Some 600 members of the Chechen diaspora attended a rally in Paris on 3 June to express outrage at a recent spate of «blatant Chechenophobia» — anti-Chechen sentiment — in the European media.
Historian and political activist Dzhambulat Suleymanov, who leads the Bart-Marsho movement, organized the rally. Other prominent diaspora members in attendance included historian Mairbek Vatchagaev, rights defender Said-Amin Ibragimov, public figure Said-Akhmad Usmanov, and the Imam of Nice, Baskhan Magomadov.
Speakers at the rally expressed gratitude toward European states for providing shelter and asylum for Chechens during an incredibly difficult period in their history. They also emphasized that the Chechen community is firmly opposed to extremism and terrorism in all its forms. At the same time, the speakers stressed that racism and xenophobia against Chechens is unacceptable, and called on journalists to be objective when covering events involving migrants from Chechnya.
«Journalists cannot use the isolated crime of a single individual to demonize an entire diaspora and culture,» Bart-Marsho’s Suleymanov said.
«The Chechen diaspora has not committed acts of violence based on extremism and hatred in the 18 years of its existence here in France,» he added.
Journalists from several outlets, including France24, Radio RFI, Le Figaro, Le Monde, NouvObs and the Caucasian Knot, were also present at the rally.