Controversy on social media as Sting sings "Inshallah" at the Bataclan, a year on from Islamist attacks
The Bataclan Theatre in 2008 (Wikimedia Commons)
Singer Sting has sparked controversy by singing a song entitled “Inshallah” at the first concert in the newly renovated Bataclan Theatre, Paris, a year after 90 people were killed there by Daesh affiliates. He described the word, meaning “God willing” in Arabic, as “magnificent”, a statement which was followed by applause from the crowd, according to attendees:
Sting chante "Inch'Allah", "c'est un mot magnifique". Applaudissements dans la salle. #Bataclan— Paul Aveline (@PaulAveline) November 12, 2016
The action has inspired heated debate on Twitter, with some seeing it as an insult to the dead. However, the sentiment seemed largely to be fueled by the Islamophobia prevalent currently in the country. It appears that many mistakenly linked Inshallah to Islamic terrorism, while in fact it is a very common phrase used in Arabic:
The #islamofascists of #daesh have triumphed #Islam! I am outraged that #sting uttered this phrase. What an insult to the dead.
#sting #inchallah is of the category "and why we were not allowed to do a Nazi salute in front of synagogues???"
13 November 2015: "Allah Akbar!"
13 November 2016: "InchAllah!"
Beautiful tribute indeed ...
The singer #Sting has been unworthy of #Bataclan with #InchAllah a pro-migrant song for the Islamization of Europe #shame #Victims
After "#inchallah", discover "Allahou Akbar" the new single from #Sting which he will sing for the commemoration of Nice #Bataclan #FN
— Napoléon (@tprincedelamour) November 13, 2016
The # 13November2015 7 terrorists killed 130 innocent people "In the Name of Allah".1 year later, #Sting sings to #Bataclan "#InchAllah"! #Treason!
Dismissing and denying victims through intolerance on an evening supposedly in [their] memory, while Sting sings Daesh's hymn #inchallah at #Bataclan
However, others praised the song as a message of peace, and criticized those who misunderstood the sentiment of the song and sunk to insults and bigotry:
Sting a chanté #inchallah ,1 chanson pleine d'espoir et de paix «si Dieu le veut», mais des fachos professionnels 1cultes polémiquent...— Tp@9 (@tp9dz) November 13, 2016
Sting sang #inchallah, 1 song full of hope and peace "God willing," but professional fascists make it controversial.
Sting en chantant #inchallah pr la paix n'devait certainement pas s'attendre à s'attirer les foudres de facho français incultes. Pathétique— sayalnaw (@NawalElh) November 13, 2016
Sting singing #inchallah for peace certainly should not [have to] expect to attract the wrath of uneducated French fascists. Pathetic.
See the reactions to the song #inchallah from Sting at the #Bataclan
You have to say we're not really out of the woods yet.
https://t.co/mkqy5jdqFR En attendant y'a que des fafs pour chialer parce que Sting dit Inchallah. Deal with it garçon.— Rónán. (@HoldenLG) November 12, 2016
Waiting for the "French for the French" supporters to howl because Sting said Inshallah. Deal with it boy.
Sting also held a minutes silence for the victims during his show, and said that “we will never forget them”. He will donate the proceedings of the concert, which was attended by 1000 people, to two survivors charities.
Islamophobia is an increasing problem in France, after a year in which several Islamist terrorist attacks have struck the country. Phenomena such as the failed attempt to ban the burkini from French beaches, and the rise of the far-right Front National can be seen as responses to these events.
Nonetheless, several victims of the Bataclan shootings have been particularly vocal against Islamophobia, including Fred Dewilde who has written that France should not use the attack as an excuse to “fall fearful of the scarf, the dark one or the Other.”