French Prime Minister tries to soothe Jewish, Muslim leaders over animal slaughter practices

News Agencies – March 7, 2012

France’s prime minister scrambled to dispel concerns in Jewish and Muslim communities
after criticizing the ritual slaughter of animals for kosher and halal meat. Halal meat has
emerged as a hot-button issue in the campaign for presidential elections starting next
month in France. Francois Fillon’s call for religions to “reflect” upon what he called
outdated traditions has fed a hyper-charged political atmosphere. His boss, conservative
President Nicolas Sarkozy, has openly courted far right voters in hopes of boosting
his lagging chances of re-election, with digs at Muslim practices and calls to shrink
immigration.

But for many, Fillon’s comments went too far. He hosted Jewish leaders and was
expected to meet with Muslim leaders in what appeared to be an attempt to ease concerns
about his comments on French radio this week.

Sarkozy hit a nationalist note with his first big campaign rally last month and has
continued the theme since. He criticized special indulgences for halal meat in schools or
separate swimming hours for Muslim women in public pools. “There is no place in the
Republic for xenophobia, there is no place for racism. … There is no place for pools with
hours for men and hours for women,” Sarkozy told a rally in Bordeaux. He also called for
halving the number of immigrants who come to France each year.

Former French Muslim Minister Dati Accuses French Prime Minister of Prejudice

News Agencies – December 14, 2011

 

Rachida Dati, the first Muslim woman of North African origin to hold a senior French government post, focused a public complaint against the prime minister, François Fillon, in whose cabinet she served as justice minister. Fillon, she wrote in a scathing letter to Le Monde, represented a staid political elite that “never favoured women” and stopping ethnic-minority candidates from running for election.

Dati said she had a “duty of resistance” against the “lone ambition of the powerful”. The ferocious language stems from a row over who will run for a safe Right-wing parliamentary seat representing the affluent 5th, 6th and 7th arrondissements on Paris’s Left bank.

French Prime Minister Opposes Debate on Islam if it stigmatizes Muslims

News Agencies – February 28, 2011

French Prime Minister François Fillon is opposed to a proposed debate about the place of Islam in France, if it would lead to the stigmatisation of Muslims. “If this debate must be focused on Islam and if it seems to lead to the stigmatisation of Muslims, I oppose it. I say it clearly: I oppose it,” Fillon told French radio station RTL.

The president of the ruling UMP party, Jean-François Copé, recently announced plans to launch a debate about religion, “especially Islam”.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared on 10 February that multiculturalism was a failure in France. He called for “an Islam of France and not an Islam in France”.

French Prime Minister to inaugurate mosque in Argenteuil

On 28 June 2010 French Prime Minister François Fillon will inaugurate a mosque in Argenteuil, in the Val-d’Oise, in the Val-d’Argent-Nord neighborhood. The Prime Minister will give a speech in the presence of the Minister of the Interior, Brice Hortefeux. Approximatley 28,000 Muslims live in Argenteuil.

Conservatives in Britain Backing Possible Full-Face Veil Ban in France

French Prime Minister François Fillon has asked the top court to help the government draft a law banning the face-veil after a parliamentary panel recommended a partial ban on the wear in hospitals, schools, public transport and government offices.

The anti-burqa camp is gaining grounds in Britain, with calls for a ban. For instance, Philip Hollobone, Conservative MP for Kettering, told the Daily Telegraph, “In my view, and the view of my constituents, wearing the burqa is not an acceptable form of dress and the banning of it should be seriously considered.” Hollobone said the face-veil “goes against the British way of life.” The far-right British National Party has also called for banning it in schools.

Burqa-wearing woman denied French citizenship

The French government has decided to deny the nationality to a man over allegations that he has forced his French wife to wear the face-veil. “This case is about a religious radical,” said French Prime Minister François Fillon, following Immigration Minister Eric Besson’s admission about the case. “He imposes the burqa, he imposes the separation of men and women in his own home, and he refuses to shake the hands of women,” Fillon added.

It was not clear if the wife was forced to cover her face or it was her choice. The name and nationality of the man was not declared. Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie has called for denying Muslim men who force their wives to wear the full veil the citizenship.

Prime Minister Fillon even vowed to expel the man. “If this man does not want to change his attitude, he has no place in our country,” he said.”In any case, he does not deserve French nationality.” In 2008, a court denied a veiled Muslim woman the nationality for being “too submissive” to her husband and that her religious rituals were “incompatible” with French values.

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.