“Selectively edited” Footage of a young Muslim woman wearing a so-called Burkini being threatened on a French beach was a deliberate set-up for the benefit of a Channel Seven Australia television crew, according to revelations in the Australian press. Newspapers around the world sympathetically reported the plight of 23-year-old Australian Muslim university student Zeynab Alshelh this week after images emerged which purported to show her being harrassed on a French beach.
British titles including the Daily Telegraph, Sun, BBC, Mirror, and others reported Ms. Alshelh had been “chased off” the beach, while she and her family were “met with abuse”.
Yet calls for the young Muslim activist to issue an apology to France for her deliberately provocative stunt are growing after claims that the anger of those on the beach wasn’t directed at the woman’s attire — but at the presence of television cameras, in clear breach of French privacy laws.
The Daily Mail Australia reports the remarks of an eye witness to the confrontation, who said: “The man on the video who said, ‘You turn around and you leave’, was my uncle. He never asked these three people to leave the beach. He spoke to the camera because he was asking the cameraman to leave.
“There were children on the beach, including our own, and we didn’t want them to be filmed”.
These claims stand in sharp contrast to Alshelh’s claims on her Channel Seven show when she recounted per experience in France, where she had travelled expressly to protest the so-called Burka ban:
“We were threatened by locals to leave the beach and if we didn’t they were going to call the police. They weren’t happy with us being there, even though it was on the beach that the burkini ban was overturned but the locals were not happy”.
The apparent duplicity of the activist has led The Australian , the nation’s best selling newspaper to state in an op-ed this weekend: “The Seven Network and the pugnacious Muslim Aussie family it flew to the French Riviera with the aim of provoking beachgoers into a “racist” reaction to the “Aussie cossie” burkini owe the traumatised people of Nice and France a swift apology”.
The newspaper said the footage had been selectively edited and distorted in order to reach “predetermined conclusions”. The paper called the exercise unethical, and “the latest example of calculated French-bashing fuelled by collusion between the goals of political Islam and compliant media outlets seeking culture clash cliches”.
While the Television report on Australia’s Channel Seven suggested a man telephoning the police was making a complaint about the presence of women wearing so-called burkinis, he was actually reporting the presence of television cameras.
French law — in contrast to Australian — makes it an offence to photograph or film members of the public without their knowledge and consent. The application of these laws has recently been tested when founder of the populist-right Front National party was photographed while sleeping on an aeroplane, leading to a token fine for the transgressor.