Press TV, Paris
With France’s presidential election just four months away, Europe’s largest Muslim community is being scapegoated and targeted by government repression as badly as ever.
Almost 100 mosques have recently been raided by the government, with at least two dozen shut down so far. Earlier this year a so-called “anti-separatist law” was accused of basically legalizing Islamophobia, as it tried to ban the hijab for minors and forced the closure of not just mosques but highly-respected Muslim NGOs, such as the Collective Against French Islamophobia.
The latest assault on freedom of religion for French Muslims has been sharply criticized by foreign leaders and top NGOs.
The dominant theme of France’s entire presidential election has shifted to the extreme-right, as convicted racist Eric Zemmour has provided coronavirus-era France with almost nightly Islamophobic diatribes. Zemmour has rocketed to third place in the polls, giving Macron and other candidates license to blame Muslims for France’s economic and political problems.
Zemmour resembles Donald Trump of the United States in that both thrive on outrage, but there are significant differences: Zemmour’s career has aimed at being a part of the political scene and conversation, and he has benefited from support from major parts of the French establishment the entire time.
Ever since the Great Recession began France’s political and media elite have stigmatized Muslims to a degree which has gutted the nation’s claim to be a global leader in freedom of religion, thought and speech. The three most popular candidates in the presidential election all seem to be trying to outdo each other in Islamophobia, which has France’s Muslims expecting the state-sponsored racism to be even worse over the next four months.