Boy banned from French TV because of name
The nine-year-old boy, Islam, was told by casting agents that his name represents a religion that is not liked in France.17 April 2008
PARIS - The parents of a nine-year-old boy called Islam are to press charges for discrimination after a French television production company allegedly excluded their son from its programmes because of his name, a report said Wednesday.
His mother, Farah Alaouchiche, told Le Parisien newspaper that the boy had been told in the offices of Angel Productions that his name "represented a religion that was not liked in France".
The comment was made after Islam went with his parents, who have Algerian nationality, to the company's offices in February for the final stage in a selection process to take part in a youth programme called "In ze boite" (In the box).
But he was told there that he could not use his name if he wanted to be in the programme because "being called Islam if you are a boy is like a girl wearing the (Islamic) veil," his mother told Le Parisien.
The casting agents suggested Islam use "another Arab name" such as Mohammed or Sofiane.
But Farah Alaouchiche refused. The family left the premises to return to their home near Paris and never heard from the company again.
Angel Productions told the newspaper that "if Islam wasn't selected, it was not because of his name, but because there were more candidates than places available".
But the company did admit that "the casting agent did not react as she should have, there were words that hurt a little boy". It promised to let Islam take part in a future edition of the programme, the paper said.
France's Minister for urban affairs, Fadela Amara, who is a Muslim, told Le Parisien she was "scandalised" by the incident, which she described as "disgusting".
[AFP / Expatica]