Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit exposes France’s far right and reveals secret links between violent extremists and Marine Le Pen’s Front National (FN).
Le Pen recently changed the party’s name to Rassemblement National as part of a drive to soften the party’s image and increase its chances of electoral success.
But Al Jazeera’s year-long undercover investigation uncovered close connections between senior politicians in Le Pen’s party, including MEPs, and Generation Identity (GI), a far-right youth movement dedicated to expelling Muslims from Europe.
An undercover reporter from Al Jazeera’s investigative Unit infiltrated GI’s Flanders branch for six months.
In the first of two explosive documentaries entitled Generation Hate, to be released on Sunday, December 9th, secretly filmed footage shows members of the Identitarian movement:
· carrying out racist attacks, physical and verbal, on young Arabs, including teenage girls.
· celebrating Hitler’s Germany, including shouting “Sieg Heil”.
· Talking about causing carnage by ramming a car into a mosque or a market popular with Muslims.
· Explaining how they infiltrate Le Pen’s party to push their policies, including “remigration” – the return of immigrants to the countries of their ancestors.
The Flanders branch of GI has its headquarters at a bar called The Citadelle in Lille where members drink and discuss their political strategy.
The group advocates the defence of a European identity and culture against what it sees as the threat of mass immigration and the Muslim “enemy”.
GI’s thousands of followers claim Europe’s identity is white and Christian. It presents itself as a patriotic movement and claims to be non-violent and non-racist.
The group has supporters across the continent, including Italy, Austria, Germany and the UK but its origins are in France.
In the documentary, a prominent GI leader, who calls for murderous attacks on Islamists, tells how he lost his job when his links to the group were discovered.
The GI leader in Lille, Aurelien Verhassel claims that he writes speeches for the National Front. Activists say Verhassel helps GI members to find jobs with the National Front.
National Front members are welcomed at the GI’s bar, the Citadelle, where they talk of preparing for civil war if the party wins power.
Sylvie Guillaume, an MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, told the programme that the Identitarians were “dangerous…The current government…must first take note that this phenomenon exists and have the political will to fight it.”
Marine le Pen said that since she became head of the National Front, she has kicked out all those who have been violent, racist or anti-Semitic. Le Pen said Verhassel had never worked, or written speeches, for the National Front.
Verhassel’s lawyer said the Citadelle did not represent Generation Identity and welcomed a wide range of members of “diverse persuasions”.
The two parts of Generation Hate will be broadcast at the following times:
§ Sunday 9th (part 1) & 16th December (part2): 2000G
§ Monday 10th & 17th December: 1200G
§ Tuesday 11th & 18th December: 0100G
§ Wednesday 12th & 19th December: 0600G
§ Thursday 13th & 20th December: 2000G
§ Friday 14th & 21st December: 1200G
§ Saturday 15th & 22nd December: 0100G
§ Sunday 16th & 23rd December: 0600G
David Harrison, Investigative Reporter: +44 7786 392057 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lee Sorrell, Producer-Director: +44 7973148431
Phil Rees, Director of Investigative Journalism