The creator of the controversial “quenelle” neo-Nazi salute may face racial incitement charges for comments suggesting a Jewish journalist belonged in a gas chamber.
Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, a notorious anti-Semite and French comedian, is being investigated by Paris prosecutors this week, following the airing of a television show in France that featured the personality saying, “When I hear about Patrick Cohen, I say to myself: You see, the gas chambers … It’s a shame.”
Cohen is an esteemed journalist who last year criticized Dieudonne along with a series of other anti-Semitic individuals as “sick minds.”
In November, Dieudonne was similarly convicted of racial incitement against Jews for comments made on his television series. It was his seventh conviction of the same nature.
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls has announced the government is considering banning Dieudonne from making public appearances. Racial incitement is a serious offense in France, where there are strict rules outlawing anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi behavior.
“This gesture is a gesture of hatred, it’s an anti-Semitic gesture and all those who perform it should know — they can’t deny knowledge — that they are performing an anti-Semitic gesture, an inverted Nazi gesture,” Valls said at a news conference in Paris.
Dieudonne is largely attributed with creating the quenelle salute, a gesture considered the modern equivalent of the Heil Hitler, in an effort to sidestep laws against Nazi promotion.
Meanwhile, French police are searching for a man who performed the quenelle at three locales connected to the murder of Jews. A photo of the man, whose identity is not yet known, surfaced in which he performed the quenelle in front of the Toulouse school where the Muslim extremist Mohammed Merah murdered four Jews in 2012.
The man also was seen performing the quenelle outside the former residence of Merah, who was killed during a shootout with French police, according to the French Jewish news site JSSnews.com. Additionally, he posed while performing the quenelle near a Paris monument commemorating the Holocaust.