"Between bad and worse".. France's Muslims face a difficult choice in the elections

"Between bad and worse".. France's Muslims face a difficult choice in the elections While Macron insists on fighting what he calls "Islamic separatism", Le Pen threatens to ban headscarves and halal slaughter, and this is the problem of French Muslims voting for the second round of presidential elections if they find themselves between bad and worse.  "Choice between bad and worse", that is the problem of French Muslims when they go to cast their votes in the second round of the presidential elections, April 24, in which President Emmanuel Macron and the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen are competing.  Macron's first presidential term witnessed unprecedented restrictions on Muslims in France, especially after issuing a law to combat so-called "Islamic separatism" and an attempt to create a "modern Islam" on the scale of "French secularism".  The French president sparked widespread anger among the Muslims of the world when he said that "Islam is experiencing a deep crisis in all countries of the world."  The Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, who is affiliated with Macron, boasts of closing 200 Islamic associations close, according to him, to "political Islam movements", according to the newspaper "L'Orient 21", similar to the Association for Combating Islamophobia, not to mention the closure of mosques.  Not to mention Macron's support for publishing offensive images of the Prophet Muhammad - peace be upon him - and considering them freedom of opinion, while Paris could not bear the Russian embassy's publication of a satirical drawing about Europe on its website, and the Russian ambassador was summoned about it, in a paradox that clearly reveals the double standards on freedom of expression.   Despite Macron's decisions to outbid the extreme right in his hostility to Muslims and immigrants, Le Pen raised the ceiling to extreme levels, when she announced during her election campaign that she would ban the wearing of headscarves in public places and impose fines on veiled women in the streets, if she reached the presidency.  The leader of the "National Rally" party considered that the veil "is a symbol of that totalitarian ideology (I mean Islam), and for this I wish to rid all women of the veil."  On the sidelines of her election campaign, a veiled French woman of Algerian origin replied: "Leave the Muslims alone."  But Le Pen is insisting on opening the files that feed the extreme right with the voices of the populists, such as preventing the slaughter of sacrifices on the Islamic way, and thus depriving Muslims of halal meat, but she proposes in return to import it from abroad.  Although Macron adopts a project in which he stresses restricting immigration and the right of asylum from outside the European Union, especially from Arab and Islamic countries, Le Pen exaggerates the call for restricting this right.  While Macron proposes facilitating the process of deporting refugees whose applications have been rejected, and reviewing the conditions for obtaining residence permits for more than 4 years, Le Pen stresses the need for these applications to be submitted from the country or country of origin at French embassies abroad before any migration.   With regard to obtaining French citizenship, Macron proposes a requirement to master the French language, while his rival is demanding the abolition of the right to land and the automatic acquisition of citizenship through marriage. It calls for the inclusion of the circumstances leading to the revocation of French citizenship in the constitution, according to the Euronews website.  Neither Macron nor Le Pen  According to the Ifop polling institute, the Muslim vote in the first round of the presidential elections held on April 10 did not go to Macron or Le Pen, but rather the radical leftist candidate defending immigrants won the lion's share with nearly 70%.  Macron received only 14% of the Muslim vote, while 7% voted for Le Pen.  Muslims represent, according to some estimates, 10% of the population of more than 67 million people, of whom 48.7 million are entitled to vote.  The participation rate in the first round of the presidential elections amounted to 73.69%, compared to 78% in the 2017 elections, which represents a decrease of more than 5 points, and it is expected that this percentage will decline in the second round, especially since the presidential battle appears to be settled for Macron, although Le Pen managed to reduce the gap between him and him. .  Macron received 27.85% of the valid votes, compared to 23.15% for Le Pen, according to the official results of the Constitutional Council.  Melenchon, who won the confidence of more than two-thirds of Muslims in France, did not announce his support for Macron, but he called for depriving Le Pen of any vote for his supporters, which is in the interest of the outgoing president, especially since the candidate who came third with more than 7 million votes did not call for a boycott of the elections.  In the nearest opinion polls published during the first round, Le Pen managed to reduce the gap between her and Macron to only 3 points (48.5% for Le Pen compared to 51.5% for Macron).  This is a very small and unprecedented difference, even though Macron enjoys the support of the majority of losing presidential candidates, the possibility of a surprise is not an impossible issue, especially if voters resort to a punitive vote against Macron, or if the proportion of boycotts was large among left and Muslim circles, in exchange for a massive mobilization of votes The far right is behind Le Pen.  The presidential battle has not been finally resolved, and Muslims can defeat Macron, because they represent about 10% of the electorate, while the difference is close to 3%, but the alternative would be the worst option, so the outgoing president does not seem very concerned about the Muslim vote, but he fears the punitive vote.  In his election campaign, Macron did not make major concessions to Muslims, but he tried to appear as the savior of Muslims from the "bogeyman" of the extreme right, and said in his election campaign: "I want France to allow everyone the freedom of belief and worship in the shadow of secularism, and I do not want it to prevent Muslims and Jews from eating." (Halal meat) according to their beliefs, that is not one of our values.”  He said, "I will prove to them (Muslims and Jews) in the coming days that our project will meet their requirements more than any project of the extreme right-wing."  Macron also reassured Muslim women that "the issue of the veil is not an obsession", in response to Le Pen's threats to ban the veil in public places.  Did Macron resort to Algeria?  In less than 48 hours from the visit of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to Algeria and his meeting with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, the dean of the Grand Mosque of Paris, run by Algeria, called on Muslims to vote for Macron.  Le Drian's sudden and unplanned visit, which was not preceded by an agenda, came to bear in several aspects, especially since the relations between the two countries were wracked by a severe crisis, which caused Algeria to recall its ambassador from Paris, before returning him after the latter sought to calm down.  Macron is well aware of the weight of the Algerian community in France, which is estimated at 5.5 million, of whom about 1.2 million are eligible to vote.  This is evident in the angry French reaction to the statements of the Algerian ambassador, Antar Daoud, when he stated that "it is unacceptable that Algeria, which has the largest foreign community in France and 18 consulates, cannot take the reins in order to interfere not only in Algerian politics, but Also at the level of French politics.  Macron himself visited Algeria during the 2017 presidential election campaign, to obtain its support, and made his famous statement: "French colonization of Algeria is a crime against humanity."  And when the dean of the “Great Mosque of Paris” calls on Muslims to vote for Macron, this is only at the behest of Algeria, and therefore it is not excluded that there will be Algerian understandings with Macron in an undisclosed manner to support him in the elections, without it being clear what the return will be.  But Le Drian did not mention the French elections after his meeting with President Tebboune, and only indicated that he discussed several files with him, "most notably fighting terrorism and security in the Mediterranean and the African coast and supporting the political transition in Libya."  On this basis, the votes of France's Muslims are expected to go mostly to Macron, and not a small part will prefer to boycott the elections, while a small percentage will vote for Le Pen.

