France’s National Assembly Diversifies

Le Monde – JUNE 19 2012

Mostly “white” until now, France’s National Assembly has diversified
following the legislative elections on June 17^th . Eight deputies of
Maghrebian, Asian and Brasilian origin have been elected. They are all
members of the Socialist party. The Maghrebian members include: Kader
Arif (Haute-Garonne), the former minister of veteran affairs, who
arrived in France at 4 years old with her Algerian-born parents. Malek
Boutih (Essonne), 47 and of Algerian origin, has spent 30 years working
in social and political organizations, including SOS Racisme, where he
was president from 1999-2003. Kheira Bouziane (Côte-d’Or), is a 58
year-old Economics professor born in Oran, Algeria. Chaynesse Khirouni
(Meurthe-et-Moselle) was a micro-finance teacher at the University of
Lorraine before she became involved in politics in 2008. And, Razzy
Hammadi (Seine-Saint-Denis) who was born to an Algerian father and a
Tunisian mother. Hammadi was formally the president of the Socialist
Youth Movement from 2005-2007 and has worked for the public service
since 2008.

Other members of immigrant origins include, from Tchad, Seybah Dagoma
(Paris), 34, a former lawyer who formally worked for Bertrand Delanoë as
person in charge of the social economy. Born in Nantes, she is a
founding member of the think tank, Terra Nova and of the scientific
council of the Jean-Jaures Foundation. Pouria Amirshahi (France
overseas), was born in Iran and came to France when he was five. His
father returned to Iran and he grew up with her mother in a housing
project in the outskirts of Paris. Eduardo Rihan Cypel (Seine-et-Marne)
is 36 years old and was born in Brazil. He’s known for his work fighting
against the immigration policies within Sarkozy’s government.

Anti-Islam colloquium faces protests in Paris

December 18, 2010
Approximately 200 left-wing protesters gathered near the Espace Charenton in Paris to protest the anti-Islam colloquium organized recently in Paris (See this article). The protesters include members from SOS Racisme and a number of other anti-discrimination groups.

French National Front Leader Acquitted of Racism Charges

News Agencies – December 2, 2010
A Paris court has acquitted the far-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen of charges of racism over campaign posters for his National Front party. The court said Thursday that Mr. Le Pen, left, was not personally responsible for the posters, reading “No to Islamism” and featuring a woman in a face-covering veil next to a map of France swathed in the Algerian flag. The posters were issued before regional elections in March (see: The anti-racism group SOS Racism had brought the charge of “inciting racial hatred” against Le Pen. The public prosecutor had asked Le Pen be handed a two month suspended sentence, a €20,000 ($26,200) fine and a 1-year-long ban on running for office.
New York Times –

The Washington Post –

Le Monde –

Le Figaro –

Libération –

Anti-Racist Group Finds Racial Biases at French Holiday Venues

An undercover operation by the French anti-racism group, SOS Racisme, has exposed racism at some bars and clubs on campsites in the south of France. The group found two campsites and three clubs in the Alpes-Maritimes, out of a total of around 20 establishments tested, turned away ethnic minorities before allowing whites inside.

The organization has named Le Camp du Pylône in Antibes Juan-les-Pins and Le Green Park at Cagnes-sur-mer as campsites which discriminated between the two young men of North African origin and two young white men sent to try and stay there. Both establishments deny the accusations. A spokesman for Green Park told the site 20 Minutes that there was no basis for the allegations and that SOS Racisme “hears what it wants to hear.” The president of SOS Racisme Dominique Sopo told 20 Minutes that they had video and sound recordings of the incidents.

