French Comic Dieudonné Loses Support in Quebec

As his native France cooled in recent years to his increasingly publicly strident criticism of Jews, the French comic Dieudonne M’bala M’bala has been able to count on Quebec for a soft landing. He has been the toast of French-language comedy festivals in the province and in 2008 chose to debut his latest show in Montreal. “Dieudonne: the clown isn’t funny anymore,” read a headline in Saturday’s Le Devoir. A senior aide to French President Nicolas Sarkozy last week mused about having Dieudonne’s party and its “overtly anti-Semitic manifesto” barred from running in the election. Dieudonne is also facing legal action under French hate-speech law for a show in December 2008 in which he brought on stage notorious French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson and awarded him a prize for “unrespectability.”

Jacques Chirac emerges as spokesperson for Holocaust instruction in Muslim countries

Former French President Jacques Chirac has emerged as a spokesperson of sorts for Holocaust instruction in Muslim countries. Chirac’s popularity in parts of the Arab world and his history of making clear statements about France’s responsibility in the World War II destruction of Europe’s Jews accords him, according to this IHT feature, a unique place in talking about the relationship of racism and anti-Semitism to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Chirac said he had no intention “to place on Muslim countries a responsibility” for the Holocaust “that isn’t theirs” but stressed the importance of “making the Shoah known while removing it from the silence that people have built up around it in many countries.” “It’s been hidden,” Chirac said, “because referring to the Shoah in these countries has risked creating sympathy for the Jews and Israel.”

Turkey Expects France to be Fair in EU Entry Talks

Turkey’s foreign minister requested that France should conduct EU entry talks with Turkey in a fair and impartial way. France will take over the EU’s six-month presidency in July, during which it will lead negotiations with Turkey. French President Sarkozy is against Turkey joining the 27-nation bloc

President Sarkozy Praises Tunisia’s Fight Against Extremists and Advances on Human Rights

French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised Tunisia for its fight against Islamic extremists adding that it is a laboratory for an open Arabo-Muslim society that respects its identity. Sarkozy’s comments received criticism from human rights groups like the Tunisan Association of Democratic Women. Its spokesperson, Khadija Cherif, explained she was disappointed Sarkozy had given priority to business. Tunisair announced a deal to purchase 16 aircraft from European plane-maker Airbus, and French and Tunisian officials signed an accord that could lead to the construction of a nuclear power plant in Tunisia.

Sarkozy visits rough Paris suburb

On Monday January 21st, French President Nicolas Sarkozy paid an unexpected visit to Paris’ suburb of Sartrouville, marking his first visit to one of the country’s poor towns that is home to many immigrants and French citizens of immigrant origin. Speaking in front of the town’s train station, Sarkozy said that he would soon address problems with unemployment and poverty in a detailed plan to be unveiled next month. The idea is we’re going to give you the chance to work or study, he said, adding that it would be not a last chance but a first one.

Contested French Immigration Bill Passes

French lawmakers approved a controversial bill that would institute language and DNA testing for prospective immigrants, hoping to join family members in France. Socialist and Communist party members oppose the bill, citing that it would encourage institutionalizing xenophobia. The bill is part of an overarching plan by Conservative French President Nicolas Sarkozy to implement widespread immigration reform.

Chirac Slams Media “Provocation” in Printing Mohammad Cartoons

PARIS – French President Jacques Chirac on Wednesday accused newspapers printing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed of “provocation,” after yet another French publication put the contentious caricatures on its pages. “Anything that can hurt the convictions of another, particularly religious convictions, must be avoided. Freedom of expression must be exercised in a spirit of responsibility,” Chirac told his cabinet, according to a government spokesman.

French Senate Approves Hijab Bill By Majority

PARIS: The French Senate approved by a large majority a bill banning hijab and other religious insignia in state schools on Wednesday, March 3. The proposal was adopted with 276 in favor and 20 against, despite the recent mass protests by the five-million-estimated Muslims and human rights at home and the appeal of some countries against the ban, BBC reported. French President Jacques Chirac has 15 days to sign into law the bill – adopted by the lower house last month by overwhelming majority, according to the BBC. Chirac said in a televised speech in December 2003 that the “Islamic veil” whatever name we give it – the kappa and a cross that is of plainly excessive dimensions” have no place in the precincts of state schools. ‘Powerful Signal’ French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin told senators before the vote that the law did not aim to discriminate against religions but to ”send a powerful and quick signal”. Raffarin insisted the law was needed to contain the spread of what he called ”Muslim fundamentalism” and ensure that the principle of secularism on which France is based remains intact.

Moroccans’s demonstration against French President Jacques Chirac’s decision of banning the veil

For Moroccans to demonstrate against French President Jacques Chirac’s decision of banning the veil as a religious symbol at schools, it reflects a religious position more than a political one. Although it is difficult to reduce the Islamic issue to the wearing of the veil, or not, it is obvious that extremist circles in France, and outside, will find in the argument a pretext to accuse Islam of extremism and exaggeration.