News Agencies – January 13, 2012
Speaking in Paris at her first campaign rally, Green presidential candidate Eva Joly argued that national holiday status should be accorded to the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr and the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.
Currently six of the 12 national holidays in France are Catholic calendar events, with the other six having no religious connotation. “Each religion should benefit from equal treatment in the public sphere,” she said. “I believe that national holidays should also be accorded to faiths other than the Catholic faith.”
Joly’s proposals were rejected by all three leading parties. Minister of Higher Education and UMP member Laurent Wauqiez argued on French news channel BFM that “France’s national holidays have come about through our Christian history. We are not going to rub out our history.”
The leader of the Green Party Dr Caroline Lucas MEP has spoken out against the growth of Islamophobia in the UK. “The Green Party’s view is clear: everyone in Britain must be free to follow their chosen faith, or none, fully confident that their right to do so will be vigorously upheld by government.”
Dr Lucas, who was recently re-elected as an MEP for South East England, signed up to a statement issued by a number of politicians and other prominent figures. The full statement reads as below:
Muslims in Britain are facing attacks on many fronts. These include:
* The high-profile arrests under terror legislation of Muslims who are subsequently released without charge, creating a climate of fear and harassment.
* An increase in violent attacks on Muslims in the streets and on Muslim places of worship.
* The targeting of Muslims by the far-right British National Party.
* Aggressive policing of Muslims on demonstrations, apparently designed to deter them from participating in peaceful protests.
* The racist misrepresentation of Muslim views and practices in the mass media.
* The political harassment of Muslim leaders by government ministers.