Nicolas Sarkozy to target Muslim prayers

Is the man actually still sane? Don't answer that; it was a rhetorical question...

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has taken another lurch to the Right with a speech on New Year's Eve calling Muslim prayers in the street "unacceptable".

After his expulsions of Roma-Gypsies, predominately from Romania and Bulgaria and also an attack on the resident Romani with the reintroduction of the “Carnet de Circulation” and a crackdown on immigrant crime, the French President warns that the overflow of Muslim faithful on to the streets at prayer time when mosques are packed to capacity risks undermining the French secular tradition separating state and religion.

He will doubtless be accused of pandering to the far Right: the issue of Muslim prayers in the street has been brought to the fore by Marine Le Pen, the charismatic new figurehead of the National Front, who compared it to the wartime occupation of France.

Her words provoked uproar on the Left, whose commentators took them as evidence that far from being the gentler face of the far Right, Ms Le Pen, 42, is no different from Jean-Marie, 82, her father, who has been accused of racism and Holocaust denial.

According to his aide, Mr Sarkozy agrees with the junior Le Pen that the street cannot be allowed to become "an extension of the mosque" as it does in some parts of Paris, which are closed to traffic because of the overflow of the faithful. Local authorities have declined to intervene, despite public complaints, because they are afraid of sparking riots.

It is such a shame to see France head into such a right wing direction not that the country, in the way it is run, is not, theoretically, a fascist country, in the true sense of the word and term.

Gypsies have had a bad time always, and not just during the Vichy era, but to this very day, including French Manush and others, in that they are required to carry a special passport that identifies them – point blank – as Gypsy, the Carnet de Circulation.

While the use of this document was, supposedly, stopped in the 1980s it would appear from what we have learned from Rom in France that the use has been reinstated and that all must carry this and the requirements of registering with the police prefecture upon arrival, when on voyage, are still as strict as ever.

It can just be hoped that France will not become a leading light in this and that the rest of Europe will follow as to the treatment of Gypsies and other “outsiders”. I do, however, fear that that is exactly the very way that we are headed.

© 2011