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 Khaled Abu Toameh
It is important to note that these cease-fire demands are not part of Hamas's or Islamic Jihad's overall strategy, namely to have Israel wiped off the face of the earth.
Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza trip were under the false impression that it was all about improving living conditions for the Palestinians by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
To understand the true intention of Hamas and its allies, it is sufficient to follow the statements made by their leaders after the cease-fire announcement this week. To his credit, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's leader, has never concealed Hamas's desire to destroy Israel.
Hamas and its allies see the war in the Gaza Strip as part of there strategy to destroy Israel. What Hamas and its allies are actually saying is, "Give us open borders and an airport and seaport so we can use them to prepare for the next war against Israel."
by Burak Bekdil
A front-page headline was particularly revealing: They (Israel) bombed a mosque in Gaza! Including the exclamation mark!
A quick internet search, if you typed "mosque bombing Shiite-Sunni," would give you 782,000 results on July 16.
Why did we not hear one single Turkish voice protest the death of 300,000 Muslims in Darfur?
Hamas's Charter is must-read fun.
by Bassam Tawil
What is sad is that the Gazans have not yet been able to free themselves from the yoke of Hamas.
The world seems not to understand that Hamas, like ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, does not exist in a vacuum. It is one cog in the radical Islamist wheel that threatens the Arab and Muslim world and the major cities of Europe.
The Western world also seems not to understand that it has to incapacitate or totally neutralize the countries funding terrorism, such as Iran, Qatar and Turkey, for whom the Palestinian problem is only a pretext on the way to destroying the Western world as we know it and replacing it with only Islam.
by Burak Bekdil
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri said: "All Israelis are legitimate targets." What would the Palestinian death toll have been if Mr. Netanyahu's spokesman declared all Palestinians as legitimate targets?
Underdog-nation romanticism tells us Israel should not respond when under rocket attack because it is capable of intercepting the rockets.
That there are fewer Israeli casualties does not mean Hamas does not want to kill; it just means, for the moment, Hamas cannot kill.
by Soeren Kern
Austria figures prominently in a map produced by the IS that outlines the group's five-year plan for expanding its caliphate into Europe, and has emerged as a central hub for jihadists seeking to fight in Syria.
"The spectrum of recruits for the conflict in Syria is ethnically diverse. The motivation, however, appears to be uniformly jihadist." — Austrian intelligence agency BVT.
"Allah also gives you the opportunity to wage jihad in Austria." — Austrian jihadist Firas Houidi.
"We are proud that Allah has chosen us. We feel like lions." — Austrian jihadist Abu Hamza al-Austria.