Far-Right Rise Unites Muslims, Jews

May 27, 2014

To the surprise of many, the far-right parties’ overwhelming success in the recent European Parliament elections has united European Muslims and Jews.

In response to such victories, notably the Front national’s, Imam Ahmed Miktar, president of the Association of the Imams of France, told Reuters, “We must learn to work together effectively on both the grass roots and leadership levels…Our communities can no longer afford the luxury of standing apart.”

His comments come in the wake of far-right victories throughout Europe, particularly Marine Le Pen’s Front national party, which garnered 25% of the total votes. The results have sparked worry among France’s religious minority groups who have since voiced the need to unite in face of the extreme parties.

Following the elections, the Gathering of European Muslim and Jewish Leaders has promised to “work closely together to fight Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and xenophobia and prevent the far right parties from realizing their goal of passing a common legislative agenda in the European parliament severely restricting the rights of religious minorities.”

The statement recognized the group’s previous successes by stating that, “Just as European Muslim and Jewish leaders joined forces in recent months in successfully combating an effort by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to outlaw circumcision and to protest Denmark’s new law banning kosher and halal slaughtering, we will now stand together and speak with one voice against efforts by the extremist parties to implement their hateful agenda.”

The Front national’s triumphs, along with those of other far-right groups, is expected to hinder Turkey’s EU bid. France and Germany have been the leading opponents of Turkey’s entrance into the EU. If the country’s bid is successful it will be the first major Muslim country in the EU. Many believe that the Front national fears a Muslim-majority country joining the EU, as this could lead to increased immigration into France.

What European allies can Marine Le Pen count on?

May 28, 2014

Despite an elevated voter participation rate compared to the 2009 elections, (42.5% in 2014 versus 40.5% in 2009), the Front national dominated the recent May 2014 European Parliament elections. Front national leader Marine Le Pen garnered 24.9% of the total French vote, beating out the UMP (20.3%) and the Parti socialiste (13.9%).

The FN has quadrupled its success since the 2009 elections and will now have 24 representatives in the European Parliament, where Marine Le Pen and her father, Jean Marie Le Pen both hold seats. The party’s success worries many French Muslims, as Marine Le Pen’s rhetoric is often anti-immigration.

“Too anti-Islam…too extreme” explains why other far-right parties in Europe refuse to ally with the FN in Parliament. Among such parties are the United Kingdom’s UKIP, Denmark’s UF, and the PS in Finland.

The party’s success puts it at the threshold for the number of seats required to form a parliamentary group, which requires 25 seats. However, in order to do so the elected leaders must come from at least seven countries. For the moment, the FN only has four allies: Italy’s LN, Austria’s FPO, Belgium’s VB and PVV in the Netherlands.

Le Pen Tells Dutch Radio that she’s no Geert Wilders

Radio Netherlands Worldwide – June 1, 2011

In an interview with Dutch radio, French National Front leader Marine Le Pen said that, unlike Geert Wilders, she is “not waging war against Islam”. She is fighting the Islamisation of French society. She said: “I’m not my father…Our party is not based on hate towards others, but on love for our own country.”
If successful in next year’s presidential elections, Ms Le Pen would set up a “sovereignty ministry” to enable “France to be its own boss in its own country”. According to her, France should determine its own policy on financial matters and immigration. According to a survey published in March in Le Parisien, Ms Le Pen is so popular she would gain an unprecedented first-round victory if the French were to go to the polls today.

French National Front leader says Islam is not compatible with secular society

News Agencies – January 28, 2011

The recently appointed leader of France’s far-right National Front party has turned her attention toward Islam, saying it is “absolutely not compatible” with a secular society. Marine Le Pen, who took over as head of the party two weeks ago, has regularly faced accusations of Islamaphobia. “I think that France can be secular because it’s a Christian culture and you notice that in Muslim countries they have more difficulty,” she told LCP, the French parliament’s TV channel. “France is France. It’s a country with Christian roots and that’s also what’s given us our identity. It’s secular, we’ll hold this identity and we won’t let this identity be changed.”

In December, the 42-year-old compared Muslims praying in the street to the German occupation during World War II, shortly before she took over from her father Jean-Marie as head of the anti-immigrant party.

Marine Le Pen said to be new leader of the French National Front Party

France’s far right National Front has chosen Marine Le Pen as its new leader, replacing her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, party officials say. The results will be officially announced on January 16, but party sources said she had secured about two-thirds of members’ votes. Mr Le Pen is stepping down after leading the ultra-nationalist party, which he founded, for almost 40 years.

The FN, with its anti-immigration agenda has been shunned by France’s main parties. But Ms Le Pen has said she wants to break with its xenophobic, anti-Islam image and is confident the FN can become part of mainstream politics. A recent poll suggested the party could come third in the presidential elections to be held in 2012.

French National Front Leader Acquitted of Racism Charges

News Agencies – December 2, 2010
A Paris court has acquitted the far-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen of charges of racism over campaign posters for his National Front party. The court said Thursday that Mr. Le Pen, left, was not personally responsible for the posters, reading “No to Islamism” and featuring a woman in a face-covering veil next to a map of France swathed in the Algerian flag. The posters were issued before regional elections in March (see: http://www.euro-islam.info/2010/03/12/national-front-party-gains-ground-on-anti-islamization-platform/). The anti-racism group SOS Racism had brought the charge of “inciting racial hatred” against Le Pen. The public prosecutor had asked Le Pen be handed a two month suspended sentence, a €20,000 ($26,200) fine and a 1-year-long ban on running for office.
New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/03/world/europe/03briefs-France.html

The Washington Post – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/02/AR2010120201971.html

Le Monde – http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2010/12/02/apres-l-affiche-non-a-l-islamisme-le-pen-relaxe-d-incitation-a-la-haine_1448148_3224.html

Le Figaro – http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2010/12/02/97001-20101202FILWWW00474-affiches-non-a-l-islamisme-le-pen-relaxe.php

Libération – http://www.liberation.fr/politiques/01012305779-affiches-non-a-l-islamisme-le-pen-relaxe