James Foley’s parents ‘disturbed’ by Marine Le Pen tweeting Isis beheading photo

Far-right leader posted image of beheaded US journalist after her Front National party was accused of sharing a community of spirit with Isis

The parents of James Foley, the journalist beheaded by Islamic State in 2014, have reacted with dismay after Frances far-right leader Marine Le Pen tweeted an image of his decapitated body.

Le Pen posted three gruesome images of Isis killings on the social media site on Wednesday in response to an accusation by a journalist that her Front National party bore similarities with the extremist group.

Daesh is THIS! Le Pen said in angry tweets showing the killings, using the Arabic acronym for the group. But her effort to make a distinction between her anti-immigration party and Isis appears to have backfired.

The prosecutors office in the western Paris suburb of Nanterre said had launched an investigation into the dissemination of violent images over the tweets.

Foleys parents said they were deeply disturbed.

John and Diane Foley said in a statement: Our family was informed this morning that Marine Le Pen, a French politician, tweeted a shamefully uncensored picture of our son.

We are deeply disturbed by the unsolicited use of Jim for Le Pens political gain and hope that the picture of our son, along with the two other graphic photographs, are taken down immediately, they said.

Foley, a freelance journalist, was captured in Syria in 2012 and beheaded in August 2014.

Mainstream media largely refrained from showing any potentially disturbing or gruesome photos from the incident.

Le Pen tweeted the photos after Jean-Jacques Bourdin, known for his brash style, said on BFM TV that her party Front National (FN) and Isis both focus on identity, so share a community of spirit.

The incident comes three days after Le Pens FN suffered a stinging defeat in critical regional elections on Sunday, failing to take any regions, a personal humiliation for Le Pen who ran in the north. However, she came out victorious in a legal battle on Tuesday when a Lyon court acquitted her of inciting hatred for denouncing prayers in the streets by Muslims.

Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve, asked about the tweets in parliament, told MPs he has taken the case to a section of the judicial police that deals with illicit content on the internet so it can look into the matter as it does each time these photos are diffused.

They are propaganda photos of Daesh, Cazeneuve said. He called them abject, an abomination and a veritable insult to all victims of terrorism.

Bourdin occasionally stirs national controversy on his morning show on RMC radio and BFM TV.

On Wednesday, discussing extremism with a noted Middle East expert, he referred to links … not direct links between the National Front and Daesh, but this isolation in identity that in the end is a community of spirit.

In response, Le Pen wrote the tweets.

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