February 13, 2014
As France’s municipal elections approach, the President of the center-right UMP party Jean-Francois Copé is targeting the constituents disappointed in Francois Hollande’s regime in the hopes of turning them away from the left. Among this category of people, he is particularly attentive to what he considers the ‘Muslim vote.’
‘Our Muslim compatriots would find themselves in phase with the values that I propose: economic liberty, authority of the state and an equality of chances’, Copé affirmed to Le Monde.
Whereas 90% of Muslims had voted for Hollande, the moment seems optimal to seek ties with these voters since a number of them have been destabilized by the government’s social reforms. During the Manif pour Tous (Protest for All) gathering on February 2nd, they were only a few dozen protestors under the banner ‘French Muslims say no to gay marriage’, but Copé noted that many had answered the call to boycott schools in protest against the ‘gender theory’ classes that were going to be introduced. He noted that dozens of Muslim families had participated in the school boycott of January 27th in his city of Meaux in the Seine-et-Marne region.
February 17, 2014
After a complaint registered by the CFCM (Conseil Français du Culte Musulman), a deputy of the UMP party and mayor of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, Claude Goasguen, has been summoned on April 7th to a court in Nimes over his derogatory statements made about the anti-Semitism of young Muslims during the KKL Gala (a fundraising event for Israel) on February 2nd. Claude Goasguen is also Vice President of the France-Israel friendship group.
The CFCM has pressed charges for defamation and incitement to hatred over his comment: ‘we can no longer teach the Shoah in high-schools due to fearing the reaction of young Muslims who have been drugged in the mosques.’ According to the CFCM’s lawyer Khadija Aoudia, such remarks ‘aliment Islamophobia and insult the honor and dignity of the Muslim community.’
Abdallah Zekri, President of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia, said he received twenty calls from various leaders of religious centers encouraging him to launch a judiciary pursuit. The Ligue de Defense Judiciaire des Musulmans (LDJM) has also announced it will press charges. As for the Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en France (CCIF), the organization is considering it and in the meantime has asked political leaders to condemn the remarks.
Contacted by Agence France Presse, Claude Goasguen said his remarks were made in a private reunion and had been misunderstood. ‘My words were not aimed at the Muslim community in general, but to the Islamist trend within it. I have always denounced religious extremism be it Christian, Jewish or Muslim.’ He alsi claimed he meant to say ‘intoxicated’ instead of ‘drugged.’
News Agencies – April 26, 2012
The rightwing UMP party has accused Socialists of courting the Muslim vote and alleges that mosques are calling for the faithful to vote for leftwing candidate Francois Hollande. Muslim religious authorities in France however deny they have called on voters to support Hollande. In an interview with the newswire AFP, Abdallah Zekri, a leader of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, says imams have called on followers to vote but have not given them instructions as to who they should vote for.
According to the weekly Marianne, only one mosque in France, located in Puteaux, west of Paris, has called on believers to vote for Hollande.
Relations between President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Muslim community are tense as Sarkozy, who is running for re-election, is taking a hard line on immigration. He also shocked French Muslims when he called on authorities to label halal meat in France.
Sarkozy lost to Hollande in the first round of the presidential election last week and needs the vote of the far right party the National Front if he wants to beat his Socialist rival in the second round next week.
Pakistan Today – September 9, 2011
French police recently tried to identify a Facebook user who sought “to cut Muslims’s throats instead of sheep” during the Eid al-Adha feast, sparking the ire of Muslim and anti-racist groups. “Police are carrying out an investigation to identify the author of these unworthy declarations,” police said in a statement, adding that the Facebook “wall” page in question had already been taken down.
Following the posting, the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) contacted police and the French anti-Islamophobia Collective (CCIF) contacted the social networking site to have the page removed.
“This is a lamentable call to murder that could bring about a new Oslo,” Abdallah Zekri of the CFCM told AFP, referring to July’s massacre in Norway carried out by Islamophobe Anders Behring Breivik. Zekri noted what he said was a rise in Islamophobia in France since President Nicolas Sarkozy’s right-wing UMP party started a controversial public debate on French identity, Islam and immigration.
