Samy Debah, who founded the Collective Against Islamophobia in France in 2004, quietly left the organization in March. “I have never been loyal to a single political party. Since I’ve become an official candidate, activists from leftist parties have approached me but I declined.” His candidacy is expected to prompt debate, since the association has documented Islamophobic attacks within the last several years from the right and extreme right, but also by Manuel Valls when he was prime minister.
Debah hopes to mobilize voters in the 8th district of Val d’Oise, which has seen high voter abstention rates. In the 2012 legislative elections abstention rates reached 57.38%. He has openly rejected any forms of communitarianism, stating, “I am Muslim and French and I see it often.” His candidacy is a test, as voters are accustomed to Tariq Ramadan and Marwan Muhammad. This time, it’s Samy Debah who has emerged as a viable candidate.