News / Europe

French Elections Marred by 'No to Islam' Campaign

Supporters of far right-wing French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen stand in front of the courthouse in Marseille where Le Pen is accused of inciting racism in the recent anti-Muslim poster campaign by the youth wing of his party, the Front National, 05 Mar
Supporters of far right-wing French politician Jean-Marie Le Pen stand in front of the courthouse in Marseille where Le Pen is accused of inciting racism in the recent anti-Muslim poster campaign by the youth wing of his party, the Front National, 05 Mar
TEXT SIZE - +

Upcoming French regional elections are marked by a particularly incendiary campaign poster that targets the so-called "Islamization" of France.   

Ahead of the first round of French regional elections Sunday, much of the talk on the airwaves is about the drubbing President Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling UMP party is expected to receive in the polls.

But the far-right National Front party has also managed to heat up the debate - with a new campaign poster featuring the Algerian flag, a veiled woman, and half a dozen minarets shooting out of a map of France. The tagline - "No to Islamism" - apparently targets extreme manifestations of the Muslim religion.

In a recent campaign speech, the  National Front's 81-year-old leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, denounced mosques that were "growing like mushrooms" in France. During an interview this week on TF1 television channel, Le Pen was more nuanced in his criticism.

Le Pen said the poster was not against Islam and Algeria but against Islamism - and the fact French youth of north African origin do not appear to be patriotic.

The Algerian government has protested against the campaign poster - as has a Swiss advertising agency, which claims the National Front plagiarized from its campaign for a minaret ban in Switzerland. The issue is particularly sensitive as the French government is considering a ban against face-covering veils.

Rights groups and anti-discrimination groups like the Representative Council of Black Associations have also expressed outrage. Patrick Lozes heads the council, which is known as CRAN.

"I think this poster needs to be condemned very firmly. At some point it is necessary to begin talking about racism. And I think there is a racist climate growing in France," he says.

What's good, Lozes says, is that racism is being discussed in France - which he claims was not the case just a few years ago.

This week, the CRAN submitted a report to the French government outlining 15 ways to fight racism in France, including creating an agency to monitor it. The government says it will report back in the next two months.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid