Archive for France

Right-Wing Mayor of Nice Bans “Noisy” Weddings in Veiled Attack Against French Muslims

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2012 by loonwatch

Mayor Christian Estrosi

More loonieness from France:

Mayor of Nice bans ‘noisy’ weddings

The Right-wing mayor of Nice has been accused of “stigmatising” the southern French town’s Muslim population after passing a decree on “noisy” town hall weddings, in particular cheering, whistling and foreign flag-waving, which he says disturb the peace.

Since June 1, mayor Christian Estrosi, who belongs to the UMP party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, has outlawed “whistling”, deploying “flags, notably foreign ones”, the presence of “unauthorised” folk music groups, illegal parking around the town hall or holding up traffic to “dance” or “parade with banners or flags”.

He said such behaviour was “liable to disturb the peace and solemnity of the moment” and could create “unfair delays in the proper running of weddings”. Any wedding parties failing to abide by the new rules could see their ceremony delayed by up to 24 hours.

Opposition Socialists and rights groups have blasted the measure as a veiled attack against French Muslims whose traditional ululations are a frequent fixture at wedding ceremonies in France. They claim it is blatant anti-immigrant electioneering ahead of this month’s parliamentary elections in a staunchly Right-wing town where the far-Right National Front commands strong support.

Last Saturday, they organised a protest “silent wedding” ceremony in front of the town hall in which a false bride, groom and wedding party brandished banners saying: “Silence, we’re getting married”, their mouths taped shut to drive home the message.

Daily Telegraph, 6 June 2012

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Hamid Dabashi: Merci, Monsieur Badiou

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by loonwatch

Hamid Dabashi has an excellent article replying to a piece by prominent French philosopher Alain Badiou on the complicity of the celebrated French “intellectuals” such as faux philosopher Bernard Henri Levy in stirring up Islamophobia:

Merci, Monsieur Badiou

by Hamid Dabashi (AlJazeera English)

New York, NY – In a powerful new essay for Le Monde [Fr], Alain Badiou, arguably the greatest living French philosopher, pinpoints the principal culprit in the success of the far-right in the recent French presidential election that resulted in the presidency of Francois Hollande.

At issue is the evidently not-so-surprising success of the French far-right, anti-immigration, Islamophobe nationalist politician Marine Le Pen – to whom the French electorate handed a handsome 20 per cent and third place prestige.

As Neni Panourgia has recently warned, “the phenomenon of Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi in Greek), the neo-Nazi organisation that received almost seven per cent of the vote in the Greek elections of May 6″ is a clear indication that this rise of the right is not limited to France. The gruesome mass murderer Anders Breivik signalled from Northern Europe a common spectre that hovers over the entirety of the continent – most recently marked by the trial of the Bosnian Serb mass murderer General Ratko Mladic – accused of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including orchestrating the week-long massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim boys and men at Srebrenica in 1995 during the Bosnian war.

As Refik Hodzic, a justice activist from Bosnia and Herzegovina puts it, the implications of that murderous incident are not to be missed:

“The statement that will haunt the consciousness of Bosnians, Serbs and the world for decades to come was recorded in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Srebrenica, a UN-protected enclave in eastern Bosnia: ‘On this day I give Srebrenica to the Serb people,’ he announced into a TV camera. ‘The time has finally come for revenge against Turks [Bosnian Muslims] who live in this area.’ These chilling words were the prelude to a systematic execution of some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys who had sought refuge with the Dutch UN battalion or tried to reach safety through the woods surrounding Srebrenica. Years later, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice would judge the massacre, directed by Mladic and carried out by his subordinates, to be the first act of genocide committed on European soil after World War II.”

Who is responsible? 

In this poignant and timely essay, Alain Badiou dismisses the pop sociology of blaming the rise of the right on the poor and the disenfranchised French, supposedly fearful of globalisation. He denounces the blaming of the poor French by the educated elite for all its ills – and instead offers a far more sensible and factual evidence of what seems to be the matter with the French – and, by extension, other Europeans.

