He is one of the main protagonists of the case of the Marianne fund. Mohamed Sifaoui, former leader of the main ociation implicated in this case, was expected this Tuesday at 9 a.m. before the Senate Committee of Inquiry which should shed light on the use of subsidies. But a search of his home, which began in the early hours of the morning, prevented him from going to his audition. Apart from this case, who is Mohamed Sifaoui?
55 years old, this Franco-Algerian journalist claims to be an expert in anti-terrorism and a fighter for political Islam. It is in his roots that he would have drawn the origins of this fight. Born in Algeria in an “anti-colonial but favorable to France” family, he confided to Release in 2020, he says he has seen a “frenzied Islamization of Algeria” from his adolescence. “Threatened for the first time by an Islamist” at that time, he has since “stopped fighting Islamism”.
Under police protection since 2003
He began his career as a journalist in Algeria, notably working for Soir d’Algérie and as a correspondent for Jeune Afrique. Several events will push him to leave his native country. On February 11, 1996, he escaped a bomb attack on the building of Soir d’Algérie, which killed around sixty people. According to his declarations to Liberation, he would have “left five minutes before the explosion” and would remain very marked by it.
Three years later, he was indicted for having described as “criminal policy” the civil agreement that the new elected president, Bouteflika, signed with the Islamists. That year, he decided to go into exile in France and has since been banned from Algerian territory.
In France, he worked for Marianne and the program Enquête Exclusive on M 6, making terrorism his area of expertise. He stood out for his “infiltrations” into at-risk environments, which he recounts in his books and TV reports. In 2003, he published “My in Brothers. How I infiltrated an Al-Qaeda cell in France”, a report he filmed with a hidden camera. The next day, he was placed under police surveillance because of the numerous threats made against him by Islamist circles. He still is today.
Author of more than 20 books, including the pamphlet “Zemmour, a French fraud” published in 2010, Mohamed Sifaoui is regularly called upon as a figure in the fight against radical Islam. In May 2022, for example, he was called to the bar to testify at the trial of the November 13 attacks, at the request of a lawyer for civil parties, indicates Mediapart.
Implicated in miscarriages of justice
But the journalist is also known for his virulent remarks against Islamism. In 2018, he blamed Latifa Ibn Ziaten, the mother of a soldier inated by Mohammed Merah, to wear a veil. “His veil is that of an ideology, the ideology that killed his own son, in this case that of the Muslim Brotherhood”, he had abounded on the set of CNews. Latifa Ibn Ziaten had filed a complaint for defamation but Mohamed Sifaoui had been released in this case.
The journalist’s name also appears in miscarriages of justice.Asian workers would have ured him that the body of a little girl is hiding in a Chinese restaurant in Brie-Comte-Robert. After research, it was animal bone, recalls Mediapart.
On other occasions the journalist was accused of writing false information. In 2021, for example, he claimed that Algeria was the most racist country in the world. The study on which he relied was not very credible, had shown an investigation by the Liberation fact-checking service. Mohamed Sifaoui then made his “mea culpa”, acknowledging a mistake.
The abject racist aggression of #cergypontoise reveals an element that has long been under the carpet: the racism of many Algerians (the most racist country in the world see the Open Borders for Refugees survey), Arab racism and the slavery history of Muslims!????
—Mohamed Sifaoui (@Sifaoui) June 1, 2021
Last year, Mohamed Sifaoui became communications director of the Angers football clubin Ligue 1. After six stormy months, marked by controversial positions and complicated relations with the press and supporters, he left his post.
Her role in the Marianne fund
It is now for the case of the Marianne fund that he is back in the spotlight. He must be understood as the former director of operations of the Union of Physical Education and Military Preparation Societies (USEPPM), created in the early 1990s and one of the 17 ociations that won the Marianne fund.
As a reminder, this was launched in April 2021 after the ination of Professor Samuel Paty by Marlène Schiappa, then Minister Delegate for Citizenship. It aimed to finance ociations promoting the values of the Republic to fight against “separatism” and radical Islam on social networks.
But press revelations had highlighted an opaque management of the use of subsidies allocated to ociations. And in the first place the USEPPM, which is the one that received the largest sum from this fund (355,000 euros). According Marianne’s joint investigation and of France 2this money would have essentially only served to pay two ex-leaders: Cyril Karunagaran and Mohamed Sifaoui, up to 120,000 euros, while the work produced is considered derisory.
Moreover, the General Inspectorate of Administration (IGA) had estimated, at the beginning of June, that the USEPPM had benefited from a ” privileged treatment » in the allocation of funds by the Interministerial Committee for the Prevention of Delinquency and Radicalization (CIPDR), headed by Prefect Christian Gravel. The proximity between the latter and Mohamed Sifaoui is in the crosshairs of the IGA, which estimated in its report that the call for projects “was neither transparent nor fair”. Especially since, as noted Mediapartthe USEPPM did not specialize in topics related to secularism or religious radicalization.
“He has always said it, he has nothing to be ashamed of in this affair”, continues to hammer Mohamed Siafoui’s lawyer, Me Benaiem.Tomorrow, he is summoned before the financial investigators of Oclciff for a free hearing, following the search of his home this morning.