French Political Party, the UMP, launches website to debate the Burqa

Led by Jean-François Copé, Nicolas Sarkozy’s political party, the UMP or the Union for a Popular Movement, has launched a website to consider and debate the niqab and burqa in the Republic: http://la-burqa-en-debat.fr/. The website includes polls, definitions, video stream and position pieces by elected officials, as well as additional information links on the subject.

Reaction to the website has been mixed. Farhad Khosrokhavar, sociologist and director of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, notes how the website makes the phenomenon appear far more widespread than it is.

French Muslims Promote a “Cool Islam”

French rapper Medine promotes a toned-down Islam to French listeners with his hip-hop music. This article suggests that his music promotes full participation in a secular democracy and free market. Named after Medina, Medine doesn’t emphasize religious dogmas. Rather, he focuses on the universal principles his tradition shares with Western society. Amel Boubekeur of the _cole des Hautes _tudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris notes that Medine reflects a larger social phenomenon in France. Boubekeur has named this new widespread movement among second and third-generation youths in Paris cool Islam.