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Politician calls to strip footballer Karim Benzema of French citizenship over Muslim Brotherhood

Al Ittihad's Karim Benzema greets fans during his team match against Al Raed in the Saudi Professional League, in Buraidah, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Aug. 14, 2023.
Al Ittihad's Karim Benzema greets fans during his team match against Al Raed in the Saudi Professional League, in Buraidah, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Aug. 14, 2023. Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews
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It comes after French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said in a television interview that Benzema is "notoriously linked with the Muslim Brotherhood."

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A politician in France wants star footballer Karim Benzema stripped of his citizenship and awards over supposed links to the Muslim Brotherhood. 

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin claimed in a television interview this week that Benzema is "notoriously linked with the Muslim Brotherhood, we all know it." 

The footballer's legal team has denied the accusation, calling it "false" in a statement to French media.

That didn't stop Valérie Boyer, a French senator and vice-president of the conservative Les Républicains party, from demanding authorities revoke Benzema's French passport, however. 

Boyer said the first level punishment would be to take away the Ballon d'Or award he won in 2022 as a "symbolic sanction," and then remove his French nationality. 

Benzema currently holds dual Algerian and French citizenship, plays for the French national team, and competes at club level in Saudi Arabia. 

The Muslim Brotherhood is an international Islamic political and social organisation. It wants to bring Islamic values and principles to government and society, though has courted controversy over links to groups deemed extremist by some. 

It is considered a terrorist organisation in Saudi Arabia. 

Boyer's full statement now appears to have been deleted from social media, but has been saved by other users on X, formerly Twitter. 

An update from Boyer's official account re-states her desire to strip Benzema of his football award and French nationality. 

Lyon local Karim Benzema, age 35, moved to the Saudi club Al-Ittihad for a reported €200 million earlier this year. He previously played for Real Madrid and Lyon. 

His professional career has been dogged by scandals, including in 2010 when he was indicted by prosecutors for allegedly having sex with an underage prostitute. 

In 2014 that case was dropped when the judge ruled there was not enough evidence Benzema knew the girl was underage. 

In 2015 Benzema was arrested by police who alleged he was blackmailing another France international player over a sex tape recorded on a mobile phone. 

He was found guilty in 2021 and received a suspended sentence and a fine.

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