New Agencies – December 19, 2010
Groups from across Europe gathered in Paris to give voice to increasingly pronounced anti-Islam sentiments on the continent. Claiming to represent a wide range of political opinion, from Marxists and feminists to hardcore secularists and right-wing activists, the groups said they would coordinate their fight against what they call the Islamisation of Europe.
French Muslim and left-wing groups denounced the gathering that drew about 500 people as divisive. The president of the mainstream French Council of the Muslim Faith, Mohammed Moussaoui, said, “We are strongly in favour of the right to free expression but we feel that such a meeting is a threat to national unity and to our ability to live together.” Moussaoui accused the organizers of incitement to hatred but the authorities rejected the council’s appeal to have the meeting banned. The police cordoned off the area near the hall where the gathering took place but only a few dozen people showed up for a counter-demonstration.
Last week, Marine Le Pen, daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen and his likely successor as leader of the ultra right-wing Front National, caused outrage by comparing the overflow of Muslims from mosques into the streets of French cities during Friday prayers with the Nazi occupation during the Second World War.
News Agencies – December 11, 2010
The daughter of French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, who hopes to succeed her father as head of his Front National party, has compared Muslims praying in the street to the German occupation during World War II. Claiming that Islamic prayers are held in the streets in 10-15 locations in France, Marine Le Pen told a meeting of about 300 party faithful in Lyon that “… neighbourhoods where religious law applies, that’s an occupation”.
Earlier in the meeting, Le Pen had compared the war to the economic crisis, which the Front blames on globalisation and immigration, Le Monde reports.
The French party Front National is advertising their rightwing agenda on election posters that very much resemble those of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) during their campaign against minaret construction. The SVP’s poster showed a Muslim woman, almost completely veiled in black cloth, next to an “army” of minarets, covering the Swiss flag. The poster of the National Front’s youth organization shows a similar lady next to a map of France, which is also pierced by minarets and additionally bears colors and symbols of Islamic countries’ flags.
Apparently there is a copyright even on supremacy, and so the SVP now claims violation of copyright. Front National assert that the poster was their idea and even postulates that the People’s Party are building on the “achievements” of the Front National. Furthermore, the French party claims, there are only a few images that can be employed to depict the “creeping Islamisation” of France.
Le maire d’Orange Jacques Bompard, ex-Front-National, et adh_rent du Mouvement pour la France (MPF) a sollicit_ le p_fet du Vaucluse en vue de “l’interdiction du port du voile islamique” dans sa commune, dans un courrier rendu public mercredi. “J’ai l’honneur par la pr_sente de solliciter les serices de la pr_fecture afin d’_tudier en commun la mise en place sur la commune d’Orange, et notamment dans les _tablissements publics, d’une interdiction du port du voile islamique et autres tenus apparent_es”, _crit le maire d’Orange dans cette lettre adress_e au pr_fet du Vaucluse. La pr_fecture a indiqu_ mercredi _ l’AFP qu’elle ne commentait pas “par principe, les rapports entre _lus et le pr_fet, y compris par voie de presse”. Dans sa lettre, M. Bompard qui a adh_r_ au MPF en d_cembre 2005, apr_s son exclusion du bureau politique du FN, estime qu’il ‘appartient au maure d’une commune, d_mocratiquement _lu par les citoyens, et au repr_sentant de l’Etat dans un d_partement, d’agir en concertation afin d’enrayer ce qui constitue une v_ritable atteinte aux principes de la R_publique fran_aise, _ la dignit_ des femmes et aux coutumes de notre pays”. “Or, ce n’est pas _ la France de s’adapter au voile islamique (…). Ce sont aux tenants de ces traditions religieuses de s’adapter _ la France, _ la R_publique, aux lois et coutumes fran_aises”, _crit encore l’_lu vauclusien.
Mayor of Orange Jacques Bompard, a memeber of the Movement for France and an ex-Front National, queried about the legal possibility of the prohibition of the Islamic veil in his community, in a letter made public Wednesday. “I have the honor of soliciting the services of the prefecture in order to study together the possibility of a prohibition of the Islamic veil in the community of Orange and especially our public establishments,” wrote the mayor. “It is not the responsibility of France to adapt to the veil… It is the responsibility of adherents to these religious traditions to adapt to France, to the Republic, to the French laws and customs,” he continued.
In an opinion poll of 1,011 people representative of the French population, 44% reported that they favored a prohibition of the Islamic veil in streets and public buildings. 17% were “very favorable” and 27% “rather favorable”. 21% were “very opposed,” and the rest (35%) were “rather opposed.” The question, however, has two parts: whether the veil should be prohibited in public buildings (post offices, universities, etc.), and whether the veil should be prohibited in the street. If these two questions were separated, the response to the poll might have been different. Breakdown of the poll results by party: On the right: Movement for France (MPF): 59% in favor of the prohibition Union for a Popular Movement (UMP): 53% in favor Front National (FN): 40% in favor This relatively low level of support among the conserviatve FN can be interpreted in a number of ways. It could be a way of saying that the veil is not the problem – foreigners should return home, not integrate into French society. On the left: Communist Party: 48% in favor of the prohibition Greens: 39% in favor Socialists: 36% in favor Notably, not one of the individuals polled refused to answer the question.