France's Tottery Effort to Reverse Creeping Islamization
Muslim immigrants will find it more difficult to obtain French citizenship from now on.
New citizenship rules that entered into effect on January 1, 2012 will require all applicants to pass exams on French culture and history and also to prove that their French language skills are equivalent to those of a 15-year-old native speaker. Moreover, candidates seeking French citizenship will be required to pledge allegiance to "French values."
The new measures -- drawn up by Interior Minister Claude Guéant -- are part of a concerted effort by the French government to push back against the Islamization of France.
Muslim applicants make up the majority of the 100,000 people who are naturalized as French citizens each year; there is also rising frustration that the country's estimated 6.5 million Muslims are not integrating into French society.
Guéant has said that immigrants who refuse to assimilate should be denied French citizenship.
According to Guéant, a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling UMP party, the citizenship process should be "a solemn occasion between the host nation and the applicant" and that immigrants should be integrated through language and "an adherence to the principals, values and symbols of our democracy."
From now on, applicants for French citizenship will also be required to sign a new charter establishing their rights and responsibilities. Drafted by France's High Council for Integration (HCI), the charter reads: "Becoming French is not a mere administrative step. It is a decision that requires a lot of thought … applicants will no longer be able to claim allegiance to another country while on French soil." The new rules, however, will not affect dual nationality, which will still be allowed.
Separately, Guéant also announced a proposal to require non-French children born in France who would normally be automatically naturalized at the age of 18 to formally apply for citizenship.
In addition, Guéant announced plans to reduce the number of legal immigrants coming to France annually from 200,000 to 180,000 and has called for those convicted of a felony to be expelled from the country.
The new citizenship requirements form part of a larger government effort to reverse decades of multicultural policies that have encouraged the establishment of a parallel Muslim society in France.
In February 2011, Sarkozy denounced multiculturalism as a failure and said Muslims must assimilate into the French culture if they want to be welcomed in France. In a live-broadcast interview with French Channel One television, Sarkozy said: "I do not want a society where communities coexist side by side … France will not welcome people who do not agree to melt into a single community. We have been too busy with the identity of those who arrived and not enough with the identity of the country that accepted them."
In April 2011, the French government implemented a "burqa ban" which prohibits the wearing of Islamic body-covering burqas and face-covering niqabs in all public spaces in France.
With certain exceptions, anyone in France covering her face on the street and in parks, on public transportation, in public institutions such as train stations and town halls, and in shops, restaurants and movie theaters, will be subject to a fine of €150 ($215).
More severe penalties are in store for those found guilty of forcing others to cover their faces by means of "threats, violence and constraint, abuse of authority or power for reason of their gender." Clearly aimed at Muslim fathers, husbands or religious leaders, anyone found guilty of forcing a woman to wear an Islamic veil against her will is subject to a fine of €30,000 ($43,000) and one year in jail, or €60,000 ($86,000) and up to two years in jail if the case involves a minor.
Sarkozy has said the burqa is "a new form of enslavement that will not be welcome in the French Republic." And French people seem to agree. According to a recent survey published by the Washington-based Pew Global Attitudes Project, French people back the ban by a margin of more than four to one: Approximately 82% of people polled approved of a ban, while 17% disapproved.
Also in April, the UMP party organized a debate on the compatibility of Islam with the rules of the secular French Republic. The three-hour roundtable discussion called "Secularism: To Live Better Together" was held at the upscale hotel Pullman Paris Montparnasse in the presence of some 500 religious leaders, legislators and journalists.
Organized by UMP leader Jean-François Copé, attendees discussed 26 ideas aimed at preserving France's secular character, enshrined in a 1905 law separating church and state. Participants discussed issues such as halal food being served in public schools and Muslim street prayers.
Other proposals aired at the event included: banning the wearing of religious symbols such as Muslim headscarves by daycare personnel; preventing Muslim mothers from wearing headscarves when accompanying children on school field trips; and preventing parents from withdrawing their children from mandatory subjects, including physical education and biology.
In September 2011, the French government enacted a new law prohibiting Muslims from praying in the streets. The ban was in direct response to growing public anger in France over the phenomenon of Muslim street prayers.
Every Friday, thousands of Muslims from Paris to Marseille and elsewhere close off streets and sidewalks -- thereby closing down local businesses and trapping non-Muslim residents in their homes and offices -- to accommodate overflowing crowds for midday prayers.
