10 February 2018
Screenshot from a video Mennel Ibitssem posted to Facebook.
A French Muslim singer who became an overnight star after dazzling judges on a TV talent show quit the contest on Friday after coming under fire for past Facebook comments about terror attacks.
Mennel Ibtissem, a 22-year-old student who wears a head wrap, was one of the top contestants on The Voice, where her English and Arabic version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah caused a sensation.
But within days of Saturday’s performance she was under pressure to bow out over old Facebook messages that appeared to question the terrorist nature of attacks that claimed scores of lives in France in 2016.
The posts have been deleted but screen grabs of the remarks have been circulated on far-right websites.
In one post after the July 2016 truck attack in the city of Nice, in which 86 people were killed, she said: “Here we go, it’s become a routine, an attack a week, and, as usual, the ‘terrorist’ takes his ID with him. It’s true that when you’re plotting something nasty you never forget to take your papers with you.”