Legislative elections: The Collective Against Islamophobia(CCIF )founder candidate in Sarcelles

 

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.

 

 

European Court of Justice decision on the veil: Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) fears tension

While presidential candidate Francois Fillon welcomed the European Court of Justice’s ruling on headscarves in the work place, the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) expressed its “profound worry” regarding the ruling. It argued that the judgment gave “permission to discriminate” in workplaces. The CCIF denounced the ruling as “carrying heavy consequences” that represent “tensions within certain fringes of European societies.

The sentiment was shared by European Network Against Racism (ENAR). “It’s an extremely worrying decision because it excludes women wearing the veil from the working world.”

European Human Rights Court Upholds France’s Burqa Ban

July 1, 2014

On Tuesday, July 1 the European Court of Human Rights voted, by a large majority, to uphold France’s ban of the full veil. A young Frenchwoman challenged the law that was instituted in 2010 and which calls for a 150-euro fine for anyone wearing the full veil in public. The decision is largely viewed as a triumph for France and Belgium, which are the only two countries in Europe to institute such legislation. The victory gives other countries the right to enact similar laws.

The French government had argued that the ban was in the interest of public safety and in support of women who may be forced to wear the full veil. However, many critics contend that the law is discriminatory and targets Muslims and religious minorities, violating the principles of freedom of religion and freedom of expression. In response to the ruling Elsa Ray, spokeswoman for the Muslim advocacy group CCIF argued, “Some people now feel entitled to attack women wearing the veil even though the infringement is no more severe than, say, a parking ticket.”

The law was challenged by a woman only identified by her initials, S.A.S., who decided to wear either a niqab or a burqa without any pressure from her family. S.A.S. contends that the French ban constituted a violation of her religious freedom, and could potentially lead to “discrimination and harassment.”

The French government argued, “showing one’s face in public was one of the ‘minimum requirements of life in society.’” The court decided that the ban cannot be justified as a public safety measure or as a protector of women’s rights, but that “the barrier raised against others by a veil concealing the face was perceived by the respondent state as breaching the right of others to live in a space of socialization which made living together easier.”

The highly contentious decision, which cannot be appealed, has already sparked protests from several groups. James Goldstone, executive director of the Open Society Justice initiative, filed a third-party intervention on the ruling and said, “Coming at a time when hostility to ethnic and religious minorities is on the rise in many parts of Europe, the court’s decision is an unfortunate missed opportunity to reaffirm the importance of equal treatment for all and the fundamental right to religious belief and expression.” He continued, “The majority has failed adequately to protect the rights of many women who wish to express themselves by what they wear.”

However, a spokesman for the French foreign ministry confirmed that the government viewed the ruling as a success because it “reflected France’s commitment to gender equality.”

Claude Goasguen summoned to explain anti-Muslim comments

February 17, 2014

 

After a complaint registered by the CFCM (Conseil Français du Culte Musulman), a deputy of the UMP party and mayor of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, Claude Goasguen, has been summoned on April 7th to a court in Nimes over his derogatory statements made about the anti-Semitism of young Muslims during the KKL Gala (a fundraising event for Israel) on February 2nd.  Claude Goasguen is also Vice President of the France-Israel friendship group.

The CFCM has pressed charges for defamation and incitement to hatred over his comment: ‘we can no longer teach the Shoah in high-schools due to fearing the reaction of young Muslims who have been drugged in the mosques.’ According to the CFCM’s lawyer Khadija Aoudia, such remarks ‘aliment Islamophobia and insult the honor and dignity of the Muslim community.’

Abdallah Zekri, President of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, said he received twenty calls from various leaders of religious centers encouraging him to launch a judiciary pursuit. The Ligue de Defense Judiciaire des Musulmans (LDJM) has also announced it will press charges. As for the Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France (CCIF), the organization is considering it and in the meantime has asked political leaders to condemn the remarks.

Contacted by Agence France Presse, Claude Goasguen said his remarks were made in a private reunion and had been misunderstood. ‘My words were not aimed at the Muslim community in general, but to the Islamist trend within it. I have always denounced religious extremism be it Christian, Jewish or Muslim.’ He alsi claimed he meant to say ‘intoxicated’ instead of ‘drugged.’

 

Sources: http://www.liberation.fr/politiques/2014/02/17/goasguen-cite-a-comparaitre-pour-des-propos-anti-musulmans_980819

and

How is Islamophobia measured in France?

January 28, 2014

 

The number of anti-Muslim acts committed in 2013 and recorded by the National Observatory Against Islamophobia has been published on Sunday, January 26. Last year, 226 anti-Muslim acts (164 threats and 62 actions) were registered with the police. This represents an increase of 11,3% from 2012, though a smaller increase from precedent years (+ 34% in 2011 and +28.2% in 2012).

