Moroccan Magazine Dresses Hollande as Hitler, Two Days After Auschwitz Anniversary

Hollande Hitler
An image taken from the cover of Al-Watan al-An featuring Francois Hollande depicted as a Nazi. Al-Watan al-An

Moroccan Arab-language newspaper Al-Watan al-An has published images of French President François Hollande retouched to look like Adolf Hitler, sporting a swastika armband with the headline "the French are reopening Hitler's concentration camps to exterminate Muslims".

The controversial image was on the cover of Al-Watan al-An was dated yesterday, only two days after the 70th anniversary of Holocaust Day, which marks the allied liberation of the largest Nazi concentration camp in 1945 in Auschwitz, Poland, where over a million Jews, Poles and allied prisoners of war were exterminated by the Nazi regime.

Commenting on the images, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Abderrahim Ariri was not apologetic, and insisted the photomontage of the French head of state was meant to highlight the French government's bias towards protecting its Jewish citizens and neglecting the security of French muslims.

"This is a small part of what the French President deserves," Ariri told Moroccan French-language weekly TelQuel.

"The government of France cannot ensure the security of Muslim citizens in France, in the same way that they do for the Jewish community," he added.

François? What are you doing on this Moroccan magazine cover?

— Worldcrunch (@worldcrunch) January 30, 2015

"Plenty of Islamic places of worship are attacked daily, without this alerting the French authorities," Arriri said, referring to the recent rise in anti-Muslim hate crime across France perceived as a trend of revenge attacks following the death of 17 people in Paris at the hands of three Islamist gunmen earlier this month.

French independent Muslim rights watchdog, National Observatory Against Islamophobia reported last week that in the two weeks following the Islamist attacks in Paris, 128 "anti-Muslim acts" had been recorded across France - higher than the number of incidents in 2014.

"The left as well as the right, in France have been trying to outdo each other in who can deal a bigger blow to the Muslim community ever since the terrorist attacks," Arriri said.

"France is slowly shaping its state to deprive Muslims of their rights, their homes and jobs, if things continue as they are," the editor said.

In a separate interview about yesterday's controversial cover with France's main public broadcaster France TV, the editor of Al-Watan al-An said the images were meant to "ring alarm bells" with the "French and Moroccan political elite" about the anti-Muslim effect their response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks is having.

France has a Muslim population of approximately 4 million, as well as the biggest jewish population in Europe, with 550,000 Jews currently residing in the country.

In 2014 anti-semitic crime in France doubled from the year before, as 851 instances of Jewish hate crime were recorded, prompting the French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve to call for the fight against anti-semitism to become a "national cause" after a Jewish couple were robbed and one of them was raped in their Parisian home in December.