Blaming the poor, Alain Badiou retorts, is reminiscent of Berthold Brecht’s famous sarcasm that the French government evidently does not have the people it richly deserves. Turning the table against the French politicians and the French intellectuals, Badiou blames them directly for the rise of the right. Badiou turns to a list of the most recent anti-labour and anti-immigrant statements uttered by socialist politicians and charges them with the responsibility for the rise of the right.

“The succession of restrictive laws, attacking, on the pretext of being foreigners, the freedom and equality of millions of people who live and work here, is not the work of unrestricted ‘populists’.” He accuses Nicolas Sarkozy and his gang of “cultural racism”, of “raising high the banner of ‘superiority’ of Western civilisation” and “an endless succession of discriminatory laws”.

But Badiou does not spare the left and, in fact, accuses them of complacency: “We did not see the left rise forcefully to oppose… such reactionary” laws. Quite to the contrary, this segment of the left maintained that it understood this demand for “security”, and had no qualms about the public space being cleansed of women who opted to veil themselves.

Badiou accuses the French intellectuals of having fomented Islamophobia, as he accuses successive French governments of having been “unable to build a civil society of peace and justice”, and for having Arabs and Muslims abused as the boogymen of French politics.

Read the Rest…

Nazi graffiti on mosque in south-west France

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , on May 23, 2012 by loonwatch

Al-Kanz has more on the mosque attack, as well as Nazi graffiti that was sprayed on an Islamic clothing store: Islamophobia: Excrement on a Shop, Swastikas on Mosques.

Nazi graffiti on mosque in south-west France

On Monday night a swastika and Nazi symbols were sprayed the mosque of the El Mouhsinine Muslim association in Tarascon-sur-Ariège. Police have launched an investigation. Local councillors visited the site to express their support for the association, and the mayor has called for a firm stand to be taken against racism and xenophobia.

France 3, 22 May 2012

See also La Gazette Ariégeoise, 22 May 2012

Via Islam in Europe

Juan Cole: Sarkozy’s Loss in Part Due to His Islamophobia

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on May 10, 2012 by loonwatch

France’s Muslims may not be flexing their electoral muscle as much as they can be, but according to a recent poll 93% voted for Hollande, which would be a considerable boost for the Socialist.

Juan Cole dissects Sarkozy’s loss and how part of it was due to Islamophobia:

Sarkozy’s Loss in Part due to his Islamophobia

by Juan Cole (Informed Comment)

The bad economy in France and outgoing President Nicolas Sarkozy’s refusal to do a stimulus program, preferring instead “austerity,” were the primary reasons he lost the election to Socialist Francois Hollande. That and Sarkozy really is an annoying, strutting peacock who wore out his political welcome among voters.

But some of the margin of his defeat came from his pandering to the discourse of the French anti-immigrant far right, which he did especially vocally after he was forced into a run-off against Hollande. Sarkozy said there are too many “foreigners” (he meant immigrants) in France, that police should have greater leeway to shoot fleeing suspects, that the far right are upstanding citizens. He even talked about “people who look Muslim.”

Many observers in France argue that Sarkozy stole so many lines from the soft-fascist National Front of Marine LePen that he mainstreamed it, and made it impossible for the Gaullists of the Union for a Popular Movement (Sarkozy’s party, French acronym UMP) to argue that LePen and her followers should be kept out of national government because they were too extreme. (The irony is that Sarkozy himself is the son of a Hungarian father and his mother was mixed French Catholic and Greek Jewish; and he postured as Ur-French!)

Sarkozy tried to depict the French Left as so woolly-headed and multi-cultural that they were coddling and even fostering the rise of a threatening French Muslim fundamentalism that menaced secular, republican values. Theinfamous daily hour set aside by the mayor at a swimming pool in Lillefor a few years for Muslim women to swim without men present was presented as emblematic of this threat. But it was all polemics. Some Gaullist mayors did the same thing, and for longer.

