Former Real Madrid striker, Karim Benzema is suing France’s interior minister for defamation after he accused the ex-Real Madrid striker of having links to a terrorist organisation.
Gerald Darmanin had claimed that Benzema was connected to the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of the French footballer’s criticism of the ‘unjust bombings’ in Gaza in October.
In response, the 36-year-old has filed a case against Darmanin, who is guilty of ‘political exploitation’, according to Benzema’s lawyer Hugues Vigier.
In his complaint, reported widely in France, Benzema denied any links to the organisation or to his knowledge ‘anyone who claims to be a member of it.’
He added: ‘I am aware of the extent to which, because of my notoriety, I am being used in political games, which are all the more scandalous given that the dramatic events since October 7 deserve something quite different from this type of statement.’
The Muslim Brotherhood was officially classified as a terrorist organisation in 2021 after Austria banned the group under the new anti-terrorism law adopted by its Parliament in July of that year.
It is also considered a terrorist organisation in Saudi Arabia – where the forward plays for Al Ittihad – along with six other countries including Austria.
In October, Darmanin told French outlet RMC that he would not retract his allegations unless the 35-year-old would speak out on the death of Dominique Bernard, a professor murdered by a Chechen terrorist earlier in October in Arras.
When giving his reasons for alleging that Benzema had links to a terrorist organisation, Darmanin pointed to the fact he had remained silent about murdered children and those ‘massacred’ by so-called ‘Islamic terrorists’.
‘What did I say? Mr Benzema is a great footballer, followed by millions of people,’ he began. ‘I noticed that he still hasn’t tweeted about the murder of that professor in Arras. He has also not tweeted about the beheaded babies, the raped women, the 1,300 massacred by Islamic terrorists in Israel.
‘Terrorism is very insidious. It consists of using all the means of society – sports, music, influence on the Internet – to promote Islam. That is what brotherhood consists of. I would love for Mr Benzema to tweet about the murder of the professor in Arras. He is known for an extremely rigorist Islam, with links, unfortunately, to people who have sometimes taken joy in the murder of Samuel Paty, for example.’
Paty, a school teacher, was stabbed to death and beheaded three years ago in a Parisian suburb, after reportedly showing cartoons of the Prophet to his class in a lesson on free speech.