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Xenophobic Rhetoric

Xenophobic Rhetoric Marine Le Pen

Leader of the far-right National Front, Marine Le Pen, was the main source of xenophobic statements in recent years. On March 12, 2013, she accused the French authorities and society of caving under the demands of Islamic fundamentalists. According to Le Pen, French society "yields to the demands of Islamists both in everyday life and in making important decisions for the future of the country." "The French authorities do not control neither terrorists nor their threat.” She said that as long as Islamic fundamentalists are on the territory of France, and not deported or imprisoned, they threaten society.

On May 21st Marine Le Pen stated that the issue of Roma migrants has become a real catastrophe of national significance and it can only be solved by reinstating borders between EU countries. She claimed that the socialists are too soft with illegals and spend substantial resources on helping immigrants .

On June 30th the head of the "National Front" Marine Le Pen using the unrest on the streets of French cities caused by Algerians, proposed to prohibit dual citizenship in France. Speaking on the TV channel Europe 1, Marine Le Pen called the events "a demonstration of complete failure of immigration policy". According to her many of the Algerians who have French nationality, but also retained Algerian citizenship, clearly express their unwillingness to assimilate and to obey the laws of the host country, which they have voluntarily chosen for themselves .

Marin Le Pen, after an attack on the magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015 told Al Jazeera: "There are those who believe that atheism and Islam are incompatible. But Muslims must show to everyone that this is not so. It is important for them - to show that you can be French and Muslim, and still follow the secular rules. " After the attack in Lyon, Le Pen said: "Our borders must be restored. All foreigners suspected of Islamic fundamentalism must be deported from the country.”

When the Minister of Women’s Rights, French government spokesperson and well-known activist of Moroccan origin Najat Vallaud Belkacem visited an official celebration of Berber New Year in the city hall of Lyon in France, the vice-president of the "National Front" (FN) political party Florian Philippot stated that he "was unpleasantly astonished and shocked by the presence of a French government minister at a strictly communal and regional festival "."By her actions and official presence at the event the minister has taken responsibility upon herself for the idea that the French are divided into communes. This is first of all against the fundamental values of the Republic (France), we are a united nation", - said Philippot . Hence, the nationalists continue the traditional national French policy, which is leading the country into a dead end. They refuse to give national minorities a right to exist, which is the prime cause for many conflicts on an ethnic and religious base in this country.

Anti-Semitism expressions have also been noted, although they are of marginal character. On the 12th of March it became known that authorities of Besson, controlled by communists, gave the title of honorary citizen to Palestinian terrorist Majdi Rimawi, who murdered Israeli minister Rehavam Ze'evi in 2001. Before the ceremony of giving Rimawi wife and children an honorary commendation, the Mayor’s Office of Besson distributed a brochure in which the murderer is presented as a Palestinian patriot convicted for defending his land and nation. The city’s mayor Dominic Lespierre, giving a speech at the ceremony, stated that naming Majdi Rimawi an honorary citizen is an «act of solidarity with Palestine’s fight for freedom » . On the 5th of September it came to light that «National front» activist Francois Chatelen posted an image of a burning Israeli flag on his «Facebook» page .

An alarming symptom is the fact that after radicals xenophobic statements (probably to boost popularity among voters) are made by government officials and conservative politicians, who have not behaved so previously.

On the 14th of March the Minister of Internal Affairs M. Valls stated: «Alas, village inhabitants do not wish to integrate in our country because of cultural differences or because they are in the hands of networks stimulating taking part in beggary and prostitution», Valls also noted that very few are prepared for integration, which is unsurprising considering that under integration the French authorities understand voluntary assimilation .

On September 27th in an interview with Radio France International, Manuel Valls repeated the statement, saying: "Their (Roma) lifestyle is cardinally different from ours. Therefore, they must return to Romania or Bulgaria" .

One of the leaders of the rightist Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), former French Prime Minister François Fillon during a speech in Nice in the middle of September mentioned a possibility of an alliance between UMP and the "National Front". Mister Fillon said that in case if in the 2nd round of elections members of the Socialist Party (PS) and the “National Front“ will advance, it is sometimes better to support the radically rightist than the ruling socialists. The «frontist» leader Marine Le Pen in return stated that she is ready to collaborate with any candidates who would go with the main points of her programme – exiting the Euro zone, fighting against immigrant inflow, Islamisation of parts of the community and the "Roma invasion" .

On the 24th of September Jean-François Copé, head of the «Union for a Popular Movement», stood against Bulgaria’s and Romania’s entry into the Schengen Area stating that it will only trigger the increase of Roma entering Europe .

On the 5th of July the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi roused his mayor colleagues to «rebel» against the Roma. He proposed to establish specific control over all possible Roma residence areas, installing video cameras and have police forces on stand-by. The latter would be tasked with sweeping illegally occupied areas in 48 hours . On the 21st of July mayor Cholet Gilles Burduleks stated while conversing with Roma, who took a part of communal grounds: "It seems that Hitler killed too few Roma» .

On the 16th of September Toulouse judge Hervé Barreau, while reading out a sentence to four Roma pickpockets, who took down an electric transformer and therefore stole 53 kilos of copper, stated: "I hope you do not think that we will allow you to continue robbing France? Don’t you think France has enough of such roguish Romanians?"

Apart from that the local Argenteuil mayor recommended a father of an attacked Muslim woman to "not make a big thing out of the incident in order to prevent incitement of religious hatred and serious consequences for all city inhabitants " .

Monitoring has also caught xenophobic publications in the mass media. In the February issue of Versailles regional magazine in the "Open Forum" article it was stressed that secularism politics are «a shield which protects us from Islam. Protects from faith, which is fundamentally strange for our civilization. It is a system of totalitarian slavery for taking over humanity through global Jihad » .

