Karim Benzema Files Defamation Complaint Against French Minister Over Alleged Ties to Muslim Brotherhood

Karim Benzema, the Saudi club Al-Ittihad striker and 2022 Ballon d’Or winner, has filed a defamation complaint against French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. The minister previously accused Benzema of having “notorious” links with the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Muslim Islamist group with roots in Egypt.

The controversy stems from Benzema’s social media post in October 2023 expressing support for the inhabitants of Gaza during the conflict with Israel. Darmanin criticized Benzema for not also expressing sympathy for the Israelis killed in a Hamas attack and a French teacher stabbed to death by an Islamist former pupil.

Benzema’s complaint, filed by his lawyer Hugues Vigier, asserts that Darmanin’s remarks have undermined the player’s honor and reputation. Benzema denies any association with the Muslim Brotherhood and emphasizes his lack of connections with individuals claiming membership in the organization.

In response to the defamation suit, the French minister cited Benzema’s past actions, including his refusal to sing the national anthem while playing for France and his alleged “proselytizing on social networks.” The lawsuit has been lodged with the Cour de Justice, the sole French court authorized to prosecute government members for offenses committed while performing their duties.

In the midst of this legal dispute, reports suggest that Benzema is discontent at Al-Ittihad, with speculation about a potential move to Premier League club Chelsea. However, journalist David Ornstein has dismissed the likelihood of Benzema leaving Al-Ittihad in January.

The defamation suit filed by Benzema reflects his determination to counter the accusations made by the French Interior Minister and protect his reputation amid broader controversies surrounding his social media posts and actions both on and off the football field.

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