June 1, 2015 / 12:22 PM / 2 years ago

Qatar sues French far-right official for attacks comment

France's far-right National Front political party member and member of the European Parliament Florian Philippot uses his mobile phone to take pictures of press photographers ahead of a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, March 11, 2015. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

PARIS (Reuters) - Qatar said on Monday it was suing a senior member of France’s far-right National Front who accused it of funding Islamist extremism in the days after January’s deadly attacks in France on a satirical magazine and Jewish foodstore.

Florian Philippot, the vice-president of the anti-immigrant party, accused Qatar and Saudi Arabia of “funding an Islamism that kills” during a radio interview aired on Jan. 9, two days after gunmen killed 12 during an attack on the Charlie Hebdo weekly known for its caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.

“Mr Philippot has repeatedly and publicly implied a link between these terrorist acts and the State of Qatar, affecting the reputation of Qatar and all its citizens,” the Gulf state said in a statement distributed by its Paris embassy.

The action would be filed in France.

Qatar, which has major investment and arms industry ties with France, said it had condemned the attacks hours after they happened. The French foreign minister subsequently said he had intelligence showing that Qatar neither financed nor was complicit in terrorism.

Philippot issued a reaction on his official Twitter account saying that Qatar could not “silence” him.

“It’s not for an Islamist dictatorship to tell the French what they can and cannot say. Long live democrats!”

Reporting by John Irish and Mark John

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