The weekly spectacles have been documented by dozens of videos posted on Youtube.com (here, here, here) and have provoked a mixture of anger, frustration and disbelief, but local officials have been reluctant to intervene for fear of sparking riots.
The issue of illegal street prayers was catapulted to the top of the French national political agenda in December 2010, when Marine Le Pen, the charismatic leader of the far-right National Front party, denounced them as an "occupation without tanks or soldiers."
According to a survey by Ifop for the France-Soir newspaper, nearly 40% of French voters agree with Len Pen's views that Muslim prayer in the streets resembles an occupation. Other polls show that voters view Le Pen, who has criss-crossed the country arguing that France has been invaded by Muslims and betrayed by its elite, as the candidate best suited to fix the problem of Muslim immigration.
Sarkozy, whose popularity is at record lows just four months before the presidential election set for April 22, seems determined not to allow Le Pen to monopolize the issue of Islam in France.
Nevertheless, opinion polls show Sarkozy trailing his main contender, the Socialist candidate François Hollande. An OpinionWay-Fiducial poll published by the newspaper Le Parisien on December 20 shows Hollande with 27% of voter support against 24% for Sarkozy and 16% for Le Pen.
If elected president, Hollande -- a committed multiculturalist who has accused Sarkozy of fear-mongering -- would almost certainly reverse some, if not all, of the Sarkozy's Muslim immigration-related policies.
The inevitable conclusion is that efforts to stem the rising tide of Islam in France are tenuous at best.
Reader comments on this item
|Creeping [135 words]||Curmudgeon||Jan 8, 2012 22:04|
|Hooray for France. [12 words]||Thorn||Jan 4, 2012 14:20|
|The real threat [110 words]||Curmudgeon||Jan 3, 2012 12:46|
|Muslim problem [22 words]||Guy Macher||Jan 2, 2012 18:20|
Comment on this item
by Raymond Ibrahim
"I abducted your girls. I will sell them on the market, by Allah... There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell." — Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram.
Hillary Clinton repeatedly refused to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization.
In Malaysia -- regularly portrayed in the West as a moderate Muslim nation -- any attempt to promote religions other than Islam is illegal.
"The reason they want to kill me is very clear -- it is because of being a convert to Christianity." — Hassan Muwanguzi, Uganda.
by Dexter Van Zile
Rev. Hanna Massad does not mention that perhaps Hamas actually wants the blockade to end so it can bring in more weapons and cement to build attack-tunnels so it can "finish the job."
Hamas does not just admit to using human shields, it brags about using human shields. Why does Massad have to inject an air of uncertainty about Hamas's use of human shields when no such uncertainty exists?
The problem is that any self-respecting journalist would confront Massad with a follow-up question about Hamas's ideology and violence, but not the folks at Christianity Today.
by Burak Bekdil
In Turkey however, the protests were not peaceful. They included smashing a sculpture than was neither Jewish nor Israeli.
It was the usual "We-Muslims-can-kill each other-but-Jews-cannot" hysteria.
If Turkish crowds were protesting against Israel in a political dispute, why Koranic slogans? Why were they protesting in Arabic rather than their native language? Do Turks chant German slogans to protest nuclear energy?
by Burak Bekdil
So in the EU-candidate Turkey, a pianist should be punished for his re-tweets, but a pop-singer should be congratulated for her first-class racist hate-speech. This is contagious.
No reporter present at Mr. Ihsanoglu's campaign launch speech thought about asking him if his commitment to the "Palestinian cause" included any affirmation of the Hamas Charter, in particular a section that says, "…The stones and trees will say, 'O Muslims, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"
Turkey is also the country where a few years earlier, a group of school teachers (yes, school teachers!) gathered in a demonstration to commemorate Hitler.
by Debalina Ghoshal
Despite Chapter VII of the UN Charter and UNSC Resolutions, it seems that North Korea will continue developing its missiles -- and eventually weaponize them with nuclear warheads.
"North Korea's ballistic and nuclear threat is very much a near-term threat. ... Steady progression in their program is not harmless." — Victor Cha, Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
On March 26, 2014, North Korea reportedly test-fired medium-range ballistic Rodong missiles -- capable of reaching Japan and U.S. military bases in the Asia-Pacific region.
Since February, South Korean officials claim that North Korea has confirmed at least 90 test-firings, among which ten were ballistic missiles.