French magazine attacks Muslim minister

A far-right weekly newspaper has caused considerable controversy after calling France’s new education minister a “Moroccan Muslim” and stating that the decision to appoint her is a “provocation.”

“The front page of the Minute is an incitement to hatred. It should be sued in court,” said Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, head of the Socialist Party, in a statement calling for the magazine to be sued.

The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism called the cover “shameful” and contended that those “spreading hate” need to be stopped.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the Moroccan-born education minister, is the first woman to hold the position. Soon after her appointment the magazine Minute featured her on its cover with the headline: “A Moroccan Muslim at the national education (ministry). The Najat Vallaud-Belkacem provocation.” The magazine has already come under fire in early 2014 for its comments about France’s black Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, for its headlines, “Crafty as a monkey,” and “Taubira gets her banana back.”

Vellaud-Belkacem has remained calm despite the controversy. “I keep away from this type of debate which is irrelevant,” she said, “However, I do think of those who are watching this spectacle” and could feel “contaminated.”

“In their name more than my name, I would urge those on the right to take into account their responsibilities and to respect insinuations and people,” she said. Vallaud-Belkacem holds dual French and Moroccan citizenship and calls herself “a pure product of the Republic,” and an example of “happy integration.”

Following the attacks, government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said that the minister enjoyed “the support of all the government in the face of these attacks that do those who make them no honor.”

French magazine sparks another controversy over Mohammed cartoons

News agencies – January 2, 2013

 

French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo has published a special issue containing cartoons on the life of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed. Similar images, which are deemed blasphemous by Muslims, have sparked international protest in the past. But the publisher of magazine said the 64-page issue, titled ‘The Life of Mohammed,’ is “halal” because it was researched and edited by Muslim scholars and historians.

 

The French government has spoken out against the cartoons: “There is no necessity to pour oil on fire,” spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem told France 2. Charlie Hebdo is no stranger to controversy related to Islam. In September, the magazine published nude cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, sparking worldwide protests and forcing French embassies and schools to temporarily close in 20 countries. The French government condemned the publication as being needlessly provocative.

In 2011, the magazine’s Paris office was firebombed after it named the Prophet Mohammed as ‘editor-in-chief’ of a weekly issue titled ‘Charia Hebdo.’

 

French Muslim group likens gay marriage to bestiality

News Agencies – November 14, 2012

 

French government spokesperson Najat Vallaud-Belkacem has condemned the inflammatory language used by the Union of Islamic Organizations in France (UOIF) in opposing gay marriage , including equating same-sex marriage to bestiality. The UOIF also added that everyone should understand “the consequences that it could have on society, if this new form of marriage and parenthood is legalized. President François Hollande’s government has recently drafted a bill on “marriage for all” that could allow same-sex couples to get married in France as early as 2013.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem – the young Muslim woman at the heart of Hollande’s new cabinet

News Agencies – May 18, 2012

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, 34, is the youngest member of the cabinet which assembled under the chairmanship of President François Hollande. She is the Minister for Women’s Affairs and will be the official spokeswoman for the government and, therefore, the mouthpiece for “Hollandism”.

The first Socialist French government for 10 years is stuffed – some say over-stuffed – with messages and symbols. It is the first government in France, or any large democracy, to be perfectly gender-balanced – 17 men and 17 women. Mr Hollande and his Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, have also reached out to racial minorities, youth and the Eurosceptic wing of the French left. There is no message more striking than that embodied by Ms Vallaud-Belkacem, after an election in which immigration and Islam were used as cudgels by both the far right and by the centre-right president, Nicolas Sarkozy.

A married mother of twins, Ms Vallaud-Belkacem is a “non-practising Muslim”. After winning scholarships to elite colleges, she calls herself a “pure product of the [egalitarianism] of the [French] Republic”.