A Muslim President for France in 2022?

Michel Houellebecq's new book "Submission" describes France led by a Muslim President in 2022. (Photo: The London Telegraph)
Michel Houellebecq’s new book “Submission” describes France led by a Muslim President in 2022. (Photo: The London Telegraph)

France, 2022: a Muslim is elected president of the Republic. This is the plot of Michel Houellebecq’s new book. Submission paints a portrait of France led by an Islamic party, where the Sorbonne is an Islamic university and the president is named Mohammed Ben Abbes. The book’s release followed Eric Zemmour’s controversial remarks about French Muslims. University professor Franck Fregosi contends that books such as Houellebecq’s demonstrate “the anxieties of their writers but also of society.”

Submission describes a France whose political policies are limited to those of the National Front or to a religious authority. In 2022 the “Muslim Brotherhood,” a political party invented by Houellebecq, defeats the National Front. The country is shaken, as is the book’s nihilistic protagonist Francois. The university professor is reluctant to convert to Islam in order to keep his power at the “Islamic University of Paris-Sorbonne,” where the secretaries all wear headscarves.

“We’ve built a kind of social fear of an Islam without any nuances…Islam is the scapegoat, it is the cause of all of French society’s ills,” says Fregosi.
Houellebecq’s scenario is “completely implausible,” argues political scientist Philippe Braud. “Muslims are only 10% of the French population. This number will not change, even if there is an increase in immigration,” he says.

Houellebecq caused controversy in 2001 when he stated, “The most stupid religion is Islam.” He has been known to take extreme positions concerning immigration in Europe. President François Hollande recently stated that one in four Frenchmen are immigrants or born to immigrant parents and called for there to be “no room for speech that exploits the fear of France’s dissolution.”

Press Release from Bertrand Dutheil de la Rocher, Republic-Secularism Advisor to Marine Le Pen

Bertrand Dutheil de la Rocher released a press statement discussing Islam in France. He states, “In recent days, discussions are circulating in social networks about Islam in France that involve the Marine Blue Gathering. The law is of a contingent nature. Its extent and its contents are decided according to the common good, variable at different times, by the people, either directly or through their elected representatives.” He reminded the public that “individual liberties are only restricted by necessity…Religious liberty is therefore a right so long as it does not contradict republican law and does not harm others. It’s up to every religion to conform to these conditions of secularism. However, no one can forget that for centuries, the genius of the French nation has expressed itself through Catholicism, notably in its Gallican and Jansenist readings.”

He added that “It’s up to Muslims of France to adapt their religious practices in accepting that, in the public sphere, the contingent law of the Republic is above the law of God, even if they think it is of a transcendent nature.” He stated that every religion’s funding must come from its believers, it cannot come from public money nor from grants from abroad. “To combat secularism is to undermine the social contract and attack citizens who have other metaphysical ideas. The Republic must defend itself against the risk of subversion,” he added. “The fact that there is no clergy in Sunnism risks to encourage its believers huddle in communitarianism,” he said, “ so they do not find themselves isolated in uncertainty and facing their responsibilities, especially when crimes are committed in the name of their faith.”

“With Marine Le Pen, the Marine Blue Gathering wants to assimilate all Frenchmen into the same people beyond their religion and origins. In order for this assimilation to take place, it is necessary to immediately halt all immigration, illegal of course, but also legal. With the country facing mass unemployment, France cannot give newcomers the basics. We must also fight the nation’s denigration by its elites. All Frenchmen must be proud to be French, proud of their French history. The ownership of each person of the national novel is a condition of citizenship. The school must again become a place for the transmission of knowledge,” he concluded.

France’s far-right party: No funds for religious groups

March 3, 2014

 

Marine Le Pen, whose party is riding a wave of anti-immigration and anti-Muslim voter sentiment around Europe, says it will cut public funds to religious groups in towns where it wins municipal elections this month.

Le Pen told The Associated Press in an interview that secularism will be strictly applied in towns where her far-right National Front prevails on March 23 and 30, and that referendums will be held on major issues. Le Pen, 45, praised the recent Swiss decision, in a referendum, to cap immigration, saying countries have an “inalienable right” to control their borders.

The National Front reached a high in 2012 when Le Pen scored 18 percent in presidential elections. But the party wants to establish itself in towns around France with the municipal vote. Le Pen, who wants France to abandon the euro currency and leave the European Union, also hopes to boost her party’s strength in European Parliament elections in May. She contends the EU, along with immigration and global financing, are crushing the values of French civilization. Le Pen claimed the Swiss decision, passed by a razor-thin 50.3 percent “yes” vote, would have sailed through France with a 65 percent approval rating if such a referendum held here.

Le Pen has worked to remove the stigma that has kept the party out of mainstream politics by giving it a kinder, more politically correct face. But the National Front has forged ahead with its anti-immigrant stance, especially regarding Muslims. That theme is reflected in other European far-right parties that she hopes will have resonance among voters choosing who runs their daily lives. In towns the National Front might win, Le Pen said that local taxes would be lowered and public funds would be denied to any association with a religious character.

