France lawmakers pass bill to strip terrorists of citizenship

French lawmakers gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill that would allow terrorists to be stripped of French citizenship, or at least of rights associated with it.

The National Assembly, the French Parliament’s lower house, approved the measure by a 317-199 vote.

The Senate must still approve the bill if it is to become a part of the French Constitution.

But the legislation has already split the ruling Socialist Party badly. Justice Minister Christiane Taubira resigned in opposition to the measure. “I am leaving the government over a major political disagreement,” Taubira said. “I choose to be true to myself.”

President Francois Hollande put forward the proposal in the wake of the November 13 Paris terrorist attacks in the wake of the attack that killed 130 people.

Overall, the legislation is intended to give the president greater powers to declare a state of emergency without, as is now the case, first asking for a vote in the Parliament.

A U.N. convention discourages countries from leaving people without any citizenship. France is a signatory to that convention. The first draft of the measure called for stripping those with a second nationality who committed crimes against the nation to be stripped of their French citizenship. It caused outrage in some quarters, particularly on the left, on the grounds it would penalize those with second citizenships but not most of the French, who have only French passports.

The new measure still calls for stripping those with another nationality of their French citizenship. But it adds that those with French citizenship can be stripped of “the rights attached to it,” implying that those with only one citizenship will face similar punishment to those with two or more. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill March 22.

Any constitutional changes require both chambers of the Parliament to convene in a Congress in Versailles and proceed to a vote that receives a three-fifths majority. The Constitutional Council, France’s highest court, must then review the text before the constitution can be amended.

French magazine attacks Muslim minister

A far-right weekly newspaper has caused considerable controversy after calling France’s new education minister a “Moroccan Muslim” and stating that the decision to appoint her is a “provocation.”

“The front page of the Minute is an incitement to hatred. It should be sued in court,” said Jean-Christophe Cambadelis, head of the Socialist Party, in a statement calling for the magazine to be sued.

The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism called the cover “shameful” and contended that those “spreading hate” need to be stopped.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the Moroccan-born education minister, is the first woman to hold the position. Soon after her appointment the magazine Minute featured her on its cover with the headline: “A Moroccan Muslim at the national education (ministry). The Najat Vallaud-Belkacem provocation.” The magazine has already come under fire in early 2014 for its comments about France’s black Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, for its headlines, “Crafty as a monkey,” and “Taubira gets her banana back.”

Vellaud-Belkacem has remained calm despite the controversy. “I keep away from this type of debate which is irrelevant,” she said, “However, I do think of those who are watching this spectacle” and could feel “contaminated.”

“In their name more than my name, I would urge those on the right to take into account their responsibilities and to respect insinuations and people,” she said. Vallaud-Belkacem holds dual French and Moroccan citizenship and calls herself “a pure product of the Republic,” and an example of “happy integration.”

Following the attacks, government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said that the minister enjoyed “the support of all the government in the face of these attacks that do those who make them no honor.”

Marseille 2014: Socialist Party Candidate Patrick Mennucci loses the mosque battleground

April 10, 2014


On Friday March 28th, the walls of a mosque in downtown Marseille were covered with posters in Arabic containing defamatory writings against Jean-Claude Gaudin, the current Mayor of Marseilles. While the police have yet to receive an official complaint, it has been suggested that the act was a means for the followers of Patrick Mennucci – the Socialist Mayor of the district where the mosque is located  – to seek revenge on the campaign led by Muslim leaders against ‘marriage for all’ and the introduction of gender theory classes in schools.

For Omar Djelil, a candidate for the 2nd and 3rd districts of Marseille and former Secretary General of Al Taqwa Mosque, a major concern of these elections is to cut off Patrick Mennucci, who supports gay marriage, from his Muslim electoral base. According to Djelil, the campaigns that he himself led against Mennucci via posters and social networks, after the candidate’s call to make Marseilles a ‘gay-friendly’ city, explains in large part the abstention rate of the Muslim electoral body otherwise known for supporting the Socialists. ‘However, we only used social and political arguments. We didn’t insult anyone personally, unlike those recent posters put up on our mosques’, said Djelil.

According to the leaders of religious communities, the municipal campaigns have indeed penetrated into places of worship: ‘although nobody dares to take a stance during the Friday prayer sermon, since mosques are very much under watch.’ On the other hand, gender theory classes and gay marriage are being overtly denounced. On several occasions, veiled women were seen distributing tracts against gay marriage in front of schools, said one witness.

As for the far-right Front National (FN) party, the regional candidate Stephane Ravier did well in certain districts, even making double the amount of votes of the incumbent mayor in one area. Apparently, the FN isn’t as threatening to Muslims and the generation born to parents from the former colonies: in the towns of Flamants, Frais-Vallon and Merlan, voters of Comorian and North African origin, the majority of whom are Muslim, didn’t hesitate to give their votes to Ravier.

