Myriam Benraad, French political scientist and specialist in the Arab world, recalled in her book Jihad: From Religious Origins to Ideology that “jihad is indisputably one of the most discussed and controversial terms in the contemporary history of the Muslim world.”