Place of Residence:
Political militant, parliamentary assistant, analyst
After learning about his far-right activities, Rieu’s father kicked him out of the family home and he landed in homeless shelters. He studied at the Pantheon-Assas University in Paris. Rieu is now considered one of the most radical and active members of the xenophobe French identitarian movement.
He is currently the parliamentary assistant of Philippe Olivier, a French far-right European MP.
On race and immigration
“The native French now live on the streets. They cannot access shelters and have housing problems. We believe that, again, it is the immigration factor that is responsible for this situation. For us the priority is to help the native French people, as the priority of the government is to help Roma and immigrants in this country.”
In 2014, he gave a speech at a GI conference in which he said: “France is in the process of a rapid Africanization.”
He declared: “If we are talking about Islam, let us talk, above all, about immigration, because the beginning is immigration.”
He said: “It is not the ideology that carries the identitarian vote, it is the instinct of survival, the impulse of existence as people, an impulse awakened in contact with reality. To these two issues, Islam and immigration, GI has always carried a lucid, pragmatic, uncompromising solution: Remigration. The voluntary or non-voluntary return of the majority of non-European colonizers imported to France in the last 40 years.”
“So I hear, remigration is not serious, the identitarians are crazy, but who is crazy? The one who strives to advocate a desperate reconciliation with those who wave Algerian flags while they are in the third generation, those who go to wage jihad, and who are perhaps among the slyest and head-cutters.”
Regarding his condemnation for the “Defend Europe” operation, he said: “The state department was humiliated because what happened was that there is a bunch of students who have shown that you can hold a border if you want to.”
“Without mass immigration, there is no mass Islamization. If there are converts, it is because there are neighborhoods where Muslims are the majority.”
“As we well know, in the 18-25 generation, the only Muslim minority that exists is the moderate one.”
Before his trial regarding the occupation and vandalism of the Poitiers mosque, he said: “So it is with pride that this Wednesday I will once again defend myself against the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood that threatens our country.”
He declared: “We are the generation of confrontation with Islamic alterity (otherness) — first the mosques, then the veil, then Ramadan, then the halal, then the minarets, then the canteens, then the swimming pools, then the foreign funding, the public subsidies, then the burkas, then the prayers in the street, then the departures to jihad and the plans of attack.”
Rieu views immigration and Islam as the biggest threat Europe has ever faced, saying: “Generation Identity will not leave you the choice, we the Julien, the Thomas, we are the sons of Joan of Arc and Charles Martel, we who are not afraid of anything, we will do what you do not have the courage to do, we will fight, we will sacrifice our youth and our life, as our ancestors did before us, to reclaim our land, in the face of the greatest threat that our multi-millennium civilization has ever faced.”
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Damien Rieu is a French far-right member of the xenophobic Generation Identity group known for his Islamophobic and anti-immigration social media posts and videos.
In recent years, the 31-year-old Rieu has become one of the most visible and active members of France’s extreme right.
He has described himself as a whistleblower, and since 2019 has been the parliamentary assistant to Philippe Olivier, a member of the European Parliament representing the right-wing National Rally party, formerly the National Front.
Rieu is also a member of SOS Chretiens d’Orient, an NGO whose founders and members are part of the radical right. The group has been criticized over its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime during the civil war and accused of spreading Syrian regime propaganda.
He is a promoter of the “great replacement” theory espoused by Renaud Camus, and views Islam and immigrants as a threat to France and Europe’s future.
Rieu also supports “remigration,” which demands that all immigrants be returned to their homeland.
He has condemned anti-white racism linked to immigration, has been known to circulate fake news on Twitter, and has been sued by organizations such as SOS Racism for incitement to racial and religious hate.
Gael Brustier, a French political expert, described him as an “excellent propagandist.”
Rieu was born in 1989 and raised by a communist militant father. Despite the far-left influence during his teenage years, he joined the youth section of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s far-right National Front party.
After finding out about his far-right activities, Rieu’s father kicked him out of the family home and he spent time in homeless shelters. He later studied at the Pantheon-Assas University in Paris.
Rieu is the co-founder of Generation Identity (GI), a pan-European movement whose website “calls on the youth to raise their heads in the face of the scum … of the wave of massive immigration.”
GI also declares that its “ideal is the reconquest” since it views immigration as “colonization.”
The group uses techniques of intimidation, including organizing vigilante operations. Eric Zemmour — also profiled in this series by Arab News — has publicly supported and defended the movement.
With GI, Rieu masterminded several highly publicized operations such as occupying the construction site of a mosque in Poitiers in 2012 and deploying a banner stating “732 Generation Identity” in reference to the year in which Charles Martel, a Frankish nobleman, defeated an Umayyad force at the Battle of Tours.
He sees the construction of mosques as a symbol of Islamization, or what GI calls the “immigration-invasion” and the “descent into savagery” of France. ///He was ordered to pay a €40,000 ($47,000) fine and observe a one-year suspended prison sentence, which he appealed and won, thus having charges dropped in June 2020. Rieu describes this sentence as a badge of honor. //
In 2013, Rieu created an aid program to support homeless people specifically of “French” origin and justified such discriminatory practice by saying: “Today we have a housing minister (Cecile Duflot) who supports the massive regularization of undocumented immigrants, who supports mass immigration and who supports illegal immigrants, and who at the same time will make us believe that with all these entries on the French territory she will solve the problem of housing. We’re here to criticize that speech. And that it is the French who suffer reverse discrimination.”
He was sued and condemned for incitement to racial hate.
In 2018, Rieu helped organize a “Defend Europe” operation in which dozens of GI members blocked a border crossing between France and Italy in the Alps. Self-proclaimed border patrols formed a human barrier and unfurled a large banner with the message: “Closed border. You will not make Europe your home. No way. Go home.”
Rieu was one of the leading figures in the operation, and rented helicopters to film and take photographs.
GI has also organized patrols in the French city of Lyon, brandishing the slogan: “In the face of scum, we don’t back down.” The patrols target black and Arab men.
Rieu also writes for far-right sites such as FdeSouche, and often reviews books by xenophobic and Islamophobic authors on his YouTube channel.