Sarkozy wants special jails, courts for terrorism suspects

Paris was once again put on high alert last Sunday after a car loaded with gas cylinders was found near Notre Dame cathedral in an incident that could have been an attack on a Paris railway station.

Security is a key topic in the presidential elections in 2017, as more than 230 people have been killed in militant Islamist attacks on French soil since January 2015.

Sarkozy’s comments come after French President Francois Hollande, a Socialist, took a swipe at his opponents this week, saying their hardline reactions to a wave of militant attacks demonstrated an intent to destroy France’s social model.

Sarkozy took an even tougher approach on Sunday by proposing to systematically place French citizens, suspected of having militant links, in special detention facilities in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD) 

“Every Frenchman suspected of being linked to terrorism, because he regularly consults a jihadist website, or his behavior shows signs of radicalization or because is in close contact with radicalized people, must by preventively placed in a detention center,” Sarkozy said in the interview.

 

Sarkozy, who announced last month his candidacy for the April 2017 presidential election, has said there is no place for “legal niceties” in the fight against terrorism.

According to French Institute for Public Opinion, Ifop, voters turned out to have most confidence in former Prime Minister Alain Juppe to guarantee security, with Sarkozy in second place, Prime Minister Manuel Valls in third, and Hollande a distant 8th.

French Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas said in a separate interview with the French newspaper on Sunday he planned to make proposals next week to Valls to ease prison overcrowding.

“I do not advocate creation of facilities dedicated to terrorists…The real challenge is to prepare the release of those who are sentenced for a short or medium term,” Urvoas said.

Sarkozy speaks about Islam, integration and Rachida Dati’s roots

2370775838_d0ec7e746eSeveral days before the vote for the UMP presidency, Nicolas Sarkozy mentioned “one of his favorite themes,” that is, “integration the French way.” According to Sarkozy, it is the “biggest failure in thirty years.” He quickly elaborated on this statement, saying, “It is not a question of our fellow Muslims, most of whom bring honor to France.” He added, “The question, is not only to ask what the Republic can do for Islam, but what Islam can do for France.”

The next day, after being questioned by activists about his views on diversity, he discussed Rachida Dati’s appointment as Minister of Justice. “I said to myself that Rachida Dati, with an Algerian father and Moroccan mother, to talk about penal policy, that made sense,” he added.

While several were quick to question his decision, many believe it he chose Dati because of the large North African population in prison. Sarkozy’s entourage defended his decision and said that Dati’s appointment sent an important signal to immigrants.

“When you always speak of origins and skin color in a certain way, you divide citizens into different categories, and it’s not my vision of things,” says Francois Bayrou concerning Sarkozy’s statement.

The Muslim vote

February 26, 2014

 

The polling firm OpinionWay conducted a poll for the French newspaper Le Figaro and surveyed 10,000 French voters.

According to its findings 93% of French Muslims voted for François Hollande while only 7% voted for the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy. An estimated 2 million Muslims participated in the 2012 election and approximately 1.7 million Muslims voted for Hollande rather than Sarkozy. Hollande defeated Sarkozy by 1.1 million votes, which suggests that Muslims provided critical votes that led to Hollande’s victory. However, it should be noted that voting abstention among the Muslim population is greater than within the average population.

The Muslim vote is believed to be a social vote rather than a religious vote and is very traditional concerning social matters such as family. During Hollande’s 2012 presidential campaign he offered amnesty to 400,000 undocumented immigrants from North African countries, many of who are Muslim. Hollande additionally vowed to extend municipal voting rights to residents without French citizenship by the year 2014. These promises prompted Muslims to support the Socialist party because it favors their integration.

Source: http://opinionlab.opinion-way.com/dokumenty/Sondage_jour_de_vote_T2_SOCIOLOGIE_DU_VOTE_2_1.pdf

 

IFOP (Département Opinion et Stratégies d’Enterprise) tracked the evolution of the Muslim vote using data from surveys collected during the 2002, 2007 and 2012 elections to accumulate a sample of 14, 200 voters.

In the first round of the 2012 elections 57% of Muslims voted for Hollande while 7% voted for Sarkozy. According to IFOP in the second round of voting 86% of the Muslim vote went to Hollande while 14% went to Sarkozy.

There is a similar pattern in the 2007 election, which shows that Muslims overwhelmingly supported Royal with 58%, Bayrou with 15% and the Far-left with 10% of the total possible votes.

The 2002 elections display the same trend with 49% voting for the Socialist Party and 19% for the Far-left.

Source: http://www.ifop.fr/media/pressdocument/482-1-document_file.pdf

 

A comprehensive survey entitled “Français comme les autres” published in 2008 polled French of North African and African descent.

Among those who identified as Muslim, 64% declared they voted for the Left in the 2005 election. However after posing the same question to those who identified as nonreligious the results were roughly identical, with 67% voting for the Left. The publication suggests that ethnic origin, the migration process and discrimination within France have created a cultural identity among the population which was the primary factor that influenced the vote.

Source: http://www.fasopo.org/reasopo/n7/societespolitiquescomparees7_livre.pdf

The numbers of French Muslims and Muslims in France are exaggerated

12 January 2013

The Nouvel Observateur has sat down with the French-Syrian historian and co-author of the book ‘Notre France’ (Our France), Farouk Mardam Bey, to discuss his work on identity, integration and the idea of France.