Current law forbids funding religious organizations, but they can receive money if their work also addresses the general interest. In reality, that means many associations would risk losing public funds. A strict application of the principle of secularism could mean removing halal food in school cafeterias, forbidding Muslim women in scarves to accompany children on class trips, and prevent Muslim women from renting public swimming pools after hours. “I’m absolutely not afraid to be called anti-Muslim because I’m not,” Le Pen said.

Le Pen — who calls herself a “patriot” rather than a member of the extreme right — claims that her party neither deals in nor encourages the rising Islamophobia in France. She blames “political-religious groups” who want to install Muslim Sharia law in France and use “massive immigration” to do so. “We don’t have problems with Islam,” she said. But “France has Christian roots. They (the French) want to recognize their own country, recognize their lifestyle, their habits, their traditions.’’

 

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/french-far-right-no-funds-for-religious-groups/2014/03/03/569fa4d2-a2e7-11e3-b865-38b254d92063_story.html

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.

Far-Right National Front Gearing Up for Election Gains

23 April 2012

Britain’s notoriously Islamophobic and racist far-right party is working hard for the forthcoming local election to restore its power. Although the party gained unprecedented popularity among working-class Britons in 1970s, soon after it began to decline due to a series of internal feuds and the electoral success of the breakaway British National Party (BNP).

Now, with the rising tide of Islamophobia in Britain, the whites-only party is seeking to seize the opportunity and to restore its glory days.

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.

French Mosques accused of backing Hollande

News Agencies – April 26, 2012

 

The rightwing UMP party has accused Socialists of courting the Muslim vote and alleges that mosques are calling for the faithful to vote for leftwing candidate Francois Hollande. Muslim religious authorities in France however deny they have called on voters to support Hollande. In an interview with the newswire AFP, Abdallah Zekri, a leader of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, says imams have called on followers to vote but have not given them instructions as to who they should vote for.

According to the weekly Marianne, only one mosque in France, located in Puteaux, west of Paris, has called on believers to vote for Hollande.

 

Relations between President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Muslim community are tense as Sarkozy, who is running for re-election, is taking a hard line on immigration. He also shocked French Muslims when he called on authorities to label halal meat in France.

Sarkozy lost to Hollande in the first round of the presidential election last week and needs the vote of the far right party the National Front if he wants to beat his Socialist rival in the second round next week.

French Far Right group positions against Muslims

News Agencies – December 10, 2011

The extreme right Bloc Identitaire, or Identity Bloc, has lashed out at Islam while dining on pork roast and local wine — off limits to practicing Muslims. The group, an emerging force on France’s far-right scene, likens Muslim immigrants to invaders threatening the identity of the French heartland and menacing European civilization. The movement — with a wild pig as its logo — is gaining traction through its blend of Islam-bashing and romanticizing of French rural culture.

Increasingly, it is being used as an “idea box” for the National Front, a well-established far-right party and force in European politics that could play a crucial role in French presidential elections five months away. The Bloc’s campaign against mosque building and its wine-and-pork strategies are also finding a more mainstream audience in the country.

Bloc Identitaire militants ferret out plans by Muslim communities to build mosques and campaign to stop them. An “identity guerrilla” pamphlet spells out how to raise awareness of Muslim initiatives, from mosques to halal food restaurants, and infiltrate culture or sports clubs popular with Muslims.

Solution to accommodate prayer in Parisian streets not yet clear

News Agencies – August 30, 2011

 

In waiting for the construction of the Institut des cultures d’islam (ICI or Institute of Islamic Cultures) that should be partially complete by January 2013, practicing Muslims in Paris’ 18th district continue to pray in the streets. This practice has engendered great debate. National Front leader Marine Le Pen has called these gatherings an “occupation” while Interior Minister Claude Guéant has sought to move the prayers to empty barracks in Clingancourt (which could accommodate 2,700 people) starting September 16th.

 

However, not everyone is in agreement about this plan, including imams at two mosques in Barbès where outdoor prayer takes place.

France’s former National Front leader sparks outrage over Norway attacks

News Agencies – July 31, 2011
The founder of France’s far-right National Front sparked growing outrage recently with claims that the Norwegian government’s “naivety” was to blame for the recent mass killing there. Jean-Marie Le Pen accused Norway of not correctly handling immigration, one of the French far-right party’s main policy issues which was also cited by the Norwegian self-confessed mass killer, Anders Behring Breivik.
The French National Front and other European far-right parties had distanced themselves from Behring Breivik, who has confessed to carrying out the bombing and shooting attacks that killed 77 people in and near Oslo on July 22. The Front suspended one of its members, Jacques Coutela, this week for defending Behring Breivik in a blog.