PSOE breaks relationships with Muslim Party, Caballas

23 July 2013

The Socialist Party of Ceuta has decided this afternoon to “break” their relationships with Caballas, the first group in the opposition of Ceuta’s political Assembly, for their defence of Koranic scholar Malik Ibn Benaissa[1]. Benaissa had been denounced by the Socialists for classifying as a “fornicator” the woman who wears perfume and stilettos.

Caballas issued in a note that Malik Ibn Benaissa is a “person trained not only in Islam, but that he is also a committed citizen”. They expressed their support for Benaissa and demanded an apology from the PSOE to all the Muslim community.

This has led to the PSOE response announcing in a statement that they break all relations with Caballas limiting them exclusively to the “essential” for the government’s control of Ceuta.

[1] Benaissa is an Imam, a Qur’an expert who dedicates his life to give conferences and sermons. He has his own youtube channel: The following video called: “The Queens of Islam” is the own referred to in these new:

NY Times on France’s “Burqa Ban”

September 1, 2012


The French law banning the full-face veil from public spaces has been controversial from the start, with loud debates about the meaning of liberty, individual rights, the freedoms of religion and expression, and the nature of laïcité, or secularism, in the French republic.

While pushed by the center-right and former President Nicolas Sarkozy, the ban was not opposed by the Socialist Party, which largely abstained in parliamentary votes. And the current French president, François Hollande, has said he has no intention of discarding the law, which has been generally popular with the French.

To avoid charges of discrimination, the law was written without any reference to Islam or to women and was presented as a security measure, making it an offense to wear clothing “intended to hide the face’’ in any public place, including shops or the street. The police do not have the authority to remove full veils, only to fine or require citizenship lessons for those who violate the new law. A clause says that anyone who forces a woman to cover her face can be imprisoned for up to a year and fined up to 30,000 euros, or $37,000.

Dutch Labour Party Accused of Creating “Islamic Voting Fodder”

20 May 2011


During a parliamentary debate anti-Islam politician and leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) Geert Wilders accused the Labour party of filling the country with “Islamic voting fodder”. Socialist Party leader Emile Roemer left the chamber in protest of the offensive remarks. Prime Minister Rutte called the term ‘inappropriate’. Wilders made the remark during a discussion about the provision of financial aid to Greece.


Lleida City Council will not provide land to build a mosque

Lleida’s city council, governed by the Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC), has blocked the administrative concession of land where the new mosque had to be built. The new mosque was intended to replace the North Street prayer’s room which has been closed since August. The Local Planning Commission rejected this project because the Islamic Community, lead by Abdelwhab Houzi, hasn’t provided the required documentation.

January, 25/2011

Debate continues about French Muslim prayer space

December 18, 2010

The comments French far-right spokesperson Marine Le Pen have sparked condemnation from politicians from President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party and from the opposition Socialists and the Greens. “This is the true face of the far right which has not changed in the slightest, and Marine Le Pen is just as dangerous as Jean-Marie Le Pen,” said Socialist Party spokesman Benoit Hamon.
The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) said that Marine Le Pen’s comments were “insulting towards the Muslims of France” and were an “incitement to hatred and violence against them.” An anti-racist group, the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP), said it planned to file a civil lawsuit against her.
Paris’ Goutte d’Or district, where mosques are so full on Fridays that many believers end up praying on the streets outside, is one of the areas that Le Pen was referring to in her Lyon speech. Locals in the Goutte d’Or district said they were well used to comments like Le Pen’s. “Most Muslims feel threatened. They won’t leave us alone,” said a grocery store worker who gave his name as Hakim. “With the cold and the dirt, we’d love to have a clean hall to pray in but we don’t have the choice,” said Walid Ben, who works in a fabric shop in the area.

The Spanish Headscarf and burqa debate

After the Najwa Malha affair and the ban on the burqa and the niqab in Lleida some political and religious actors have fixed their opinions on headscarves.

The Speaker in the European Parliament of the Socialist Party of Spain (PSOE), López Aguilar, compared the hijab to the Catholic nuns’ head covering.

Lleida’s town council will discuss whether wearing the ‘burqa’ in public must be forbidden

Next Friday (28 May) Lleida’s (Catalonia) town Council will discuss a motion submitted by the Catalonian nationalist party “Convergència i Unió” (CIU) on the banning of full-covering Islamic veils such as the burqa and the niqab in public.
Lleida’s Mayor Àngel Ros (Socialist Party) was the first to propose such a ban, because, according to him, the burqa and the niqab violate women rights. Now, he is prepared to support the motion submitted by CIU.
The socialist Minister of Labour and Immigration, Celestino Corbacho, has already said that he supports such a ban in the civil service. He also said that full-covering garments go against equality between men and women.
Barcelona’s Town Council also voted on a motion presented by the Popular Party to ban the burqa in public. The motion was not approved. Instead, the Council has asked its law department for a report on whether the ban is legal or not.