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February 17, 2006

Unholy Alliance in France

Cats and dogs living together? Are we witnessing the End of Times? Michel Gurfinkiel reports from Paris in today's NY Sun:

It looks like a political oxymoron, but Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front is poised to strike an alliance with France's large immigrant Muslim community.

A generation after France's right-wing party began its surge with a tough anti-immigration campaign tinged with both racism and anti-Semitism, three factors are coming into play that could spell a strategic realignment.

  • The Islamicization of France is largely a fait accompli. It is assumed that 6 to 8 million citizens or residents of France, 10% to 13% out of a global population of 62 million, are Muslim by now. And that the Muslim community, being more prolific, is much younger than the rest of the population: As much as 25% of French citizens or residents under 20 is Muslim, with the number reaching 40% or 50% in the big cities.

  • The National Front is surprisingly popular among Muslim immigrants or second-generation Muslim citizens. For all its campaigning about immigration, Mr. Le Pen's party has always extended support to Arab and Islamic causes abroad, from Saddam's Iraq to Arafat's or Hamas Palestine, and from Al Qaeda to Iran. And it is as firmly anti-American and anti-Jewish as the Muslim community itself tends to be.

  • The attraction of the French far left, which accounts for another 20% of the national vote, toward Islam, rabid anti-Americanism, and even anti-Semitism, a phenomenon underscored by the emergence of Dieudonne, a former liberal music-hall humorist who has turned into an enormously popular French equivalent of Louis Farrakhan. Dieudonne, the son of a black Camerounese father and a white French mother, claims that Jews were the main European slave traders in the 17th and 18th centuries. He refers to civic and educational programs about the Holocaust as "memory pornography." He has welcomed the electoral victory of Hamas in Palestine. According to the philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, he is in moral terms "Le Pen's son."

Gurfinkiel's thesis is that Le Pen is really more of a neo-fascist anti-semite than he is a Christian conservative. United by their hatred of jews and the US, Le Pen and some of France's radical Muslims may have a lot in common. Très bizarre.

February 17, 2006 at 09:17 AM | Permalink

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