French interior minister again says star is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, a claim denied by Benzema’s lawyer.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin thinks star footballer Karim Benzema is way offside when it comes to the Israel-Hamas war.

Darmanin doubled down Thursday night on evidence-free remarks linking Benzema to the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist party considered to be a terrorist group in several Middle Eastern countries, after the footballer backed Palestinians under fire in Gaza.

Benzema “still hasn’t made a tweet for the murder of this teacher in Arras … for the beheaded babies …. for the raped women, for the 1,300 massacred by Islamist terrorism in Israel,” Darmanin lashed out, referring to a deadly attack in France and Hamas’ violent assault in Israel earlier this month.

“If Mr. Benzema is able to show — in front of 20 million people who follow him, including because he now lives in Saudi Arabia and because he is eminently French — that he also mourns the death of this teacher, I will withdraw my comments,” Darmanin said Thursday evening on BFMTV.

“I note that for the time being, until there is proof to the contrary, he has made the extremely selective choice of using the same discourse as the Muslim Brotherhood,” added Darmanin, a longtime hard-liner on security issues and secularism.

Darmanin triggered a storm Monday night with his remark that “Benzema is notoriously linked with the Muslim Brotherhood, we all know it,” after the former Real Madrid superstar — a practicing Muslim — had said: “All our prayers for the inhabitants of Gaza who are once again victims of these unjust bombings which spare no women or children.”

The interior minister’s original jibe was denied by Benzema’s lawyer, Hugues Vigier.

“This is false! Karim Benzema never had any relation with this organization,” Vigier told French news outlet Le Parisien late Wednesday, adding his team was considering taking legal action against the French minister.

A French senator had followed up on Darmanin’s comments Wednesday by demanding that the footballer be stripped of his French citizenship.

An Islamist party that came to power in Egypt after the Arab Spring until it was ousted by a military coup in 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood receives funding from Qatar, and is considered a terrorist group in several Middle Eastern countries, including Doha’s neighbors, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Benzema has been playing football in Saudi Arabia after a transfer from Real Madrid to Al-Ittihad — in exchange for a reported €200 million annual salary — last summer.

Source: Politico

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