April 23, 2012 · 0 Comments
By As’ad AbuKhalil:
There are many interesting trends in the French presidential elections. The international media will focus on matters that are less of a concern to me. The New York Times and The Economist are aghast that the French socialist candidate, Francois Hollande, may expand government expenditures and services. The New York Times finds in his program an outrage to international – read American elite – financial consensus. There will be commentaries written about the career and the ultimate demise of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. But there are other trends that are worth mentioning.
First, the story of the New Right is a European continental story. The New Right has continued its dramatic rise all over the continent from Austria to France to Eastern European countries. The New Right is often a thinly disguised movement against Islam and Muslims. Islamophobia is now accepted in polite company.
Islamophobia was not strong as an anti-immigrant movement in the US – because the country prides itself as a nation of immigrants as if the immigrants were all treated equally ever in the history of the republic – but 11 September 2001 galvanized Islamophobic movements and organizations that operate under the umbrella of the deadly alliance of the Religious Right and American Zionist organizations. In Europe, the movement has spread and gained momentum even prior to September 11 and the official association between Muslims and terrorists (although the association is as old as the Zionist propaganda machine in Western capitals).
But the first round election results in the French presidential election are quite telling. The movement of Marine Le Pen of the National Front may now represent one-fifth of the French population. This is in the land of the French revolution. The movement wants not only to endorse and promote racist and Islamophobic policies and actions, but it also wants to decrease ties with Europe.
Ironically, the National Front was first characterized as anti-Semitic but once the movement declared its support for Israel and focused its hatred against Muslims, Zionist organizations were quick to forgive the National Front. In fact, several New Right organizations in Europe, even with an anti-Semitic past and tone, have been aligning themselves with Zionists to win respectability (hatred of Muslims does not erode respectability in Western countries).
The second trend relates to the involvement of Muslims in France in the campaign of (the real) left candidate, Jean-Luc Melenchon (notice that real left is now considered “far left” in mainstream Western press). For too long, there has been a stereotype about Muslims in Western societies. It has been assumed that they are primarily or exclusively focused on social issues and that the conservative agenda of Islam (Islam has to be a monolith of course in this narrative) dominates the mind of Muslim citizens and that it determines their political and voting conduct. This has not been the case in the US for many years now where Muslim Americans have been moving away from the Republican Party and toward the Democratic Party (and in smaller number even the Green party under Ralph Nader).
The fact [that] Melenchon with his “far-left” agenda (which includes issues of gender and sexuality) has been successful in attracting support among the young Muslims of France requires a reconsideration of conventional assumptions about young Muslims in Western societies. There is a new generation of Muslims in Western societies and their political and voting behavior may shift the trend of general Muslim attitudes in the West and may also shatter long-established stereotypes.