While Macron insists on fighting what he calls "Islamic separatism", Le Pen threatens to ban headscarves and halal slaughter, and this is the problem of French Muslims voting for the second round of presidential elections if they find themselves between bad and worse.

"Choice between bad and worse", that is the problem of French Muslims when they go to cast their votes in the second round of the presidential elections, April 24, in which President Emmanuel Macron and the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen are competing.

Macron's first presidential term witnessed unprecedented restrictions on Muslims in France, especially after issuing a law to combat so-called "Islamic separatism" and an attempt to create a "modern Islam" on the scale of "French secularism".

The French president sparked widespread anger among the Muslims of the world when he said that "Islam is experiencing a deep crisis in all countries of the world."

The Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, who is affiliated with Macron, boasts of closing 200 Islamic associations close, according to him, to "political Islam movements", according to the newspaper "L'Orient 21", similar to the Association for Combating Islamophobia, not to mention the closure of mosques.

Not to mention Macron's support for publishing offensive images of the Prophet Muhammad - peace be upon him - and considering them freedom of opinion, while Paris could not bear the Russian embassy's publication of a satirical drawing about Europe on its website, and the Russian ambassador was summoned about it, in a paradox that clearly reveals the double standards on freedom of expression.

Despite Macron's decisions to outbid the extreme right in his hostility to Muslims and immigrants, Le Pen raised the ceiling to extreme levels, when she announced during her election campaign that she would ban the wearing of headscarves in public places and impose fines on veiled women in the streets, if she reached the presidency.

