Friday, July 10, 2009

French-Algerian Celebrities

Reading some of the anti-Muslim comments French citizens, including Brigitte Bardot, have made, I am struck by how quickly memories fade. The French seem to have forgotten that some of their most famous representatives come from Muslim families. For example, Marcellin "Marcel" Cerdan, Edith Piaf, and Zinedine Zidane are all of Algerian Muslim descent. [It is true that Edith Piaf became Christian, but her maternal grandmother was Aïcha ("Emma") Saïd ben Mohammed (1876–1930).]

Castigating or judging people on the basis of their religion makes no sense. Throughout history, each religion has been persecuted. Clearly, the choice of religious persecution depends on whomever has a population advantage. One day, it might be your turn--unless we work hard to overcome our atavistic tendencies.

Bonus: "The media's primary function [is] to protect the weak from the strong. Now the strong have lost all shame... Every party in any given conflict always has at least some truth on its side, with the weakest party generally holding a little more." -- Leonid Bershidsky

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