In July anti-Semitic television series «Khyber» were broadcast on a number satellite channels in France .

In the beginning of November it came to light that one of the guests of the Petit Journal television programme several times reproduced the anti-Semitic gesture «kenel», which was invented by anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala .

On the 20th of February Orleans mayor Serge Gruar banned the construction of the first Muslim elementary school in France, stating: "The project regarding a Muslim educational facility is in conflict with the vector of the ruling party’s secularism politics. It is a rejection on the part of the Muslim community of one of the Republic’s main principles – diversity in the community" . It is obvious, that the void in national and religious minority education, which is created by the government’s exit from that sphere, is quickly filled by those who in France are characterized as Islamic fundamentalists who are constantly challenged. Such politics lead to multiplying numbers of aggressive Islam followers and to increased tension in the country.

At the end of March in France an array of politicians made speeches regarding stricter secularism policies against childcare center employees. On the 26th of March government spokesperson and Minister of Women’s Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem stated: "Principles of secularism should not stop in front of kindergarten doors, these are the untouchable principles of the Republic (France). Letting anything slip is not even an option. We do not exclude the possibility that a situation may arise where it will be necessary to regulate this with harsh legislation". President of the high council of the Alpes-Maritimes department, where one of the biggest French Muslim communities is situated, Éric Ciotti submitted a legislation project to the Parliament. The project will allow demanding the maintenance of religious neutrality even in private French facilities .

On the 29th of March French president Francois Hollande supported this project noting that it is «quite essential for France». "The law has to intervene and ban religious symbols in all facilities, where children are brought up from a young age. When we are talking about primary upbringing of children by private babysitters or kindergarten employees, there should be an atmosphere of religious neutrality, which is already present at schools", - he said .

Forms of extreme tolerance also exist in France. They often transform into new forms of discrimination. For example, on the 7th of June it became known that Paris police forces in the Goutte D’Or district, where a lot of Muslims reside, did not allow celebrating a festival, during which pork sausages and alcohol were to be sold . On the 5th of December it became known that in Châteaudun the traditional Christmas crib in the town’s center was replaced with a snowman. . In such a way rejection of national and religious traditions in order to honor questionable politic correctness leads to the increase of discontent among members of the indigenous population and reinforcing the nationalists’ positions.

On July 25, it was reported that Deputy Mayor of Montreuil-Juigné Jacques Renault wrote on Twitter, calling a corpse of a fallen Palestinian “Halal meat” .

On August 21, it was reported that the former State Secretary of Family Affairs Nadine Morano posted photos of women wearing hijabs and proposed they leave the country if they do not want to integrate into the French society .

Israel’s operations in Gaza caused a wave of anti-Semitism in France.

On July 5, it was reported that Vice Mayor of Vaulx-en-Velin, Ahmed Shehab publicly accused the head of the local sports club of preferring to "seek assistance form the Jews, and not from his co-religionist" (predecessor Shehab was a Jew) .

On August 4, Vice Mayor of Reims Mario Rossi, who was elected from the party "Union of Democrats and independents" compared Gaza bombings to German bombings during the First World War .

On August 4, French politician and Senator Nathalie Goulet spread caricatures of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and former President Shimon Peres, in style of “blood libel” .

On July 30, it was reported that a hashtag “Palestine will survive and Israel will burn” was trending in Toulouse .

There have also been homophobic statements. On November 14, former President Nikolas Sarkozy made a speech at an event organised by the Union for a Popular Movement party. He said that the same-sex marriage law must be “rewritten from scratch”. In response, those present at the conference started shouting “Abolish! Abolish!” Sarkozy then added, “If you believe I should talk about abolishing the law, then, in essence, it’s the same thing.”

On December 29, it was reported that the elected councillor from the Christian Democratic party in Vourla, Marc-Yvan Tesser posted several homophobic tweets .

Long before the attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, Marine Le Pen made the connection between immigration and militant Islamism. Immediately thereafter, she proposed "expelling foreigners who preach hatred in our land" and depriving Muslims with dual citizenship with extremist views of French citizenship, which has traditionally been associated with the extreme right. These ideas were initially unprecedentedly endorsed by both Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls and President François Hollande, but they were eventually abandoned.

On the eve of the 2017 elections, Marine Le Pen appealed to French voters fed up with mainstream politics and promised to hold a referendum on France's EU membership within six months of taking office. And Britain's June 2016 vote to leave the EU served as a template. Portraying herself outside the establishment, she advocated public services - for non-foreigners - and presented herself as an advocate for workers and farmers in the face of "wild and anarchic globalization."

On the eve of the 2022 elections, when her approval rating was 40%, she declared that Muslim women, if she won, would have to give up wearing the hijab and other religious headgear in public. Internationally, Le Pen wanted to begin weakening France's relationship with the European Union, NATO and neighboring Germany, steps that would be seismic for Europe's peace architecture in the midst of tensions with Russia.

By supporting cost-of-living issues, befriending the working class, changing the name of her party and distancing herself from her father, Le Pen has broadened her appeal and made herself less intimidating to growing segments of the French electorate. Immigration is not the main concern of all her supporters. Not all of them are wary of the EU, Muslims and foreigners. But Le Pen speaks to many who feel that officials in Paris and Brussels do not hear or care.

In winning the 2022 presidential election, Macron became the first French president in 20 years to win a second term, he too failed: he failed to achieve the goal he set for himself at the beginning of his presidency. Five years ago, in his triumphant victory speech, Macron promised to knock the ground out from under Le Pen's feet, calming the anger of the voters she feeds on. "I will do everything in the next five years so that there is no more reason to vote for the far right," he said. Nevertheless, extremists in France are feeling better than ever, finding a growing, enthusiastic and completely unperturbed audience for the far-right's "us versus them" rhetoric.

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