French Muslim Rapper’s Bataclan Gigs Incite Protests

June 11th, 2018: As seen on SONGLYRICS (PDF)

French rapper, Médine, raps in the halls of the Bataclan in Paris, in the official video for his song of the same name; Photo: YouTube


Despite both of his shows selling out and the Bataclan’s concert promoter, Eric Bellamy, emphasizing to French reporters that Médine will perform as planned, there is unrest from the far-right in Paris and beyond that the Muslim rapper is playing the venue where 89 people were killed by Islamic Fundamentalists in 2015.

Over the weekend, the New York Times is reporting the far-right National Rally Party launched a petition calling for the shows to be cancelled, citing Médine’s apparent “violent lyrics in the name of Islam,” while the hashtag  (“No Médine at the Bataclan”) sprung up on Twitter in tandem.

Marine Le Pen, the National Rally’s leader, additionally tweeted that “no French person can accept this guy” playing at “the very place of the carnage.”

Médine’s catalogue as a whole is being dubbed offensive, but there a two specific songs that are making the outcry rounds, one called “Jihad,” and another called “Don’t Laik,” the latter a heady, religiously inquisitive tale of the subjectives of morality, that ironically (or geniusly) riffs off of Chicago mumble rap thug, Chief Keef, and the hook on “I Don’t Like.”

On “Don’t Laik,” Médine raps lines like “I put fatwas on the heads of cons” and “crucify the secularists,” with the refrain: [Translated from French to English]

Your beard, Arab, in this country is Do not Laïk
Your sail, my sister, in this country is Do not Laïk
Your faith, n×gga, in this country is Do not Laïk
Mrs, sir, your couple is Do not Laïk
We will all go to heaven, all in heaven we will go
We will all go to paradise, all in Paradise Insha Allah (Thanks to God)
We will all go to heaven, all in heaven we will go
We all go to heaven, only those who believe

It’s not just the French far right, either — a lawyer for nine victims of the Bataclan attacks told The Timesthat she would write to Paris police officials and the French culture minister to cancel the shows, and a republican mayor of Meaux, a small town outside of Paris, said it was “intolerable and completely mad” to allow Médine to perform at the Bataclan.

35-year-old Médine is no stranger to contention, regularly dealing in immigration and socio-political narratives both in his rap career, as well as penning stories as a journalist for Time— in 2005 he wrote an article for the magazine called, “How Much More French Can I Be.”

Though Médine has been silent in the immediate wake of these Bataclan protests, he told The New York Timesin 2016 that “Don’t Laïk” was about French secularism, and has been known to punch-line defenses of his art and ideology in the past with the hashtag, #IMMUSLIMDONTPANIK

Check out the official video for Médine’s eponymously titled ode to the ill-fated venue, of which probably won’t pander to sympathy of his opinion with images of people in body bags in the actual halls of the Bataclan, but nevertheless does reference the rapper’s dream as a kid to one day perform on its stage.