French Deputies Open Debate on the Burqa

A coalition has come together in the National Assembly of members who wish to consider women who wear the burqa and the niqab in the French territory. 58 deputies (43 from President Sarkozy´s Union for a Popular Movement or UMP) from different parties signed a proposition put forward by André Gerin (Rhône) to create a new government commission to consider the implications of the practice in France. Gerin claims that the practice is increasingly common. The suggestion has created much debate. Government spokesperson Luc Chatel told the media that, “If it were determined that wearing the burka is a submissive act, and that it is contrary to republican principles [. . .] parliament would have to draw the necessary conclusions.” There are currently no figures which indicate the actual number of women who wear the burqa or the niqab in France. The author of Musulmans de France (Éditions Robert Laffront, 2007) estimates there to be between 30,000-50,000 Salafists in the Republic.

Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the CFCM (French Council of the Muslim Faith) told reporters, “We are shocked by the idea parliament should be put to work on such a marginal issue.” Fadela Amara, however, pushed for action, claiming alarm for the number of women “who are being put in this kind of tomb”. Sihem Habchi, president of NPNS (Neither Whores Nor Submissives) echoed Amara, noting the group´s support of such a commission. Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the Mosque of Paris, also supports the idea of a new inquiry, saying that face covering of women is a fundamentalist practice not prescribed by Islam. Should the remainder of the house agree to the commission, it would draft a report to be released no later than November 30, 2009.

Court Case Rescheduled Because of Ramadan

Defense lawyers of a Muslim man accused of a hold-up claimed that their client was put into a “weak position” because he was fasting during the time of his trial and requested it be rescheduled. One of the man’s lawyers, Mr. Yann Choucq, said that his trial would fall 14 days into the fast which would impede a proper defense: “the constraints of Ramadan, from a physiological perspective, place people in a weak position.” This case marks the first time a case has been postponed due to Ramadan in France.

In Libération, Fadéla Amara, Secretary of State for Urban Policies in the Conservative UMP, has responded that “religion has nothing to do with the justice system” and called for “vigilance” in the matter.

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Le Figaro

Libération

Fadéla Amara Reveals New Plans for France’s Banlieues

The secretary of state for Urban Policies, Fad_la Amara, revealed that the country will aim to launch 45,000 new jobs for the country’s young people in the next three years, centred upon those most marginal in the country’s suburbs. President Sarkozy announced the plan Hope-Suburbs (Espoir-sBanlieues) in February. The project will concentrate on 215 neighbourhoods. Amara also revealed the creation of a cohesion delegation to aid relationships between the suburban population and police. Amara announced that We have a scandalous situation in our suburbs: in some neighbourhoods, between 40%-42% of young people under 26 are unemployed. The plan also includes better access to public transportation and assistance in the education of youths.

Outcry after French Court Annuls Marriage Because Bride Not a Virgin

A ruling ending a Muslim couple’s union has stunned many in France and for some has raised new concerns about the country’s secular values. In its ruling in April the court concluded that the woman had misrepresented herself and that, in this particular marriage, virginity was a prerequisite. France’s Justice Minister Rachida Dati has since formally requested the public prosecutor’s office to appeal the Lille court ruling which annulled the 2006 union of two Muslims because the wife admitted to having lied about being a virgin. Many have denounced the court’s ruling as an affront to the legal equality of mean and women and as a violation of the woman’s privacy. Prime Minister Fran_ois Fillion stated that while he understood the reason for the judge’s ruling the case merited an appeal. Fadela Amara, minister in charge of the country’s suburbs and herself Muslim has called the ruling, a fatwa against the emancipation of women. Dati who herself had a marriage annulled in France that had been arranged by her family has, as of June 6, received a petition from 150 European deputies denouncing the dangerous precedent of the decision. Both the woman and the man in question are opposed to an appeal.

Fadela Amara considers herself as Muslim and Secular

The Secretary of State for Urban Policies (UMP), Fad_la Amara, also former president of Ni Putes, Ni Soumises (“Neither Whores, Nor Submissives“), in an interview published in the Algerian Daily Newspaper Al-Akhbar, declared herself as a “practicing Muslim“ and “secular in politics“.

French Minister Fadela Amara Takes on France’s Projects

On January 22, the French government unveiled a proposal to slash youth unemployment in high-immigrant suburbs. The plan’s architect, Urban Affairs Minister Fadela Amara, unveiled key proposals to local residents in Vaulx-en-Velin, a suburb of Lyon. She pledged to create 45,000 new jobs in areas where up to one in two black and Arab men are unemployed – compared to the national average of eight percent. Also part of the proposal was a plan to cut youth jobless rates by 40% in three years, promising tutors and internships available to students. Sarkozy will release details of the plan and funding on February 8th.

French plan for the suburbs runs into trouble

President Nicolas Sarkozy appeared to be at odds with outspoken urban affairs minister Fadela Amara, over the release of a master plan to help struggling youth in high-immigrant suburbs. The plan, which was promised by Sarkozy during his election campaign, was set to be unveiled in January 22nd in the Lyon suburb of Vaulx-en-Velin, but he said he planned to unroll his government’s proposals at the later date of early February, and perhaps in a different town. Amara responded that the change doesn’t affect anything, and an outline of the plan will be revealed as scheduled.

Urban affairs minister to unveil new plan for inner-cities

France’s urban affairs minister Fadela Amara will present a new plan aimed at tackling pressing problems facing the country’s poor, and high-immigrant suburbs, to be released on January 23rd. While details of the plan have not been revealed, it will reportedly contain measures to improve the quality of life – such as new jobs and training, for the large immigrant and immigrant-descended population in Paris’ suburbs.

She’s Sarkozy’s voice in French slums

Fadela Amara, a daughter of Algerian migrants, rises as an outspoken, leftist minister of urban affairs in France amidst Nicolas Sarkozy’s controversial comments and proposals relating to immigrants in France. Citing that exploitation is rife, Amara is fighting the proposal to legitimize a French citizenry by requiring immigrants to submit to DNA tests in order to prove they have relatives in France. Amara is encouraging youth from immigrant families and suburban slums to embrace a more inclusionary role in French identity.

Sarkozy’s government faces test in the French suburbs

PARIS (AFP) – President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government turns its sights on the troubled suburbs this week, launching a nationwide drive for a new plan that would give immigrant youth a stake in changing France. Nearly two years after the “banlieues” exploded into rioting, Sarkozy has tasked his urban affairs minister and outspoken rights activist Fadela Amara with drafting a set of measures to address joblessness and discrimination. The daughter of Algerian immigrants who grew up in one of France’s rundown housing projects, Amara has released a rough draft of what she has dubbed an “anti-loafing” plan to prevent bored and excluded youth from rebelling.