News Agencies – June 17, 2011
The French State prosecutor has requests €150 fines for a pair of women charged with defying the full-face veil ban while protesting on streets of Meaux, near Paris. A court this week heard the first case against women for wearing the niqab – or Islamic face veil – since a ban came into force in April. One of the defendants was banned from entering the courthouse because she was still wearing the niqab.
The two women on trial were stopped in the street on 5 May near the town hall of Meaux, east of Paris. The mayor, Jean-François Copé, is an architect of the ban and head of Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling rightwing UMP party. The women were wearing their niqabs during a demonstration against the law. They were supported by the Don’t Touch My Constitution group, which has led protests against the ban.
The state prosecutor requested that each woman be fined €150 (£132) and made to attend a citizenship class. The women’s lawyers argued that the law was politically motivated and “inapplicable”. The court will give its judgment on 22 September.
News Agencies – May 16, 2011
THE Minister for youth Jeannette Bougrab walked out of a UMP meeting after a party member used racist language during a debate.
Bougrab, the former president of the anti-prejudice rights watchdog La Halde, later demanded an apology from the audience member.
She had been taking part in a debate on secularism during a meeting of the Franche-Comté branch of the UMP.
As the subject of new funding plans for the building and restoration of mosques and churches was raised, a man, later identified as a 70-year-old former doctor, shouted out that he had had enough of “money going just toward bougnoules” – a racist term for people of North African origin.
While a party member in the audience said the term was not directed at the minister, she responded saying she was descended from a family of Harkis (Muslim Algerians who fought for France during the Algerian war).
While there was no question of expelling the man from the party, UMP party branch secretary Michel Vienet said, the member had been asked to write to apologise to the minister.
BBC News – March 11, 2011
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has fired his diversity adviser after he called on Muslims not to support the governing UMP party. Abderrahmane Dahmane, a Muslim and former UMP official appointed to his post only in January, was protesting against a planned debate on Islam. He said Muslim members of the UMP should not renew their party membership unless the debate was cancelled.
The UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) is planning to hold a public debate on 5 April on “Islam and secularism”. Speaking on March 10th, Mr Dahmane compared the situation of French Muslims to that of Jews during World War II and said the debate had been planned by a “handful of neo-Nazis”.
News Agencies – March 11, 2011
Is French President Nicolas Sarkozy at risk of alienating Muslims in his own party? Muslim activists have called on Muslim members of the governing UMP party to leave the party in protest at a new round of official debates on secularism to begin next month. They say the debate is less about secular society and more about attacking their religion.
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.
A French Muslim threatened by the government with being stripped of his passport for practicing polygamy had publicly stated he has one wife and several mistresses. The case of Lies Hebbadj, an Algerian-born butcher who became a citizen when he married a French woman in 1999, has flared into a major political row with opposition parties accusing the government of exploiting the situation.
The story came to light on when Mr. Hebbadj’s wife, Anne, complained she had been fined for driving while wearing an Islamic veil, which police said was dangerous. The government, which days earlier announced it planned to ban the full veil from the streets of France, said Mr. Hebbadj appeared to have several wives and suggested that he lose his French nationality.
But Mr. Hebbadj denied having more than one wife, saying other women he has had children with were his lovers. “If one can be stripped of one’s French nationality for having mistresses, then many French could lose theirs,” he said.
A person can see their French passport taken away if they acquired it through fraud – if, for instance, Mr. Hebbadj hid an existing marriage when he married Anne. Mistresses, however, are hardly unusual in France, where former President Francois Mitterrand maintained a hidden, second family for years.
The French government has said it has information that Mr. Hebbadj is married to four women with 12 children and accuses them of fraudulently claiming single parent benefits. Frederic Lefebvre, a spokesman for the ruling UMP party, accused Mr. Hebbadj of being “someone whom we can well suspect of practicing polygamy, which is against the principles of our society, for financial aims.”