Le Pen wants collaborate with Geert Wilders

Le Monde

 

15.09.2013

 

In a recent interview with the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the right-wing party Front Nationale (FN), expressed her wish to collaborate with the Dutch right-wing party, Freedom Party (PVV), led by Geert Wilders, for the upcoming European election campaign. Le Pen intents to shows right-wing voters in Europe that xenophobic and racist national movements, which she terms as ‘patriotic’, aren’t isolated but exist in every EU member state. Both parties are infamous for their anti-immigrant, islamophobic and pro-white Christian rhetoric.

 

Despite the many similarities, however, the leader of the FN acknowledges differences with Wilders in regards to the subject of Muslims and Islam. In her view, she has “nothing against the religion itself”, but is predominantly concerned and against the “influ of Muslim immigrants and the visibility of Islam in society”. Wilders, the author of the controversial Islam critical film “Fitna”, on the other hand is all together against the prohibition of the Quran which he compares to Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”.

“The problem with Islam is not the religion but its visibility”

Zaman France

03.04.2013

Marie Le Pen, the President of the French far-right party Front National (FN), expressed in an interview with Zaman France her discontent with Islam and France’s Muslim community.  Contrary to accusations of being islamophobic, Le Pen considers her party to be a defender of secularism and France’s Christian traditions. She argues that France’s Muslim community is in its majority of immigrant background and thus needs to confirm with France’s rules and traditions instead of ‘imposing its own’. She defies the Muslim hijab, halal food requirements and  Muslim calls for prayers as being incompatible with French culture.  The visibility of Islamic cultures and traditions is according to her the real source of contention for her and her followers.

She further encourages the assimilation of Muslims into French culture and identity, which she considers to be a proud culture that has to be primary and not secondary. Instead of placing religion prior to their nationality, Muslims should put more emphasis upon their national identity and citizenship than their faith in their identity production, Le Pen argues.

Normalization of the extreme-right in France

Le Monde

06.02.2013

A new joint survey published by France Info, Le Monde and Canal Plus illustrates the normalisation of the Front national (FN) amongst the French. The study conducted by TNS Sofres exemplifies the change of perception about the French right-wing party over a period of 30 years in France.

The poll reveals that today 47% of respondents “don’t consider the party to pose a threat for democracy” anymore. In another poll conducted in 1990, 70% of respondents still perceived the right wing party to be of danger for French democracy.  The numbers strongly indicate to a normalisation of the FN amongst the French population. It further underlines the mainstreaming of right wing ideologies amongst conservative voters. Accordingly, 54% of UMP voters do not consider the FN to be a threat anymore. Whereas the number of adherence of FN ideals has stayed relatively equal (32%), 63% of participants however said to disagree with the overall policies of the extreme right.

The crucial role of the new leader of the Front national, Marie Le Pen, in the process of normalising and popularising right wing politics becomes evident in the following numbers: whilst in 2012 41% of respondents said that the leader of the party is the representative of “a patriotic right attached to traditional values” instead of a leader of the “an extreme nationalist and xenophobic right”, a year later, 44% participants support such views. According to Le Monde, this hasn’t been the case during the long reign of Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, over the party.

Moreover, 54% of UMP voters consider the current leader to be the representative of “a patriotic right attached to traditional values”. Left wing voters on the other hand reject to 83% the policies of the FN, amongst the Front de gauche supporters it’s even 86%.

Right wing ideas are accordingly most strongly supported by French with little or no education: 42% of workers, 34% of clerks, 41% of the rural population 36% of the rurban population and 38% of the suburban population identify with FN policies. Those who finished higher education and hold further degrees (79%) are the ones that reject right wing ideas the most including those who live in urban centres, specifically large metropolises, as well as academics (85%).

The poll illustrates how right wing politics have been normalised over several decades in France. The integration of right wing parties and policies into the spectrum of mainstream politics indicates the positive revaluation of the right wing ideology and its representatives, the FN, in French politics. No more is the right confined to a state of pariahhood, but has seemingly arrived in the centre of French politic as well as gained the status of socio-political acceptability in France.

