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The great concern of French Muslim voters in the face of the extreme right

Photo: Zakaria Abdelkafi Agence France-Presse French gendarmes observe the exit of the Grand Mosque of Paris after morning prayers marking Eid al-Adha on June 16.

Claire Gallen – Agence France-Presse in Paris

Posted at 11:09 a.m.

  • Europe

“Obviously, we are afraid”: as the early legislative elections approach in France, Muslim voters are worried about a possible victory for the far right, of which they fear to be the first victims.

For Sarah, 23, member of the Muslim women's collective Khlass les clichés, there is “a real risk” of seeing the National Rally (RN) win the legislative elections, with “Islamophobic laws” seeking to “restrict our individual freedoms”, in matters of religion or clothing for example.

In the past, the RN has not hidden its hostility to ritual slaughter, which would effectively ban halal and kosher meat. In 2021, one of his proposed laws banned “Islamist ideologies” and banned the wearing of the veil in all public spaces.

The law currently provides for this. ban in public schools and prohibits the wearing of a full veil, such as a burqa, in public spaces.

France has one of the largest Muslim communities in Europe ( approximately six million people of Muslim tradition or faith).

As soon as I turn on the TV, it's dramatic, it's Islam Islam, Islam, we're confusing it with Islamism, we're putting everyone in the same bag


Sarah, who did not wish to give her full name, like most of the people interviewed, also worries about a “legitimation” of hostility towards Muslims if, with “an openly racist party at the head of the 'State, Islamophobic acts are increasing.”

Saturday evening, in Lyon, around forty ultra-right people strolled through the streets shouting “we are Nazis whore” and “Islam outside Europe,” according to videos posted on social media. The parade was condemned by the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, Chems-Eddine Hafiz, who called on the public authorities “to act immediately” in the face of “the release of extremist speech”.

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Mr. Hafiz had already castigated on June 11 “the worrying rise of the extreme right”, worrying to see that the “Maghrebi”, the “Muslim” have “become the scapegoats, the symbols of everything that is perceived as threatening, as foreign, as incompatible with a supposedly homogeneous national identity.”

“In people's minds, it's confused now: immigration = Islam”, and ” invasion of a population and a religion,” the imam of Bordeaux, Tareq Oubrou, told AFP.

In this development, many Muslims deplore the media treatment reserved for them, while France has been affected by a violent wave of attacks committed in the name of Islam since 2015.

“As soon as I turn on the TV, it's dramatic, it's Islam Islam Islam, we confuse it with Islamism, we put everyone in the same bag,” sighs in front of the Grand Mosque Maryam, 46, who judges that “it’s more difficult today than fifteen years ago.”

The great concern of French Muslim voters in the face of the extreme right

Photo: Lou Benoist Agence France-Presse Demonstrators walk in front of grafiti on the far right.

This mother of two grown children also advised them “to study to be able to go elsewhere”, as an echo of a recent sociological survey, La France tu l 'love but you leave her, reflecting the discomfort of certain young Muslims tempted to leave France.

But the oldest also express their dismay about the legislative elections of June 30 and July 7.

Vote for the radical left

“Obviously, we are afraid, not too much for religion, especially for everyday life,” admits Fatima, 70 years old.

Karim Tricoteaux, a 32-year-old Franco-Algerian, however, sees hope in the feeling that “the left-wing parties are forming alliances and are more powerful.” Of course, he will go to vote: “It will do it,” he promises.

In the European elections on June 9, the Muslim voters who went to the polls voted 62% for the radical left party La France insoumise (LFI), according to an IFOP poll for the newspaper La Croix. But abstention reached 59% for this segment of the population.

Religious leaders are therefore calling on people to vote, and not to lend credence to videos on social networks claiming that the Muslim religion advocates refusing to participate in democratic life.

“It’s delusions,” says Mr. Oubrou, castigating “ignorant people, who have a bac -10 level, but are trying to talk about Muslim canon law.”

< p>“The Muslim religion, on the contrary, advocates respect for the authority of the State in which we live,” assures Mr. Hafiz.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116