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Africans, Muslims did it for France in World Cup; will it return back the favour, asks writer

By Shubham

Moscow, July 15: Renowned writer Khaled A. Beydoun on Sunday, July 15, tweeted after France lifted their second football World Cup crown that after the Africans and Muslims delivered the country their second world title, it was time to deliver back them justice.

Africans, Muslims did it for France in World Cup; will it return back the favour, asks writer

The words of Beydoun, author of the book 'American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots & Rise of Fear', hit it hard even while congratulating France on their magnificent win with a squad which had more than half of its players with African roots.

Beydoun, a law professor in the US, had also written for the Undefeated: "A divided nation in search of an elusive optimism puts its hope in the hands of players named Mbappe, Dembele, Fakir, Rami, Umtiti, who wear French Bleu but also play for Africa, and the legions of African soccer fans who share their continental roots."

France have often been called as the 'last African team' in this World Cup after none of the actual teams from Africa succeeded in making it to the knockout stage of the tournament. For many, it was surprising since a lot of other teams too had players of African descent but it was only the Les Bleus who earned the label.

According to many, giving such a name to France accomplishes a poetic justice for the country's anti-immigrant and racist politicians had to bank on the 'black descendants' to win the World Cup for the second time since 1998.

France has its share of ill-reputation when it comes to its African immigrants. Though for the liberals, the accomplishments of these immigrants present a case to justify their emphasis on tolerance, it also establishes the notion that the black immigrants have to do extra hard work to be considered successful in a white-majority society.

But cultural experts have opined that France cannot really treat Africans casually for it has a far too deep connection with them to be easily separated. Be it resources, labour or art, France has "appropriated" things that are African over the ages.

The political class of France is accused of economically repressing Africa over the centuries and even today, several of the former French colonies in Africa have not overcome the financial obstacles that were imposed on them.

France replaced the term "race" with "sex" in its constitution, making it difficult for the anti-racism activists to fight racism while police atrocities against blacks in France have gone up in the recent past.

Beydoun's tweet after France won the World Cup on Sunday hits the nail hard for the country, despite being a multicultural society, needs to do a lot on issues like Islamophobia and xenophobia. Can the victory in Moscow change it for the better?

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