On Saturday December 28th 2013, a French Muslim soccer player, Nicolas Anelka (aka: Abdul-Salam Bilal), scored a goal for his club, West Bromwich Albion, in front of thousands of cheering fans and millions more around the world watching on television. He showed no joy. He did not even smile. He extended one hand straight down and touched the other to his shoulder. Most of those who saw did not understand. For many others, the meaning was clear: he was performing a "quenelle", the reverse Nazi-style salute invented by the French "comedian" Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala. For the last couple of years, "quenelles" have become a trend in France and throughout Europe.
Pictures of people performing "quenelles" also multiplied: "quenelles" in front of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin; on the train tracks leading to the Auschwitz death camp; beside a picture of Anne Frank in Amsterdam; and in the courtyard of the school where three Jewish children and a teacher were murdered by Mohamed Merah in Toulouse.
The photos also show "quenelles" by famous athletes: soccer players, such as Nicolas Anelka; basketball players such as Tony Parker (he recently apologized, saying he did not know the meaning of the gesture), and world judo champion, Teddy Riner.