Twitter users are reacting to French politician Jean-Pierre Chevènement’s suggestion that Muslims in France should adopt “discretion” in public in the best way possible.
The former presidential candidate unwittingly sparked the popular Twitter hashtag #MusulmanDiscret (#DiscreetMuslim), which people are using to poke fun at his comments.
“The advice I give in these difficult times…is that of discretion,” Chevènement told French daily newspaper Le Parisien on Monday.
He went on to stay that “French citizens should be able to worship freely,” but they should pay attention to their actions in the public space.
His suggestions inspired Twitter users to brainstorm what a “Discreet Muslim” would look like.
“Don’t say you’re wearing a “hijab,” say you have a sensitive scalp. #DiscreetMuslim.”
“A discreet Muslim in a public place. #DiscreetMuslim.”
Three terrorist attacks in less than two years has led to widespread panic in France and pushed the French government to take strong action, including the closure of around 20 Salafist mosques.
Chevènement himself is slated to run the Foundation for Islamic Works, a government body recently developed to monitor the transmission of foreign funds to mosques in France and oversee the training of foreign imams.
With up to 5 million Muslims, France has one of the largest communities of Muslims in Europe.
Scroll down for more tweets, with translations:
”Tip to be a Discrete Muslim #DiscreetMuslim.”
“When Chevènement says we need to be #DiscreetMuslims.”
“Don’t say “’I don’t eat non-halal meat.’ Say ‘I’m a vegan.’ #DiscreetMuslim.”
”Don’t say “I ate some couscous.” Say “I ate some semolina with ratatouille.” #DiscreetMuslim.”
“Don’t say “I’m going on the haj.” Rather, “I’m expanding French influence in key markets of Saudi Arabia.” #DiscreetMuslim #SmartMuslim.”
“- Why do you disappear five times a day?
- To eat my fruits and vegetables quietly.
“Don’t say I went to the mosque, say I went on a pedagogical trip to a building inspired by Ottoman architecture. #DiscreetMuslim.”
Don’t say ‘I speak Arabic,’ say ‘I speak a semitic language!’”
“No, I’m not praying. I’m just checking the flatness of the carpet. #DiscreetMuslim.”
A version of this piece originally appeared on HuffPost France. It has been translated into English and edited for a U.S. audience.