Tag Archives: Muslim

What you believe is what you vote.

14 Apr

Tell me what’s your religion, I’ll tell you who will you vote for.  Even in a secular state like France, where laïcité is a part of Constitution and religion kept out of the public sphere and politics, voting intentions based on religion still exist.

Photo credit: Flickr/CC/phoenixdiaz

Catholics vote right

At 57.2%-of which 14% practicing- Catholics make up the majority of voters in France. The survey found that the outgoing president, Nicolas Sarkozy would expect to get 28% of the Catholic vote, while his rival, François Hollande would only get 25%.

Catholic voters are probably seduced by a moderate conservative right, which represents to them  a guarantee of family values, refusal of euthanasia and gay marriage. Furthermore, Nicolas Sarkozy doesn’t miss the opportunity to woo catholic voters, praising the „Christian heritage of France“. At the same time, the Catholics these days seem to be more willing to vote for National front.  Is Marine le Pen more popular than her father Jean-Marie le Pen? She surely made the National Front vote more sexy for Catholics, because the voting intentions expressed in the first round give her 13% of the Catholic vote.

Even though the Church doesn’t give any “guidelines” for voting, last October a collection of some speeches made by Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris and President was published. It his recent publication, Quelle société voulons-nous? (“What society do we want?”), he says no indication is given as to the vote, but he focuses on the defense of life and of the traditional family.

And let’s not forget about the Civitas movement, closely allied to the Society of  St Pius, that seeks to strengthen the traditional Catholic right and publishes regularly, on the website of the associations, articles against Francois Hollande, threat for a Catholic community.

Muslims vote  left

If  Francois Hollande can’t count on Catholics’ votes, he can surely be happy about the 85% of Muslim voters that would chose him as their candidate for the second election turn.

Traditionally on the left, the Muslim vote will definitely stay that way after the Sarkozy’s  laws  on burqua and the rightification of his politics, with its focus on immigration, radical Islam and Muslim mores.  The tensions rose especially after the tragic bloodshed in Toulouse and the Sarkozy’s ban of  some imams from entering France to the conference organized by the Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF).  Of course, Marine le Pen stays the enemy number 1 of Muslim voters because of her pronounced anti-immigration and often anti-Islam discourse.

Religious vote obviously does exist. But even if we count in the Protestants and Jewish voters (which, long close to socialist party tend to move to the right), the religious voters represent merely 30% of electorate. Not enough to decide on the final election result.

Do you have a Muslim appearance?

30 Mar

Muslim appearance (Musulman d’apparence).  Expression coined by French president Nicolas Sarkozy, the 26 March, to designate the person who physically looks like a Muslim. The expression became instantly the trending topic on Twitter.

I remind you that they were Muslims or at least they were of  Muslim appearance since one of them was actually Catholic, said  French president in a radio interview with public radio station France Info, referring to confusion over the origins of the soldiers gunned down in Toulouse and Montauban.

Instantly, this claim unleashed the torrent of Twitter comments with as a trending topic #Musulmandapparence (#OfMuslimappearance) and thousands of people criticizing Sarkozy and questioning the idea of a physical look to identify Muslims.

A Green party politician, Cécile Duflot commented: “So Sarkozy actually said ‘Muslim-looking’ … When will it stop?

One Twitter user asked:  Are the bearded hipsters also of  Muslim appearance?

So what did Nicolas Sarkozy want to say? First of all he probably used the expression more out of clumsiness than anything else.

At the same time, he just repeated, probably unconsciously, some of the stereotypes about Muslims: they are bearded, they wear hats and veils and they are all Arab (by the way, according to a 2012 Pew institute study, Indonesia is the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, 205 million people.  Would you say that they have a « Muslim appearance?!)

He is probably not the only one to make such a language blunder. However, as a president-candidate, Nicolas Sarkozy should have known that the religious affiliation doesn’t’ shown in the facial features of a person. If it were, he too could become a Muslim, with a little help of  Photoshop.

"Of a Muslim appearance", a caricature of a French president Nicolas Sarkozy with the mustache, imitating ironically his presidential poster.

Sarkozy and Muslim community: he loves them, he loves them not

16 Mar

Nicolas Sarkozy in the Paris mosque? You must be joking.

No. Here is the picture (if you don’t believe me, believe Le Monde that published it)

Nicolas Sarkozy seems to be confused.

In the past few weeks, one could think that the current French president/candidate at the upcoming presidential elections  Nicolas Sarkozy is not fond of Islam, considering the bitter halal polemics that took place  (see here and here).
Then, all of the sudden, he paid a visit to the heart of the Muslim community in Paris, the Great Mosque, to inaugurate a memorial to Muslim soldiers died fighting for France in the First World War. The visit was also the opportunity to assure the
mosque’s rector and the French Muslim Council leader, Mohammed Moussaoui. “Our compatriots of the Muslim religion that they naturally have the right to follow their faith as any other citizen has the right to follow his religion”, affirmed the president”.

The religion he was talking about wasn’t his main preoccupation during the last five years of his presidency, of course, but he spent quite a lot of time trying to limit the freedom he was passionately talking about on Wednesday, 14 March.
In the 2010 the Islamic veil was banned from the public spaces, which provoked various reactions of Muslim –and not only-community and caused the massive protests all over the country. 2011 was marked by the his comments on multiculturalism’s failure and a debate on the Islam’s place in France. Indeed, as we could see, have become a one of key campaign themes in the wake of controversies — largely fed by the far-right — from the face veils, Muslims praying in the street to the most recent halal products.

Will one visit be enough to win back the trust of Muslim voters? Surely not, especially if Nicolas Sarkozy intends to court the voters of Marine Le Pen’s Far-right Party.