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 Political Party, the UMP, launches website to debate the Burqa

Led by Jean-François Copé, Nicolas Sarkozy’s political party, the UMP or the Union for a Popular Movement, has launched a website to consider and debate the niqab and burqa in the Republic: http://la-burqa-en-debat.fr/. The website includes polls, definitions, video stream and position pieces by elected officials, as well as additional information links on the subject.

Reaction to the website has been mixed. Farhad Khosrokhavar, sociologist and director of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, notes how the website makes the phenomenon appear far more widespread than it is.