News Agencies – April 5, 2012
President Nicolas Sarkozy has been accused of exploiting public fears about Islamist violence in France by ordering a wave of arrests of suspected radicals across the country in a desperate electoral ploy. The country’s biggest annual gathering of French Muslims begins on the outskirts of Paris with what one hostile newspaper called a “virulent” and highly politicised message from the president ringing in delegates’ ears.
Mr Sarkozy said in a letter to Ahmed Jaballah, president of the Union of Islamic Organisations (UOIF), he would not tolerate support being expressed at a public meeting on French soil for “violence, hatred [and] anti-Semitism, which constitute unbearable attacks that run counter to human dignity and republican principles”.
The left-of-centre daily newspaper Libération offered its judgement of the letter’s contents in five pages of coverage of rising tensions and political maneuvering headed “Sarkozy and Islam: dangerous liaisons.”