The Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between Peoples (Mrap or Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l’amitié entre les peuples) has launched a complaint of racism against French Secretary of State for the Family, Nadine Morano, for comments she made about Muslim youth.
During a debate on national identity on 14 December 2009 at Charmes (Vosges), Morano called for young French Muslims to love France, to find work, to not speak verlan (slang) and not wear their baseball caps backwards.
The debate on national identity in France became more focused on young French Muslims following the comments of Nadine Morano at Charmes. The president of the CFCM (the French Council of the Muslim Faith), Mohamed Moussaoui, critiqued the stereotypical image promoted by Morano.
A spokesperson for the Union of French Jewish Students called the debate on national identity a “theatre for the expression of prejudicial racism”. Leftist parties in France have also pointed to how “dangerous” the debate is for cohesive national identity.
Along these lines, Dominique de Villepin called for the end of the “terrible” debate which should have never begun. The former prime minister stated, “In a period of crisis, we have more important matters to attend to than creating further division.”
In the context of the debate on French national identity in Charmes (Vosges), Nadine Morano, French secretary of State in charge of the family and of solidarity, declared to young French Muslims that they no longer use “verlan” slang when they speak.
Verlan is a popular suburban phenomenon of speaking, changing the order of words (i.e. bizarre becomes “zarbi”). Morano called for young Muslims to love their country, to find work, to no longer speak using verlan, to no longer wear their caps backwards.
Benoit Hamon of the Socialist Party responded with concern for Morano’s caricaturized portrayal of young people which looks very little like most young French Muslims today. The organization SOS Racisme echoed Hamon’s position.
According to a poll held by Nouvel Observateur, 40 percent of French people see the debate on National Identity by Nicolas Sarkozy to the necessary. 42 percent of respondents noted the negative ramifications of the debate.