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Macron term ends with Islamophobia legalized, not just mainstream

Ramin Mazaheri
Press TV, Paris

As voters go to the first round of presidential polls this weekend, many French Muslims no longer see Emmanuel Macron as the “centrist” which he claimed to be in 2017.

If Nicolas Sarkozy introduced Islamophobia and Francois Hollande made it acceptable to the mainstream, Macron’s term institutionalized Islamophobia.

Macron immediately took Hollande’s multiyear state of emergency and legalized it, with Muslims the clear targets and practically the only victims. His so-called “anti-separatist law” of 2021 tried to ban the hijab for minors and clearly violated constitutional protections for the freedom of association, worship and politics. It was so heavy-handed even the United Nations and English-language media widely criticized it.

In the months preceding the election, nearly 100 mosques have been raided, with at least two dozen shut down so far. Top Muslim NGOs and local community centers have also been exiled or closed. A new report revealed that these closures were based merely on "secretive evidence”, which is to say no evidence was ever produced in court.

Not apologizing for massacres during the War Against Algerian Independence, keeping the “Arab Nelson Mandela” Georges Ibrahim Abdallah in prison, enacting legislation which falsely equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, gutting social services and help for poor, largely-immigrant areas - many Muslims say they are prepared to vote against Macron in the second round, whomever the candidate.

In 2012, 93% of over 2 million Muslims voters picked Hollande over Sarkozy, providing the decisive margin in a extremely tight contest. In 2022 Muslims may play a similar role of “king-maker”, but it’s not sure which side they will take.

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