THE INTERIOR minister Claude Guéant has been accused of Islamophobia and dishonouring France after saying the growing population of Muslims in the country 'poses problems'.
His comments were made on the eve of a debate within his party, the UMP, on Islam and secularism in France.What about the "stigma" felt by French people whose vehicles are regularly torched by Banlieue Muslims? Surely that's more "shocking" to the French than "street prayers."
The debate, organised by party leader Jean-François Copé, is itself controversial, with many party figures finding excuses not to attend, including Prime Minister François Fillon.
"The question worries our citizens: there are many who think the rules of secularism are being stretched," said Guéant on a trip to Nantes.
"In 1905 [the year the separation of church and state was brought into law] there were few Muslims in France, today there are between five to 10 million.
"This growth of believers and certain types of practices pose problems. It is clear that prayers in the street shock a certain number of people and the leaders of major religions know that this type of practice affects them negatively," he said.
The organisation Banlieues Respect has been giving out five-pointed green stars to Muslims in districts of Paris, symbolising the stigma felt by the UMP's debate...
My thought: instead of handing out green stars so Muslims can pretend to be Jews (which is vastly different than the experience of Jews in Nazi-conquered France, who were forced to wear yellow stars, and who often pretended not to be Jewish in a desperate bid to escape their fate), maybe they should hand out teensy Renault pins, which the "lads" can wear as a badge of honour.
Update: Robert Spencer writes:
Barbecuing cars by the dozens every night -- no problem. Creating no-go zones all over the country where even governing authorities fear to go -- no problem. Taking over the streets for prayer in an obvious gesture of supremacism and in defiance of local ordinances -- no problem. Noticing that all of that may present some difficulty for France? Now that is a problem.