French insults of World Cup team seen through racial and religious prism

Impostors. Arrogant. Money-hungry idiots. The insults aimed at France’s World Cup team have
been venomous following its drama-plagued early elimination from the international tournament.
Passionate hand-wringing at the humiliating fall of the team that won the 1998 World Cup can
be expected from dismayed French fans. But some worry that the tirades against the ethnically-
and religiously-mixed team are being too often seen through a racial prism, even if that’s not the
Members of the largely black team have been compared to “gang bosses” and “hoodlums” and
said to be disrespectful of France — terms often used to slur residents of the country’s minority-
and immigrant-filled suburban ghettoes. As a result, many say that such commentary sparks
racial hatred. The current attacks against the team can “encourage prejudice,” and “liberate racist
speech,” said the general director of the advocacy group SOS Racism, Guillaume Ayne.
On French radio, philosopher Alain Finkielkraut said the players represent the “spirit of the cité,”
a term used for ghettoized housing projects, which he said are “devouring” French society.

BVA institute polls suggests prejudices on the rise in France

More than one in 10 French people admit to being racist and many have prejudicial views of immigrants, homosexuals, blacks, Arab and Jews, according to a poll by the BVA institute for two anti-discrimination groups. 28 percent of those polled think that Arabs are more likely to commit crimes than members of other groups, a number that has more than doubled since a similar poll was conducted last year.

Almost half of respondents, 49 percent, thought that immigrants are better able to exploit the social welfare system than are the native French. “In the past few months we’re seen racist speech entering the mainstream,” said Dominique Sopo of SOS Racisme, criticising the identity debate and the government’s attempt to ban the full-face Islamic veil.

The BVA poll was carried out between May 21 and 22 on a representative sample of 1,029 subjects aged 15 or more.

Nadine Morano, Secretary of State for Family and Solidarity, asks French Muslims to no longer speak “Verlan”

In the context of the debate on French national identity in Charmes (Vosges), Nadine Morano, French secretary of State in charge of the family and of solidarity, declared to young French Muslims that they no longer use “verlan” slang when they speak.

Verlan is a popular suburban phenomenon of speaking, changing the order of words (i.e. bizarre becomes “zarbi”). Morano called for young Muslims to love their country, to find work, to no longer speak using verlan, to no longer wear their caps backwards.

Benoit Hamon of the Socialist Party responded with concern for Morano’s caricaturized portrayal of young people which looks very little like most young French Muslims today. The organization SOS Racisme echoed Hamon’s position.

According to a poll held by Nouvel Observateur, 40 percent of French people see the debate on National Identity by Nicolas Sarkozy to the necessary. 42 percent of respondents noted the negative ramifications of the debate.

Tariq Ramadan visits French parliamentary commission on burqa use

“This is a society that has doubts about itself,” Tariq Ramadan told a French parliamentary panel mulling a burqa ban. “For me, this commission is born of a real self-doubt, and suddenly they’re looking at one element, at the most extreme slice. The problem won’t be solved like that.” Ramadan claims that the larger problem in France is discrimination which means that with an Arab-sounding name one won’t get a job or an apartment, pointing to findings by the Paris-based anti-racism group SOS-Racism, which indicated recently that some French recruitment companies are applying racist policies and ethnic profiling in hiring, filtering out non-white candidates. Ramadan positioned himself against a ban.

Catalan education centre plan for immigrants fuels controversy

The Ombudsman Office warned that plans to set up education centers for immigrant children in Catalonia, would risk creating ghettos. “It would be terrible [for ghettos to be created] during an important formative period such as attending school,” said Ombudswoman Mar_a Luisa Cava de Llano. “Under no circumstances do I want this to turn into a tool for segregation.” In early July, the Catalan government announced plans to create four Education Welcome Centers for foreigners, opening in September. Labor Unions and immigrant organizations have spoken out against the plan, citing an affront to the Spanish education system, which favors racial segregation. SOS Racismo stated that these centers run the risk of eliminating the notion of integration from within the educational centre and reinforcing resources at existing schools is a preferable route.

Travel dubious and false visas

Despite warming, several thousand Muslims wishing to have gone to Mecca from France to perform the holy Muslim pilgrimage of Hajj, have been misled by travel agencies and deceiving intermediaries. Nana Zakaria, founder of SOS-Pilgrims, an association that tried to alert travelers about scams related to Hajj, cites approximately 3500 people who have been unable to leave this year. Among the scams that Zakaria cites include the operations that deal fake visas and paperwork to enter Saudi Arabia.