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Bénédicte Kurzen. European Stories of Islamophobia.

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France, Marseilles, January 2020.

This image is part of Bénédicte's visual essay "State of Emergency," included in the collaborative visual project I Exist: European Stories of Islamophobia.

In "State of Emergency," Bénédicte examines the institutionalized logic behind islamophobia and its genealogy in France. After the Bataclan massacre in 2015 by Islamic State extremists in Paris, the French government declared a state of emergency for two years. In 2016, when the government lifted the state of emergency, only 23 of the court cases opened amid 4,457 house raids could be linked to terrorist activity. Effectively, on October 3, 2017, what began as temporary measures became a permanent state of emergency, reinforcing the long-standing institutional persecution of a marginalized minority.

One of the families Bénédicte chronicled is the Aziz family, whose cat is pictured above. They went through a house raid on January 20, 2016. Until today they assume this was because Abdelkader, 53 years old, was in charge of an informal mosque he and some friends decided to set in their building in Marseilles. January 2020.

Bénédicte Kurzen photographic career began when she moved to Israel in 2003, covering hard news as a freelancer in the Gaza Strip, Iraq and Lebanon. Bénédicte holds a master’s degree in Contemporary History from the Sorbonne, Paris. For the past ten years, Bénédicte has been covering conflicts and socio-economical changes in Africa.

Follow Bénédicte on Instagram @benedicte_kurzen.