• Jesse Hughes from Eagles of Death Metal performs at L'Olympia on February 16, 2016 in Paris, France. (Redferns)Source: Redferns
"I love your music...I never thought that you would become one of those spreaders of fear."
By
Ben Winsor

27 May 2016 - 3:02 PM  UPDATED 27 May 2016 - 3:02 PM

Earlier this month Jesse Hughes, the front-man of Eagles of Death Metal, let loose in an interview with Taki’s Magazine. The singer was on stage in Paris’ Bataclan theatre in November last year when Islamist terrorists open fire, killing 89.

In the interview, the singer suggested that fear of offending Muslims was a terrorist’s greatest weapon, said liberalism had taught audience members to surrender, and speculated that Muslim security staff had assisted with the attack.

He also described people looking at him with “Arab envy” before the show. “When a Muslim sees a cocky American dude with tattoos, he stares at him,” he said.

Hughes’ comment provoked Ismael El Iraki, a fellow survivor of the Bataclan attacks, to post a 1,000 word response on Facebook and in the French edition of the Huffington Post.

“I could not look more Muslim if I tried. But apparently, the big bad Muslim conspiracy missed me. Damn, they forgot to warn me,” he wrote sarcastically. “Silly international Muslim conspiracy. They really cannot do any job well.”

Hughes had previously made similar comments, but retracted them in an official apology.

“I haven't been myself since November 13. I realize [sic] there's no excuse for my words, but for what it’s worth: I am sincerely sorry for having hurt, disrespected or accused anyone,” he reportedly said in a statement at the time, which appears to have now been removed.

Describing the frontman’s comments as “f***ing dangerous,” the El Iraki said Hughes had reopened a nasty wound.

“All you f***ing bigots and your fairytale s**t stories are the problem,” El Iraki wrote, in an apparent reference to both Islamist terrorism and Hughes’ membership of online ministry Universal One Church. “Racism and refusal to recognize one another as complex (more complex than ethnicity or race can explain) human beings is the problem. Reducing others to what you think you know is the problem.”

El Iraki also spoke of ‘Didi’, a Muslim in the theatre who the survivor says opened the front door for people to escape through before heading back in to open an upstairs exit.

“What pains me most is that you do not even realize [sic] that a huge number of us who managed to get out alive of this horrible ordeal owe our lives to a Muslim guy,” El Iraki wrote.“Muslims and Arabs are caught up in it with you, they face dying a random, stupid death like you.”

The former fan said he had defended Hughes’s controversial comments in the past, but wouldn’t anymore.

“I never thought that you would become one of those spreaders of fear. Fox News, Trump, all those guys. You always felt like a maverick, a rebel: we now know that you are not,” he wrote.