And, Sarkozy showed much less dedication to Third-Republic-style militant secularism than most Socialists (only 10 percent of the French go to mass regularly and almost all vote for Sarkozy’s UMP, so the Catholic religious right is his constituency). But, he did support the Swiss ban on minarets and he banned public Muslim prayer in France, and the wearing of the burqa’ full veil (popular mainly in the Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and worn by like 4 women in France aside from wealthy wives of emirs in France on shopping sprees).

Sarkozy’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and punitive laws in the end drove centristFrancois Bayrou to repudiate him. Bayrou, leader of the Democratic Movement party, had run for president on a platform of reducing the national debt and reining in public spending, and was more center-right than center. He got about 9% of the votes in the first round of the presidential election.

Late last week, Bayrou made the astonishing announcement that Sarkozy’s obsession with “frontiers” just seemed to him a betrayal of French values, and that he was throwing his support to Hollande. Sarkozy’s political platform, he thundered, “is violent” and is “in contradiction with our values, but also those of Gaullism [the mainstream French right] as well as contradicting the values of the republican and social Right.” I am not and never will be, he said, a man of the left. He said he was sure he would be upbraiding Hollande for his spendthrift ways. But on the issue of republican values, he had to back Hollande.

Although he left them free to vote for whomever they liked, Bayrou threw about a third of his centrists’ vote to Hollande, or roughly 3% of those who went to the polls in the first round. Hollande won this round by 4%.

Only about a third of France’s roughly 4.5 million persons of Muslim descent (mainly North and West Africans) identify as Muslims. Only about 10 percent of Muslims are said to vote. So French Muslims are not flexing their electoral muscles yet in a meaningful way. Probably many more secular French voted against Sarkozy because of his odious language about immigrants than did Muslim-heritage French, in absolute numbers.

Sarkozy, by embracing the noxious language of hatred of immigrants and fear-mongering about secular Socialists spreading Muslim theocracy in the villages of France, failed to convince the hard right to vote for him but managed to alienate the center. Even MPs in his own party began speaking out against his having gone too far.

Of course, the kind of violent, anti-immigrant, and Muslim-hating language Sarkozy used is par for the course in the GOP in the US today. But aside from some Libertarians such as Ron Paul, where are the mainstream centrist Republicans who will openly denounce it? Who among Republicans recognizes that the sorts of things Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney say about a monolithic Muslim Caliphate menace are violent and contradictory to the values of the American Republic. Not to mention the things many of them say about Latino immigrants. Where is our Francois Bayrou?

Amiens: Two elderly Muslims Attacked by Far Right Thugs on way to Mosque

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , on May 7, 2012 by loonwatch

Amiens: two elderly Muslims attacked by far right thugs on way to mosque

By France-Soir News / Service Miscellaneous Facts (with AFP)

En route to the mosque, the two old men were beaten by two men claiming the extreme right.

Two elderly people belonging to the Muslim community have been assaulted in the night from Friday to Saturday at Amiens. The two attackers claimed to be the extreme right, it was learned Sunday from the Regional Council of the Muslim faith of Picardy and the Somme prefecture.

The two victims, two men of 70 and 71, were attacked about five o’clock in the morning when they went to the mosque of Amiens-Nord to the prayer of Fajr, which must take place at dawn. After being manhandled by two men “  with very short hair and claiming to be the extreme right  , “the two men were beaten.

Two complaints

Their lives are not endangered, but they were admitted to the hospital of Amiens including injuries to legs and ribs, according to the CRCM-Picardie.Their attackers, meanwhile, had fled.

Two complaints were filed Saturday afternoon at the police station of Amiens and an investigation was opened by the prosecutor of Amiens, the prefecture has confirmed, adding that the area where the assault took place was not equipped surveillance cameras.

