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French prosecutors probe death threats against TV reporter

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French prosecutors said Monday they have opened an investigation after death threats were issued against a journalist after she fronted a report over the rise of radical Islam in France.

Ophelie Meunier has been under police protection since the M6 channel broadcast her report on radical Islam, notably in the northern town of Roubaix near Lille.

The probe was opened by prosecutors in Nanterre outside Paris.

Roubaix resident Amine Elbahi, who denounced the rise of radical Islam in the area in the programme, was also placed under police protection.

The programme — titled “Off Limits” — included images of a Roubaix shop which sold dolls with their faces removed, with the shopkeeper saying Islam banned showing the image of a face.

It also showed a private school in Marseille where veiled girls were separated from boys.

The controversy over the report has fed into the French presidential election campaign where far-right candidates such as Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour have adopted strident rhetoric against Islam.

But President Emmanuel Macron has also toughened policies against radical Islamism in the country, which saw a spate of deadly attacks blamed on Islamist radicals in late 2020.

They followed a wave of massacres claimed by jihadists in 2015, including a deadly attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which has controversially published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.

The issue of radical Islamism is explosive in France, where secularism is a cornerstone of its identity but which also has a large Muslim minority.

There has been a wave of support across the media spectrum in France for Meunier. However, questions have also been raised over the methods used to create the televised report.

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