Ismael El Iraki, a survivor of the November 13 Paris attacks, has composed an open letter to fellow survivor and Eagles of Death Metal singer Jesse Hughes, accusing the front-man of becoming a “spreader of hate” by spewing anti-Muslim rhetoric in interviews with the press.
Hughes, like Iraki, is a survivor of the 2015 Paris attacks, which occurred at the Le Bataclan concert venue during an Eagles of Death Metal concert, as well as various sites in the French metropolis and its suburb Saint-Denis late last year. Since the incident—which left 89 other concert attendees dead, and dozens more casualties overall—Hughes’ commentary to the press on the matter has pointed to a massive conspiracy theory, involving underground (and baseless) Muslim participation.
As Billboard noted, Hughes’ past remarks include his belief that security at the venue worked in collusion with the terrorists that perpetrated the attack, stating that they had “prior knowledge” of the massacre.
Despite having apologized for his prior commentary, Hughes returned to his original stance in a recent interview with Taki’s Magazine, claiming that he saw Muslims “celebrating in the [streets] during the attack.”
“How did they know what was going on? There must have been coordination,” he added.
After reading the interview, Iraki—who according to Billboard “has previously spoken about the tragedy and his continued love for live rock music following the attacks”—took to Facebook to share his thoughts.
What makes Iraki’s letter such a moving read is his inherent connection to Hughes: as a member of Eagles of Death Metal, Hughes headlined the event at Le Bataclan, whereas Iraki was a member of the audience.
The post, which included a photo of the crowd taken during the event—a photograph which Iraki featured in—prompted the activist to ask Hughes why a self-professed Eagles of Death fan would take part in a series of attacks that victimized his own people.
As Iraki wrote:
I live and breathe rock ‘n’ roll, and I could not look more Muslim if I tried. But apparently, the big bad Muslim conspiracy missed me. Damn, they forgot to warn me. They also forgot to warn Djamila, and all the other Arabs who got shot and killed that very night. They forgot to warn my fellow Moroccan Amin, who was shot that very night. Apparently, a few weeks later, the also forgot to warn Leila, another fellow Morrocan, who got killed in the Ouagadougou attack. Silly international Muslim conspiracy. They really cannot do any job well.
I will not dignify you by narrating how I behaved that night. I have and always will refuse to do that publicly: I do not believe that another bloody Bataclan story could be useful to anyone. You can make your own inquiries and I do not think that you will like what you will discover, for it will certainly not fit your narrow minded, boxed-in image of what a Muslim or an Arab (for apparently you ignore the difference between those two words) can do. I believe that the people I helped that night did not care that I was an Arab, nor did I care which origin they where or which imaginary friend they bow to. We all bleed red, brother. And enough about me.
In his letter, Iraki also pointed out that a Muslim attendee was instrumental in saving an overwhelming number of concert-goers after the attack—a “Muslim attendee who helped others flee the venue, exited the building and then returned inside to help more people escape,” as Billboard reported.
What pains me most is that you do not even realize that a huge number of us who managed to get out alive of this horrible ordeal owe our lives to a Muslim guy. His name is Didi and he opened the left front door most of us got out of. This guy did something that neither you, me, or anyone else I ever met would ever have done.
You know what he did, this Arab guy, this Muslim? He opened the left front door, let a shitload of people out, and then, while he was safe and sound in the street outside, HE WENT BACK IN. He turned back, and headed back in to save more people. He opened the upstairs exit and let a number of people out through there. That guy, as I said, was nothing like you. Or me.
As of now, Hughes has not commented on the matter.
Update (3:24 a.m.): Originally, this article named Hughes’ band as “Eagles of Death.” The full name of the band is “Eagles of Death Metal.”
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Image via Getty.