Marine Le Pen

Two thirds of French defy Islam according to poll

24.01.2012

According to a recent survey conducted by Ipsos commissioned by the French daily Le Monde, two in three French (74%) reject Islam as “intolerant” and “incompatible” with French society.  While 70% of the survey participant judged that there are “too many foreigners in France”, 62% said they “don’t feel like at home anymore”. The results mirror French society’s sense and understanding of identity, which since three decades has intersected with the question of immigration in France. The rising Islamophobia and xenophobia exemplified by these polls reflects upon the existence of a massive populist movement, which exceeds the electorate of Le Pen’s Front Nationale.

Whilst formerly articulating their rejection against labour migrants who were alleged to “take away jobs from the French”, the rejection has now shifted to target both Islam and Muslims. Accordingly, 74% of French reject Islam and Muslims as intolerant and incompatible with the “values of French society”. The rejection entails all Muslims, whether they may be fully integrated, even assimilated or fundamentalists. Le Monde describes this poll as a rare moment of visualization of French defiance towards Islam.

Further, eight out of ten French accuse Islam to attempt to “impose its way of living upon others”. The survey also shows that more than half of the French population (54%) thinks that Muslims are either in majority (10%) or partially (44%) “fundamentalist” without “us knowing”. These figures vary according to both age and political allegiance, but remain at large majoritarian and help to illustrate the depth of rootage of such perceptions amongst the imagined collective. 61% of the left leaning voters and 66% of those who are younger than 35 years old accuse Islam to be incompatible with the “republican values”.

Le Monde concludes that survey after survey the results show how the image of Islam in France continues to drastically degrade since a number of years. The paper reasons such a decline of public opinion on Islam and Muslims with external and internal reasons that are often of imaginative but also objective nature. On the one hand there is “the increasing visibility of Muslims in French society, the rise of new group claims accompanied by a scaremongering discourse on the ‘Islamisation’ of Europe and the political instrumentalisation of these questions’.

On the other hand, beyond the issues deemed legitimate by the government like “building mosques, taking account of Islam in the military, prisons, hospitals, condemnation of anti-Muslim violence”, other questions relating to Islam and Muslims in France still face an exorbitant response in public opinion; such as the hijab (headscarf) as an attack against France’s secularism, the demand for halal food, religious practices at the workplace. As a result, the survey finds 72% of the French to oppose food at school in line with religious dietary regulations.

Geopolitical, global concerns and  acts of violence on a national scale such as those of Mohamed Merah in Tolouse in 2012, as well as public fears in relation to ‘terrorist groups fighting in the name of Islam’ are also identified by Le Monde to hold the influence on forming negative public opinion on Islam and Muslims.

The paper continues to assess that so far French Muslim authorities were content with demanding the avoidance of the “amalgam between moderate Islam and Islamism,”, which just recently made the news again when the French Council of Muslim Faith advocated the abandonment of the term in the public and media discourse (http://www.euro-islam.info/2013/01/23/french-council-of-the-muslim-faith-commends-french-president/).

Adennour Bidar, a scholar in Islam and Secularism, warns that “beyond the context of diffusing anxieties or irreducible intolerance, these figures are a warning to Muslims. They must critically interrogate Islam”. He continues by asserting that these figures are “also the result of the multiculturalist orthodoxy, which left the far right the opportunity to seize these subjects. Yet, the left and the Republican right can find a balance between the refusal to stigmatize Muslims to hold Islam accountable in respect of republican tradition. “

There is no Islam in France, says Marine La Pen

News Agencies – October 8, 2012

 

There is no Islam that belongs to France, far-right National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen said in response to comments to the contrary from Interior Minister Manuel Valls. Le Pen said it was clear that the activities of radical Muslims were not being monitored on French soil, adding that all French Muslims that had become victims of Islamism had to accept the country’s secular system and combat radicalism.

Richard Prasquier, president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), also expressed his concerns about the growth of what he called an increasingly bellicose Islam, calling on the entire national Jewish community to defend itself against radicalization. Police detained 12 people suspected of involvement in radical Islamist activities mainly in Paris, Cannes and Strasbourg in other raids across the country. The Interior Ministry has said the raids will continue.

