In a powerful open letter to young French Muslims, French Director Luc Besson called on them to reject extremism in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings, according to The Guardian.
Besson, the filmmaker, co-writer of current action sequel Taken 3 and founder of France’s hugely successful Eurocorp studio, vowed to stand by the “injustice” against the “beautiful religion.”
“My brother, if you knew how badly I hurt for you today, you and your beautiful religion that has been so sullied, humiliated, and singled out,” he wrote.
“Forgotten are your strength, your energy, your humour, your heart, your fraternity. It’s unfair and together we will repair this injustice. We are millions who love you and who are going to help you.”
Besson blamed economic deprivation for the radicalisation of terrorists and promised to work with them for a fairer society.
“In some suburbs, unemployment for people under 25 is 50%. You are marginalised because of your colour or your first name. You’re questioned 10 times a day, you’re crowded into apartment blocks and no one represents you. Who could live and thrive under such conditions?”
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Besson called on French businessmen and political leaders to help young Muslims escape the economic trap, but also said his “brothers” must take responsibility and find a way forward unconnected to radicalism.
“It costs 250 euros to buy a Kalashnikov but not even three euros to buy a pen – and your response can have a thousand times more impact,” he wrote. “Take power democratically, helped by all your brothers. Terrorism will never win. History is there to prove it.”
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Besson was nominated for Best Director and Best Picture César Awards for his films Léon: The Professional and The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. He won Best Director and Best French Director for his sci-fi action film The Fifth Element (1997). His action thriller film Taken 2 (2012) is France's biggest export success.
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