Amongst such acts on the rise, officials at the Observatory are concerned with an increasing aggression against veiled women. According to the President of the Observatory, Abdallah Zakri, ‘this confirms the unsound climate existing in our country, which is favored by certain declarations made by politicians.’

The Observatory obtains its numbers from complaints filed to the authorities, which they get news of from sources on the ground, such as regional representatives of the Conseil Francais du Culte Musulman (CFCM), mosque leaders and the police. Mr. Zakri then compares their numbers with those obtained by the Ministry of Interior, and claims the findings are always very close. According to him, however, the numbers are always below the reality, as at least 20% of people are not pressing charges. Such an analysis is confirmed by the sociologist Marwan Mohammed who devoted a chapter of his book, Islamophoba: How the French Elite Fabricate the Muslim Problem, to measuring Islamophobia: Relying on the charges pressed by people to measure Islamophobia is a relatively fragile form of data.. We don’t have a viable study on the police reaction towards plaintiffs. Moreover, the complaint can sometimes be rebranded, for example as incitation to racial hatred.’

The findings of the Observatory are much inferior to those of the Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France (CCIF) who chooses to record acts on the basis of citizen declarations or media findings. In 2012, the CCIF had identified a total of 469 Islamophobic acts, more than twice the amount of the Observatory’s numbers, which had a total of 201 that year.

These differences reflect the political divisions between the CCIF and the Observatory. The Observatory emerged from the Conseil Francais du Culte Musulman (CFCM) and was created a few months after a convention was signed between the then-Ministry of Interior, Brice Hortefeux, and the CFCM, ‘to keep better track of’ Islamophobic acts.

Although The Observatory eventually broke away to create its own organization, its’ proximity to the government is regularly denounced by the CCIF. The CCIF, which from the start was closer the Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (UOIF), willingly adopts a more polemical tone.

The numbers of the Observatory remain then more consistent with the numbers recorded by the Ministry of Interior. Researcher Marwan Mohammad suggests that Islamophobia is measurable so long as data is cross-checked. As for him, he relies on the number of complaints, the CCIF’s data, and on official sociological studies that regularly point to an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment.

 

Le Monde: http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2014/01/28/la-difficile-mesure-de-l-islamophobie_4355742_3224.html

French Muslims seek to have Islamophobia recognized in awareness campaign

News Agencies – November 1, 2012

The Collective Against Islamophobia in France (Collectif contre l’Islamophobie en France; CCIF) has launched a media campaign to “open dialogue” and “deconstruct clichés” regarding Islam in France. The message of their campaign is “We are the Nation” or that Muslims are central to France whether it be “by birth, but also by their feeling of belonging, by their daily contribution and by the history of our country,” according to the CCIF on their website. They also add that “Islamophobia is not an opinion but is a crime.” The CCIF noted a rise in Islamophobic incidents in 2011 compared to the previous year.

2008 CCIF report on Islamophobic Acts in France

According to the CCIF (The Collective Against Islamophobia in France or the Collectif contre l’islamophobie en France), there were 80 Islamophobic acts recorded in the Republic in 2008, 59 against specific persons and 21 focused on specific locations (like mosques and cemeteries). 67% of acts against specific persons took place in Ile-de-France. The CCIF was created five years ago with the aim of lessening Islamophobia and racism.

According to the CCIF, there were 80 Islamophobic acts in France in 2008

According to the CCIF (The Collective Against Islamophobia in France or the Collectif contre l’islamophobie en France), there were 80 Islamophobic acts recorded in the Republic in 2008, 59 against specific persons and 21 focused on specific locations (like mosques and cemeteries). 67 percent of acts against specific persons took place in Ile-de-France. The CCIF was created five years ago with the aim of lessening Islamophobia and racism.

A Collective Tries To Count Islamophobic Acts

50% of the 182 listed cases between October 2003 and August 2004 are in L’Ile-de-France and Alsace. A collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) made public on October 21 a first attempt at counting of the “islamophobic acts”. This collective of about fifteen members wrote a report for the period active from October to August. L’Ile-de-France et l’Alsace rassemblent 50 % des 182 cas recens_s d’octobre 2003 _ ao_t 2004. Un collectif contre l’islamophobie en France (CCIF) a rendu publique, jeudi 21 octobre, une premi_re tentative de d_nombrement des “actes islamophobes”. Cette structure, d’une quinzaine de membres, a r_dig_ un rapport sur la p_riode allant d’octobre 2003 _ ao_t 2004.