French far-right leader Le Pen calls for ban on Islamic headscarf and Jewish skullcap

News Agencies – September 22, 2012

 

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has caused a storm with a proposal to ban Islamic headscarves and the Jewish kippa on the streets of French towns. President François Hollande has accused her of tearing the nation apart and opposition politician Jean-François Copé says she if confusing secularism and the eradication of religion.

In an interview with Le Monde newspaper, Le Pen accuses previous governments of both the mainstream right and the left of preparing the ground for “the events that are shaking the world today” – an apparent reference to Muslim protests against the film Innocence of Muslims and French magazine Charlie Hebdo’s publication of cartoons of Mohammed.

Laws against veils, mosques fuel anti-Muslim prejudice, says Amnesty International

News Agencies – April 24, 2012

 

European laws on headscarves and veils are actually fuelling anti-Muslim prejudice, says Amnesty International in a new report. Extremist political movements targeting Muslim practices for criticism have enjoyed a rise in several European countries — as witnessed by French far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s surprisingly strong showing in presidential elections this week.

 

In that climate, the recently released Amnesty report lists a raft of examples of discrimination against Muslims from Spain to the Netherlands and Turkey, spurred on by laws viewed as anti-Islam. The report, titled “Choice and Prejudice,” pays special attention to national laws or local rules against wearing headscarves or face-covering Islamic veils. France and Belgium ban them outright, as do some towns in Spain and elsewhere.

 

The human rights group spoke to Muslims who have had trouble getting jobs or had to change schools because of discrimination over their head coverings. The report says Spain and Switzerland, in particular, don’t have strong enough laws against discrimination. Switzerland has banned the construction of new minarets.

Angst emerges in France’s suburbs as Le Pen surges

Reuters – April 25, 2012

 

Marine Le Pen’s breakthrough in the French election’s first round brought her anti-immigrant National Front (FN) party its highest poll score to date, touching off a round of soul-searching as French elites sought to understand her appeal. But an explanation comes quickly to the sons and grandsons of North African immigrants, who say harping on Muslim symbols by both Le Pen and President Nicolas Sarkozy has put fear of foreigners into the hearts of many white French people.

Seine-Saint-Denis, with a population of 1.5 million, covers the sprawling northwestern suburbs of Paris and is home to the highest concentration of people of immigrant origin in the country. French law bars compiling statistics by ethnic origin, but census figures show more than one in five residents was born abroad. National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father, got 9 percent there in France’s 2007 election. She boosted that to 13.6 percent, still well below her national score, but nonetheless resonating with the area’s sizeable white community.

Marine Le Pen Defends Anti-Islam stance

News Agencies – April 18, 2012

 

She calls herself the “voice of the people,” the anti-system candidate who will ensure social justice for the have-nots and purify a France she says is losing its voice to Europe and threatened by massive immigration and rampant Islamization. The message of far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has seduced thousands, kept her consistently in third place in polls and clearly scared President Nicolas Sarkozy as he seeks a second term.

Le Pen wants to drastically reduce the number of immigrants — to 10,000 a year — and, a top theme, to crack down for good on what she claims is the growing footprint of Islamic fundamentalists in France. Le Pen cites as proof of the Islamist threat in France the case of Mohamed Merah, a young Frenchman of Algerian origin who last month killed three French paratroopers, a rabbi and three Jewish schoolchildren before he was shot dead by police trying to capture him.

Le Pen Calls for UOIF to be banned

News Agencies – March 30, 2012

 

French Presidential Candidate, Marine Le Pen, leader of the nationalist Front National party, called for the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF) to be banned and its congress next week to be scrapped, the FN said. “Marine Le Pen calls for a ban on the event in Le Bourget. Marine Le Pen wants the break up of the Union of Islamic Organizations of France,” Le Pen said in a statement. The congress is scheduled for April 6-9. The French government has recently banned four Islamic religious leaders heading for the UOIF congress from entering France.

The ban came after President Nicolas Sarkozy ordered a crackdown on “preachers, continually attacking French values” from entering the country. Nationalist feeling has been rising in France, with the far-right National Front performing better than expected in recent local elections. Marine Le Pen is widely expected to make the run-off in presidential polls set for April 22.