Benzema, French minister clash over 'Muslim Brotherhood' claim

AFP , Thursday 19 Oct 2023

The lawyer of Karim Benzema has hit back at France's interior minister after he accused the French football star who plays for Saudi team Al-Ittihad of links to the Muslim Brotherhood Islamist group.

Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema now plays for Saudi Arabia s Al-Ittihad. Photo: AFP


Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin made the accusations after the reigning Ballon d'Or winner and former Real Madrid forward posted a message on social media about the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas.

"All our prayers are for the inhabitants of Gaza who are once again victims of these unjust bombings which spare no women or children," Benzema wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Since the outbreak of the War on Gaza, Israel has killed over 3,000 Palestinians while 1,400 Israelis have lost their lives.

Darmanin, speaking on the CNews Channel, alleged that Benzema "has a notorious link with the Muslim Brotherhood".

"This is false! Karim Benzema has never had the slightest relationship with this organisation," Benzema's layer Hugues Vigier said in a statement.

He said that Benzema was expressing "natural compassion" with "what many today describe as war crimes being committed in Gaza, but which does not detract from the horror of the terrorist acts of October 7, something not open to discussion".

The lawyer added that he was planning to file a complaint against Darmanin for his comments.

Benzema, 35, who was born in France to parents of Algerian origin, has been one of the standout French stars of the last decade.

He joined the Saudi club on a hugely lucrative three-year deal this year after 14 seasons with Real Madrid where he lifted five Champions Leagues, four La Liga titles and three Copas del Rey.

But after a stellar 2021-22 season when he led Real to Champions League glory and was rewarded with the Ballon d'Or for the world's best player, he was troubled by injuries that ruled him out of France's World Cup campaign in Qatar last year.

Darmanin, 41, has carved out a reputation as a hardliner in the mould of his political mentor ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy and makes no secret of his own presidential ambitions.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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