UKIP party leader Paul Nuttal said that wearing a burka or niqab was too much of a security risk and barrier to integration. Labour MP Chuka Umunna responded that UKIP was a “hate peddler.”
Nuttal also said that UKIP candidates would largely not challenge any Members of Parliament (MP) who supported Brexit. Nutall did not confirm his own candidacy.
Ashuk Ahmed, once honoured in the House of Lords for among the most “inspirational role models for British Muslims,” is no longer the Liberal Democratic candidate for the Luton South constituency. Ahmed was suspended because of pre-2014 anti-Semitic Facebook posts.
The Liberal Democrats claim to have suspended Ahmed immediately after receiving notice of the offensive content. The content included claims of Zionist control and a repost from an American hate group, AshkeNazi, which claims a “takeover” of America by Ashkenazi Jewish people.
In France the issue of halal meat has often been polemicized in presidential campaigns.
Le Pen has previously stated that “according to the Île-de-France Agricultural Chamber, 100% of meat killed in the region is halal.” She added that “ritual slaughter makes animals suffer, but it also poses numerous questions in terms of tracing the meat’s origins, as well as transparency regarding the products offered to consumers. Ritual slaughter thus causes considerable stress and suffering for the animals killed, which has been shown in numerous videos taken in slaughterhouses that show the animals’ throats being slit while they are still alive…”
Macron, however, has had less to say about the issue. When asked about his position, he stated that “the debate must be respectful of everyone’s spiritual beliefs.” He has spoken out in favor of “all meat (even imports) sold in France to be labeled” in order to “specify the method of slaughter.” Macron called for “additional video surveillance in the slaughterhouses” as well as “inspections by veterinarians.” Unlike Le Pen, however, he has called for these measures to apply to all types of slaughter, not just halal.
Oumma.tv has published a compilation video of Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen’s statements regarding Islam and laïcité.
Clips include Macron asking: “how can we ask our fellow citizens [Muslims] to believe in the Republic if certain people use laïcité to tell them there is no place for them here?” and later stating “there is no problematic religion in France.”
In one clip, Le Pen stated: “the veil is an act of submission for the woman.” She later announced her intention to bank the burkini, and linked the act of wearing one to being an Islamist. “Women actually take advantage of political Islam, which puts enormous pressure on them to impose its visibility,” she said.
Click here to watch the full video.
While the majority of French Muslims traditionally have voted for leftist parties, at a recent UOIF conference there was talk of abstention.
The main candidates–save for Marine Le Pen–met the leaders of the French Council of the Muslim Faith before the election’s first round, and the “Muslim vote” could have additional significance in the upcoming election. Despite this, many Muslims at the conference reported feeling disappointed with Hollande’s tenure as president, and were hesitant to cast their vote in the first round.
Amar Lasfar, president of the UOIF, advised French Muslims “not to reduce a candidate to what they say about Islam,” which many took as an endorsement of François Fillon of Les Républicains. “Vote!” he urged during a speech, “Save France from the threat of the far right.”
“Abstention, it’s the wrong choice: it means nothing,” concluded Nabil Ennasri, president of the Collective of French Muslims.
While 46% of practicing Catholics voted for François Fillon in the first round of elections, 37% of Muslims voted for Jean-Luc Mélenchon. These findings are according to an Ifop poll for the newspaper Pèlerin, published on April 24.
Among Muslims, Emmanual Macron trailed Mélenchon with 24%, followed by Benoît Hamon with 17% and François Fillon with 10%.
Additional results of polls estimating Catholic and Protestant participation can be found here
Kamel Kabtane, rector of the Grand Mosque of Lyon, published a communiqué before the first round of the elections in which he called on the Muslim community to assume its “duty” to vote.
“Our responsibility, as citizens of this country, commands us to take part in France’s future at a time when certain irresponsible persons attempt to convince us to desert the voting booths and separate us from our fellow citizens,” he wrote. “Those who advocate retrograde beliefs, contribute to the image of a community who is uninterested in the Future of its country. The Muslims of France are in fact concerned, about the future of their country, just as they are concerned about the future of their children.”
Contacted by Lyon Capitale, Kabtane stated that salafist places of worship have attempted to dissuade Muslims from voting. “All the mosques are on alert and the sermons will call on Muslims to fulfill their duty as citizens. That is our objective,” he concluded.
“The Grand Mosque of Paris and its National Federation (FGMP) calls on France’s Muslims to vote en masse for the candidate Emmanuel Macron who, regarding Republican values and the strict application of laïcité, personifies the route to hope and confidence in the spiritual forces and citizens of the nation” said Dalil Boubakeur, the mosque’s rector.
Before the second round “which will determine the future of France and its minorities, all Frenchmen must remain united against the threat of dangerous xenophobic beliefs in order to sustain national unity,” Boubakeur added. The Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF) also tweeted for “Republican mobilization,” before the second round of elections.
Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian who holds U.S. citizenship, was acquitted by a Cairo court on Sunday along with seven others who had worked with street children. Hijazi was released from jail on Tuesday, having been held for nearly three years.
She was flown to Joint Base Andrews, the U.S. military airfield on the outskirts of Washington.
President Donald Trump had privately asked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to help out in the case when Sisi visited the White House on April 3, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Amaiya Zafar, a 16-year-old from Oakdale, who is Muslim, recently won a battle that will allow her to wear a hijab and fully cover her arms and legs while boxing. That means she can put on her boxing gloves later this month to fight her first sanctioned match.
Zafar has her sights set on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. To get there, she’d have to persuade the international boxing organization — the AIBA — to allow her to box in her modest attire.
For now, her right to wear the scarf is only with USA Boxing.