Socialist Worker

Muslims join mass rally to condemn mainstream parties' Islamophobia

by Dave Sewell in Paris
Issue No. 2484

Muslims and anti-racists held a 700-strong rally near Paris last week against rising Islamophobia in France

Muslims and anti-racists held a 700-strong rally near Paris last week against rising Islamophobia in France (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Campaigners slammed the mainstream parties’ Islamophobia at a rally near Paris on Friday of last week.

Up to 700 Muslims andanti-racists filled the main hall of a trade union building in Saint Denis.

Academic Tariq Ramadan compared the response to terrorist attacks in France this year to those in the US after 9/11.

Ismahane Chouder of the Collective of Feminists for Equality said attacks on the right to wear a headscarf meant “some women are more equal than others”.

Racist harassment of Muslims has increased along with government attacks on their rights.

Bouchra has just returned to France after ten years in Egypt.

She told Socialist Worker, “I didn’t think it was possible for things to change this much. Now it feels like people are afraid of us. We’re not allowed to be ourselves, we’re not allowed to live.

“It’s not about Islam. It’s all politics.”

Speakers scorned calls to back the Labour-type Socialist against the Front National (FN), as its government brought repression against Muslims to new heights.

Internment

Days earlier prime minister Manuel Valls sought legal advice on setting up “preventative” internment camps for those classed as extremists.

The number of people in this category doubled to 20,000—the majority of them Muslims—between August and November.

Chair Sihame Assbague called for putting slips of paper saying “no votes without justice” in ballot boxes instead of voting papers.

Campaigner Marwan Muhammad criticised much of the left, “who couldn’t be here because they found it more important to justify themselves to racists.”

Salma Yaqoob, a leading figure from the anti-war movement in Britain, pointed to what could be gained from cooperation between Muslims and the left.

Hanane Karimi is a campaigner in eastern France where the FN led the first round.

She told Socialist Worker, “A victory for the FN would be a catastrophe for everyone.

“But its ideas have been allowed to become so widespread that it becomes a possibility.

“Politics have lurched to the far right. The Socialist Party has been the best possible advert for the FN.

“In France there is no political alternative—and perhaps we need to build one.”


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