News Agencies – April 27, 2012
France’s socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande says that, if elected, he won’t seek to overturn a law banning face-covering Muslim veils enacted by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservatives. Francois Hollande, who leads Sarkozy in all polls, and most other Socialists abstained from the 2010 vote in the National Assembly to ban mesh-screen burqas and niqabs. On RTL radio, Hollande said he would keep the ban, but “have it applied in the best way.” He did not elaborate.
News Agencies – April 23, 2012
A report prepared by KFH-Research states that new global markets are seeking to join the main players in the Islamic financing industry and services, such as France. France is working relentlessly to make numerous legal and organizational reformations to facilitate the offering of Islamic financial services and products.
The report added that there is great potential for growth in the field of Islamic financial services in France, since France seeks to become a hub for Islamic banking in Europe. It noted that 1.5 million clients are willing to use Islamic banking tools and products, which equals USD 18.2 billion. In addition, French authorities have offered strong support to develop Islamic banking services, not to mention the high number of Muslims living there who seek Islamic banking services. However, the report mentioned that some legislations need to be amended.
News Agencies – April 20, 2012
More than twenty French imams urged their parishioners to vote in the presidential elections on April 22nd and May 6th to become “actors in their own change.” In one example, the Suburb Independent Front (le Front des banlieues independent) asked the thousands of Muslims gathered at a mosque in La Defense to vote for François Hollande as the most “useful vote.”
News Agencies – April 13, 2012
Police in Paris arrested a man who took out a pistol and threatened commuters on one of the capital’s busiest Metro lines, ligne 13. The 30-year-old unidentified man of Moroccan origin, was detained by police mid-morning between Metro stations Saint-Denis Basilique and Université.
According to an official source, he pulled out a Colt 45 and began to threaten a passenger saying “I am Mohamed Merah and I am going to kill you “ in reference to the young Islamist killed by police in Toulouse three weeks ago after the murder of seven people.
Disaster was avoided when one of the passengers pulled the emergency cord and the man used the opportunity to escape into a train tunnel where he was eventually caught by police. The man, who refused at first to reveal his identity, is already known to the authorities in connection with a number of petty crimes.
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.
News Agencies – April 8, 2012
A Montreal university student was detained at the U.S. border, held for several hours, interrogated, had his personal belongings searched and saw his computer confiscated for more than a week. What caught the authorities’ attention? His doctoral research on Islamic studies, he says. In a case that has attracted media attention in the U.S., Pascal Abidor has become embroiled in a drawn-out legal battle with the American government – and a poster child for civil-rights advocates defending the right to privacy and due process. Mr. Abidor, a 28-year-old American and French dual citizen, was returning by train to Brooklyn in May, 2010, when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent stopped him at the border in Champlain, N.Y.
The agent turned on Mr. Abidor’s computer and found photos of rallies by the Hamas militant group. He says he explained that he had downloaded them from Google as part of his McGill University doctoral dissertation on the modern history of Shiites in Lebanon.
The judge has yet to rule on whether he will dismiss the case.
News Agencies – April 5, 2012
President Nicolas Sarkozy has been accused of exploiting public fears about Islamist violence in France by ordering a wave of arrests of suspected radicals across the country in a desperate electoral ploy. The country’s biggest annual gathering of French Muslims begins on the outskirts of Paris with what one hostile newspaper called a “virulent” and highly politicised message from the president ringing in delegates’ ears.
Mr Sarkozy said in a letter to Ahmed Jaballah, president of the Union of Islamic Organisations (UOIF), he would not tolerate support being expressed at a public meeting on French soil for “violence, hatred [and] anti-Semitism, which constitute unbearable attacks that run counter to human dignity and republican principles”.
The left-of-centre daily newspaper Libération offered its judgement of the letter’s contents in five pages of coverage of rising tensions and political maneuvering headed “Sarkozy and Islam: dangerous liaisons.”