French-Muslim activist denies tweet featuring Jews was a hit list

A French-Muslim activist denied that a list she posted on social media featuring Jewish groups and individuals was a “hit list” and said it did not specifically target Jews.

Sihame Assbague posted the list in a series of tweets last week, accompanied by a picture of a “Game of Thrones” character from a scene in the series in which the character lists the people she intends to kill.

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Among those listed were prominent individuals and groups with Jewish ties — including the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities; the Socialist Jewish politician Julien Dray; and former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, a supporter of Israel whose ex-wife and children are Jewish — as well as people without Jewish ties, such as the non-Jewish radical left-wing politician Jean-Luc Melenchon. A staffer at a prominent French Muslim news site, Al Kanz, responded to Assbague’s list adding nine additional names, including several Jews.

The Jewish philosopher Raphael Enthoven, who was named on the Al Kanz list, called it “hate speech.”

In a Thursday email to JTA, Assbague said the list was “absolutely not a ‘hit list‘” and that the people were on it because they had made Islamophobic statements, including attacking a French-Muslim university student leader who has drawn public criticism for wearing a headscarf. She said most of the people on the list were not Jewish.

“The only reason why the people I’ve named were on my tweet is because they’re denying Muslim women the right to join the public debate with their headscarves,” Assbague wrote.

Assbague added that she had used the meme from “Game of Thrones” as a joke, and that it was commonly used by social media users online to denote things that they find upsetting.

Assbague said she hoped those on her list live a “really long time,” because “I know how much they are suffering from the emergence of Muslims activists and from the rise of decolonial anti-racism.”