News Agencies – April 19, 2012
France’s Muslim community is mobilizing voters to reject President Nicolas Sarkozy in the 22 April election to punish the conservative leader for his anti-immigrant and anti-Islam rhetoric. “[French] Muslims can’t stand it anymore. They are fed up with these debates about national identity, halal meat, the veil or fundamentalism all over the place,” said Francoise Lorcerie, a sociologist with the Institute of Studies on the Arab and Muslim World near Marseille.
Muslims – especially those living in the “banlieues,” France’s poor immigrant suburbs – sometimes have been courted by candidates with promises of jobs and better living conditions, but they mostly have been stigmatized as threats to the French identity, analysts say. In April 2007, polls found that French Muslims voted mainly for the Socialist presidential candidate: Segolene Royal won 64 percent of their vote, while Mr. Sarkozy got just 1 percent in the first round and 5 percent in the second.