French singer Mennel forced to quit France’s The Voice over terror posts

Mennel Ibtissem, a 22-year-old student was one of the top contestants on The Voice in France. (Screenshot)
Updated 09 February 2018
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French singer Mennel forced to quit France’s The Voice over terror posts

PARIS: A French Muslim singer who became an overnight star after dazzling judges on a TV talent show quit the contest Friday after coming under fire for past Facebook comments about terror attacks.
Mennel Ibtissem, a 22-year-old student was one of the top contestants on The Voice, where her English and Arabic version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah caused a sensation.
But within days of Saturday’s performance she was under pressure to bow out over old Facebook messages that appeared to question the terrorist nature of attacks that claimed scores of lives in France in 2016.
The posts have been deleted but screen grabs of the remarks have been circulated on far-right websites.
In one post after the July 2016 truck attack in the city of Nice, in which 86 people were killed, she said: “Here we go, it’s become a routine, an attack a week, and, as usual, the ‘terrorist’ takes his ID with him. It’s true that when you’re plotting something nasty you never forget to take your papers with you.”
She was referencing a series of jihadist assaults in France in which police quickly named the killers through documents found on their bodies, including the 2015 Paris attacks that killed 130 people.
In another post, days after two jihadists slit the throat of a priest in his Normandy church, she wrote: “The real terrorists are our government.”
The singer had apologized over the remarks, saying members of her family had been celebrating Bastille Day in Nice when the driver struck and that she had been “upset” by the failure of the authorities to prevent the attack.
But the apology failed to quell the controversy.
With private broadcaster TF1 under pressure to pull her out of the competition, including from relatives of the victims of the Nice attack, she quit on Friday.
“I never meant to hurt anyone and the mere thought that my remarks hurt others hurts me, so I have taken the decision to quit this adventure,” she said in a Facebook video that has been viewed over 860,000 times.
The production company behind The Voice, ITV Studios France, said that despite her earlier apology the atmosphere on the show had become “too heavy” and hoped her decision to withdraw would “soothe tensions.”
But some of her fans expressed disappointment, amid allegations of anti-Muslim bias.
On Ibtissem’s Facebook page, Jihene Ferchiou wrote: “We must not delude ourselves. Your turban, your religion, your origins were the obstacle.
“Clearly we have reached an unprecedented level of racism in France. It’s a disgrace.”


Leena Al-Ghouti wraps up as LFW winds down

Gigi Hadid walking the Burberry show at LFW 2019.(AFP)
Updated 18 February 2019
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Leena Al-Ghouti wraps up as LFW winds down

DUBAI: As Gigi Hadid walked the runway, Dubai-based influencer Leena Al-Ghouti showed up at the Burberry show at London Fashion Week in a chic ensemble.

The fashion influencer donned a black hijab, cat-eye shades and an uber-cool camel colored coat, with an oversized Burberry shawl, as she posed outside the show.

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Burberry earned its place — again — as one of the top shows in London Fashion Week on Sunday, according to Reuters, with a widely ranging catwalk show that honored the British brand’s long tradition but showed it is still ready to mix it up and set trends.

Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci showed in his second collection that he is perfectly comfortable stretching the Burberry look to keep its younger fans happy while easily switching gears to create classic, severely tailored ensembles that ooze chic.

The two sides of the Burberry coin were reflected in the two adjacent rooms where the collection was shown: one a sedate auditorium with comfortable, padded seats; the other a raucous wide-open space ringed by a climbing gym of the type young kids would use.

“I have been thinking a lot about England as a country of contrasts, from the structured to the rebellious and free, and I wanted to celebrate how these elements coexist,” Tisci said.

He said he had four characters in mind when putting the collection together: a girl and a boy, and a lady and a gentleman.

The transition was obvious as models went from street-style clothes — oversize puffer jackets, metallic ornamentation, revealing slip dresses, silver boots, faux fur, big red plastic sneakers — to subtle, timeless outfits in muted fall colors.

There were occasional references to the brand’s earlier incarnation as a purveyor of fine, traditional menswear as a few models were dressed in classic suits and ties, including one double-breasted throwback, Reuters reported.

Tisci made ample and imaginative use of the traditional Burberry trench and check, and paired a number of sexy evening dresses with full-length coats for a look at once provocative and classy.

There were a few eccentric touches, including an outfit set off by a giant scarf that paid homage to “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

For her part. Hadid took to the runway in a sporty, monochromatic ensemble featuring a miniskirt and black corset with dramatic puffed sleeves over a white polo shirt.

Tisci seems to be enjoying his time at Burberry, treasuring tradition but refusing to be overwhelmed by it.