By Nabila Ramdani
Published: 19:00 EST, 26 January 2014 | Updated: 07:52 EST, 27 January 2014
The French comedian at the centre of the Nicolas Anelka anti-Semitism storm is to perform in Britain.
Dieudonne M’bala M’bala will visit London to support the West Bromwich Albion footballer, who faces a ban for performing the comic’s ‘quenelle’ Nazi salute on the pitch.
Anelka faces a five match ban for performing Dieudonne’s ‘quenelle’ gesture – a hand and arm movement which some say is a reverse Nazi salute.
Dieudonne M’bala M’bala (right) will support the West Bromwich Albion player at a press conference in London
But Dieudonne, 47, said he will ‘prove to everybody’ that he is ‘by no means anti-Jewish, or racist in any way’.
He added: ‘There will be a press conference in London, and a show – everybody will be able to make up their own mind.
‘Nicolas Anelka has my full backing – I am coming to Britain to support him.
‘Both myself and Nicolas Anelka are Frenchmen of African descent.
‘The quenelle is our way of expressing anger against the establishment, and especially the establishment which allowed slavery to flourish.
Uproar: Anelka’s gesture, the quenelle, has caused conflict in the UK and France over whether it is racist
‘We are brothers in humanity. Nicolas is a prince as far as I am concerned. I will always support my friend.’
Anelka has been charged by the Football Association with making a gesture which is considered abusive or indecent – an offence which carries a minimum five-game ban.
Last Thursday, Anelka denied the charge and requested a personal hearing to defend his case.
Anelka’s case has received the qualified backing of Roger Cukierman, head of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) and vice-president of the World Jewish Congress.
While ‘disappointed’ by Anelka’s goal celebration, Mr Cukierman said: ‘In a place that has no significance for Jews, it is merely an anti-establishment gesture which I feel does not warrant any harsh sanction’.
Controversial: Here anti-Dieudonne M’bala M’bala protesters are seen on the streets of Paris on January 16
Eric Zemmour a prominent Jewish writer, said: ‘It is ridiculous to turn Dieudonne into someone who is nostalgic for the Third Reich. France is first and foremost about freedom of speech.’
Mr Zemmour said any attempt to ban Dieudonne’s shows was ‘to deny the entire liberal tradition of French law.’
Dieudonne’s last visit to Britain was in 2010, when he appeared in front of a large of audience of mainly French expatriates at a London theatre.
He argues that his act is full of risqui humour about a range of minority groups, including black people and Muslims.
Dieudonne, who was brought up as a Christian, said that one of the reasons Anelka is being made a scapegoat in Britain is because he is a black Muslim who drives a Ferrari.
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