François Fillon’s comments on race, Jews, and Muslims (official statement)

An official statement from The French Jewish Union for Peace:

“Supporters of Les Républicains have chosen a worrying figure to represent the party as the official candidate for President of the Republic. On November 25, François Fillon declared in a speech that ‘patriotism is the only way to transcend our origins, our races, our religions,’ (he expressed similar sentiments in 2013.)

Thus, we have a candidate for the ‘republican’ right who calmly speaks of “our races” after accusing Muslims, while simultaneously asking them to ‘defeat the fundamentalism within [their communities].’ This is the same candidate who this summer supported the racist and needless campaign against the burkini.

He has also expressed his intentions to foster a sense of equality among citizens by recalling how the Republic required the Church’s submission, ‘and how it was necessary to demand that Jews accept the laws of the Republic.’

When evoking the 1806 Sanhedrin established by Napolean to integrate Jews, he used the same vocabulary of submission and presented the Jews as outlaws and rebels, stating that it was necessary to ‘demand’ that they accept the laws of the Republic.

He also forgets that the principle of equality for Jews was often constructed against the institutions of the Republic, such as the Dreyfus Affair, and that political actors in the III Republic wallowed in anti-Semitic abjection under Vichy rule.

As such, the first official speech given by the Republican presidential candiate is one of division and stigmatization, and reminiscent of the Republic’s colonial history and post-colonial racism.”

The National Bureau of the French Jewish Union for Peace

American Muslims search for identity 10 years after Sept. 11

An audience of 150, a mix of Muslims and others at the Round House Theatre in Silver Spring, meet Fazal’s alter ego, a brash but flirty character who relishes asking the kinds of questions most young Muslims wouldn’t dare pose to parents:

Why must she and her father stay in separate rooms at a party at the mosque? If a woman must cover her hair in front of men who are not part of her family, how about a lesbian — must she wear a hijab in front of all women?

“Why do I have to be the ambassador for Islam? Why do I have to represent Pakistan when I’ve only been there twice?” Zed demands in her one-woman show, “Headscarf and the Angry Bitch.”

Zed is a child of 9/11, an in-your-face Muslim who rocks out yet still covers. Born in Libertyville, Ill., Fazal grew up in a home that was liberal by Muslim standards and conservative in the eyes of her Christian friends. Her family wasn’t much for going to mosque, but some parental rules rendered Fazal and her sisters different.
But in the aftermath of Sept. 11, she became uncomfortable with her father’s decision to go on local TV to try to explain that Islam was a religion of peace. She grew exasperated over having to somehow prove her patriotism to strangers and angry when her dad’s name temporarily popped up on a no-fly list because it was similar to that of some bad guy.

In the past 18 months alone, U.S. Muslims have felt compelled to explain — to themselves and their non-Muslim neighbors — the Fort Hood, Tex., massacre, the attempted bombing of Times Square, the backlash against a proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero, and sting operations that led to the arrests of alleged Muslim proto-terrorists from Portland, Ore., to Ashburn.

The more Muslims feel singled out, the more they focus on painful divisions in their own ranks, between young and old, native and newcomer, secular and devout, militant and moderate. Two-thirds of this country’s Muslims are immigrants, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center, hailing from scores of countries.

“In the ’60s and ’70s, we built mosques only to pray,” the imam says. “In the ’80s and ’90s, we built schools to educate our children. Now we are building cemeteries because we want to die in America. We are saying, ‘We are here. This is home.’ ”

The World is Watching

America’s reputation for religious tolerance and decency has taken a terrible hit with this brouhaha over the proposed mosque near Ground Zero. It is a self-inflicted wound, aided in no small part by the Tea Party and the fear-mongers at Fox News who never miss an opportunity to summon the darker aspects of our nature for political purposes. All this in the name of a higher patriotism, of course.

UK Muslims are Europe’s most patriotic

Muslims in Britain are the most patriotic in Europe – but more than a quarter in some parts of the country still do not feel British, according to a new study. The report, funded by George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist, found that on average 78 percent of Muslims identified themselves as British, although this dropped by six points in east London. This compares with 49 percent of Muslims who consider themselves French and just 23 percent who feel German. The findings, based on more than 2,000 detailed interviews, suggest that Muslims may be better integrated in Britain than in other parts of the European Union.

Muslim school head supports oath idea

The head of Blackburn’s only state girls’ Muslim school said he would be happy to for students to swear an oath of allegiance to Queen and country. And Mufti Hamid Patel, head of Tauheedul Islam Girls High School, would like to see more schemes to boost patriotism amongst young people of all faiths. Mr Patel was speaking after former attorney general Lord Goldsmith, called for school leavers to swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen and country in a bid to give teenagers a sense of shared belonging, in a report published this week. The suggestion was slammed as “silly”, a “half-baked idea” and political gimmick by critics. But Mr Patel, who took over as head of the Bicknell Street school in September, said increasing young people’s national pride could only benefit the country at both a national and local community level. He agreed with Lord Goldsmith’s findings that “while there isn’t a crisis of national identity, there has been a diminution in national pride, in sense of belonging”. “I’m passionate about patriotism,” said Mr Patel, “and I think that there is markedly less national pride in Britain compared to countries such as America or India – even when people there do not agree with their leaders’ actions, for example, that doesn’t affect their love of their country.