France: Muslim Section of Cemetery in Carros Desecrated by Vandals

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , on April 30, 2012 by loonwatch

cemetery_desecrated_Carros_France

A Muslim section in a Carre cemetery was desecrated

This is a report from the French website, Al-Kanz which does a good job in covering anti-Islam and anti-Muslim trends and attacks, they also alerted us to this story. Here is an approximate translation via. Google:

Desecrated Muslim section near Nice

Hatred of the living led some to attack the dead. The Muslim section of a cemetery in Carros, near Nice, has been desecrated, as reported by France Soir .

The brave Snatchers drew swastikas in reverse and inscribed “Vive Le Pen” and “Arab dehor” outside without s. The UMP proposed a few days ago to reform the spelling. Utility is measured. Like drawing classes with swastikas in place?

Here is the original in French:

La haine des vivants conduit certains à s’en prendre aux morts. Le carré musulman d’un cimetière à Carros, près de Nice, a été profané, comme le rapporte France Soir.

Les courageux profanateurs ont dessiné des croix gammées à l’envers et inscrit « Vive Le Pen » et « Arabe dehor », dehors sans s. L’UMP proposait il y a quelques jours de réformer l’orthographe. On mesure l’utilité. Tout comme des cours de dessin de croix gammées à l’endroit ?

Unease Grows in Sarkozy Party over Rightward Lurch

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on April 29, 2012 by loonwatch

Sarkozy’s right-ward lurch is supposedly rankling some feathers in his own party (via. Islamophobia-Watch):

Unease grows in Sarkozy party over rightward lurch

Unease is growing in French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right UMP party a week before a presidential election over his lurch to the right in pursuit of supporters of anti-immigration candidate Marine Le Pen.

Some mainstream conservatives have voiced public dismay at his embrace of the campaign themes, language and even some proposals of Le Pen’s National Front. In private conversations, doubts are widespread about the morality and effectiveness of the strategy.

In the last week, Sarkozy has repeatedly declared that there are too many foreigners in France and vowed to reduce legal immigration. Echoing a Le Pen proposal, he has called for police to be given greater license to shoot fleeing crime suspects. He has accused his Socialist rival Francois Hollande of being backed by Islamists and said Le Pen’s voters are respectable and her party compatible with the French Republic.

“Even though I will vote for Nicolas Sarkozy on the second round, it’s clearly my duty to ring the alarm bell about this strategy,” Etienne Pinte, a UMP lawmaker, told Reuters.

He said former prime ministers Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Alain Juppe, Sarkozy’s foreign minister, had made clear in internal meetings their reticence about the rightward drift. ”All through the campaign, we felt there were misgivings among a number of parliamentary colleagues and the two former prime ministers about the exploitation of these extreme-right themes,” Pinte said.

Sarkozy hardened his discourse as soon as the results of last Sunday’s first round showed Le Pen, with nearly 18 percent, had won twice as many votes as centrist Francois Bayrou. The president needs to draw support from both sides to beat Hollande, the clear frontrunner in opinion polls, in the May 6 second-round runoff.

Raffarin hinted at his distaste in an interview with the newspaperLe Monde last week, saying: “If I were to express reservations today, it would weaken my own side … but I remain attached to the humanitarian values of our program.” Asked whether the strategy drawn up by Sarkozy’s political guru Patrick Buisson, a former extreme-right newspaper editor, had not strengthened the far right, Raffarin said the time for analysis would come after May 6. “We are in a battle now, and in a battle, the honorable thing is to be loyal,” he said.

Another former Gaullist prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, deplored what he called “crossing one republican red line after another (in a) shameless seduction of extremist votes”. Without mentioning Sarkozy by name, Villepin warned the mainstream right in an article in Le Monde against betraying its own values.

“One would think there were only National Front voters in France,” he wrote. “As if there were not more important issues than halal meat, legal immigration and (single-sex or mixed) bathing hours in public swimming pools.” Sarkozy has played up each of those issues in his quest to win over Le Pen voters.

Reuters, 29 April 2012