Bey describes his work as a product of the previous French presidential campaign, when polemic debates on French national identity and the position of Islam and Muslims in France transformed to become a well contested national sport. In his book, Bey and his co-authors analyze their external imagination of France, their actual physical contact with the country and their interpretation of their home country. He describes it as a conversation about ‘our France, its history, its political life, its culture and landscapse’.

When asked whether his work still holds relevance in the post-Sarkozy area, Bey responds that the as he calls it ‘right-ing’ (‘droitisé’) of Sarkozy’s politics is a trend that has mainstreamed by also influencing the Socialist party. As such, the rhetoric appears demagogic, dangerous and counterproductive to social cohesion. Throughout the interview, Bey problematizes the history of immigration in France as well as the paranoia created through the deliberate inflation of the number of French Muslims and Muslims in France. He further denounces the political right for its instrumental role in creating and maintaining the monolithic image of Muslims, and people descending from majority Muslim states, as people with homogenous culture, identities, desires and aspirations. Bey asserts that by generalizing Muslims the threat of the Other is secured.

Cope decries Ramadan and pain au chocolat in France

News agencies – October 7, 2012

 

First he lambasted “anti-white racism”, now an outspoken right-wing French politician has set his sights on the Muslim community as he seeks to become the heir to Nicolas Sarkozy. Jean Francois Copé, who is bidding to become leader of the centre right UMP party, a position once held by Sarkozy, showed on Friday that he is not afraid to court controversy. At a meeting in the southern town of Draguignan, Copé lamented the state of some neighbourhoods in France’s cities, and in doing so launched a thinly veiled snipe at Islam.

 

Copé’s inflammatory comments come not long after he was accused of stirring up tensions, when he expressed his dismay over the growing “anti-white racism” in France’s cities. On both occasions the brazen Copé was accused of trying to court the far right vote in his bid to beat rival François Fillon to become head of the UMP in next month’s election. Leaders of France’s Muslim community also slammed Copé for his remarks.

“These types of accusations are easy to make,” said Abdallah Zekri, president of the French Observatory against Islamophobia. “He wants to please the extremists in his party and as usual he attacks Muslims and young people”.

French Interior Minister Pledges Zero Tolerance for Islamists

 

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls warned Islamists that preaching hatred in France would not be tolerated, telling hardliners as he inaugurated a mosque that they would be expelled if they challenged the Republic’s principles. Valls’ message underscored the tough line that President Francois Hollande’s government has taken towards Islamists who were furious over the publication of cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad in a French magazine last week.

Valls also used the mosque’s inauguration to say more prayer sites for Muslims needed to be built, an issue that arose during Sarkozy’s term with a controversy over illegal street prayers.

French Muslims under Hollande’s new socialist government

The National – August 17, 2012

 

Francois Hollande‘s new socialist government shows early signs of being less tolerant towards France’s large Muslim community than the previous centre-right administration of Nicolas Sarkozy, according to the co-founder of a body promoting the interests of Arabian Gulf and African nations. The charge is at first glance surprising given the lengths to which Mr Sarkozy went, in vain, to lure voters in the May presidential election from the far-right, anti-immigration Front National.

But Yana Korobko, secretary of the Paris-based Observatory of the Black, Gulf and Mediterranean Seas (OBGMS), said Mr Hollande’s positions were “unusually firm for a leftist in France”.

“The question of new mosques construction remains undecided because of the firm unwillingness of the Europeans to accept another culture on their territory, especially in such large numbers,” Ms Korobko said. “It is mainly caused by the historic, social and psychological specificities of the Europeans, and the French people in particular.”

She is not alone in being concerned about the outlook of the left as a whole. As if to prove her point that there is no clear-cut distinction between the main strands of French politics, a centre-right local administration in the southern town of Saint-Esteve ruled this week that no separate space could be found in the municipal cemetery for Muslims.

The CFCM seeks to reform itself

News Agencies – June 26, 2012

The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) recently announced that it is seeking to reform its mandate to “assure the participation of the majority of the parties who make-up Islam in France and create conditions of confidence necessary for the unity and fraternity of French Muslims,” according to a press release.

This reform is said to target the Union of Islamic Organizations of France (UOIF) who left the CFCM along with a number of other organizations due to previous reform initiatives they found were not acceptable to them during President Sarkozy’s presidency.

Study suggests that 93% of French Muslims voted for François Hollande

News Agencies – May 9, 2012

 

A poll by L’institut de sondages OpinionWay suggests that in the second round of voting in the French presidential elections on May 6th, 93% of Muslims voted for President-elect Hollande. 59% of those polled voted for Hollande in the first round of voting.

 

“It is the mark of a true rejection of Nicolas Sarkozy,” said Julien Goarant, research director at Opinionway. Sarkozy’s attempts to woo Far-right voters and question the role of Islam (especially Halal meat) in France did not go unnoticed.

A poll for La Vie showed that 79 percent of practicing Catholics voted for Sarkozy, with Hollande cornering only 21 percent of their vote. But 70 percent of those considering themselves “without religion” went with Hollande, according to Le Figaro.

 

Discourses on Islam emerge in Hollande/Sarkozy presidential debate

May 3, 2012

In the presidential debate on May 3rd (prior to the final election of May 6, 2012) Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy appeared to take similar positions when it came to special treatment for France’s large Muslim community.

Hollande said he would not allow separate menus in public cafeterias or separate hours in swimming pools for men and women to satisfy Muslims’ demands, and also said he would firmly support France’s ban on the face-covering Islamic veils.

Sarkozy said there must be an Islam “of” France and not an Islam “in” France. He also vaunted his ban on the niqab in France.