The leader of the "National Rally" party considered that the veil "is a symbol of that totalitarian ideology (I mean Islam), and for this I wish to rid all women of the veil."

On the sidelines of her election campaign, a veiled French woman of Algerian origin replied: "Leave the Muslims alone."

But Le Pen is insisting on opening the files that feed the extreme right with the voices of the populists, such as preventing the slaughter of sacrifices on the Islamic way, and thus depriving Muslims of halal meat, but she proposes in return to import it from abroad.

Although Macron adopts a project in which he stresses restricting immigration and the right of asylum from outside the European Union, especially from Arab and Islamic countries, Le Pen exaggerates the call for restricting this right.

While Macron proposes facilitating the process of deporting refugees whose applications have been rejected, and reviewing the conditions for obtaining residence permits for more than 4 years, Le Pen stresses the need for these applications to be submitted from the country or country of origin at French embassies abroad before any migration.

With regard to obtaining French citizenship, Macron proposes a requirement to master the French language, while his rival is demanding the abolition of the right to land and the automatic acquisition of citizenship through marriage. It calls for the inclusion of the circumstances leading to the revocation of French citizenship in the constitution, according to the Euronews website.

Neither Macron nor Le Pen
According to the Ifop polling institute, the Muslim vote in the first round of the presidential elections held on April 10 did not go to Macron or Le Pen, but rather the radical leftist candidate defending immigrants won the lion's share with nearly 70%.

Macron received only 14% of the Muslim vote, while 7% voted for Le Pen.
Muslims represent, according to some estimates, 10% of the population of more than 67 million people, of whom 48.7 million are entitled to vote.

The participation rate in the first round of the presidential elections amounted to 73.69%, compared to 78% in the 2017 elections, which represents a decrease of more than 5 points, and it is expected that this percentage will decline in the second round, especially since the presidential battle appears to be settled for Macron, although Le Pen managed to reduce the gap between him and him. .

Macron received 27.85% of the valid votes, compared to 23.15% for Le Pen, according to the official results of the Constitutional Council.

Melenchon, who won the confidence of more than two-thirds of Muslims in France, did not announce his support for Macron, but he called for depriving Le Pen of any vote for his supporters, which is in the interest of the outgoing president, especially since the candidate who came third with more than 7 million votes did not call for a boycott of the elections.

In the nearest opinion polls published during the first round, Le Pen managed to reduce the gap between her and Macron to only 3 points (48.5% for Le Pen compared to 51.5% for Macron).

This is a very small and unprecedented difference, even though Macron enjoys the support of the majority of losing presidential candidates, the possibility of a surprise is not an impossible issue, especially if voters resort to a punitive vote against Macron, or if the proportion of boycotts was large among left and Muslim circles, in exchange for a massive mobilization of votes The far right is behind Le Pen.

The presidential battle has not been finally resolved, and Muslims can defeat Macron, because they represent about 10% of the electorate, while the difference is close to 3%, but the alternative would be the worst option, so the outgoing president does not seem very concerned about the Muslim vote, but he fears the punitive vote.

In his election campaign, Macron did not make major concessions to Muslims, but he tried to appear as the savior of Muslims from the "bogeyman" of the extreme right, and said in his election campaign: "I want France to allow everyone the freedom of belief and worship in the shadow of secularism, and I do not want it to prevent Muslims and Jews from eating." (Halal meat) according to their beliefs, that is not one of our values.”

He said, "I will prove to them (Muslims and Jews) in the coming days that our project will meet their requirements more than any project of the extreme right-wing."

Macron also reassured Muslim women that "the issue of the veil is not an obsession", in response to Le Pen's threats to ban the veil in public places.

Did Macron resort to Algeria?
In less than 48 hours from the visit of French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to Algeria and his meeting with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, the dean of the Grand Mosque of Paris, run by Algeria, called on Muslims to vote for Macron.

Le Drian's sudden and unplanned visit, which was not preceded by an agenda, came to bear in several aspects, especially since the relations between the two countries were wracked by a severe crisis, which caused Algeria to recall its ambassador from Paris, before returning him after the latter sought to calm down.

Macron is well aware of the weight of the Algerian community in France, which is estimated at 5.5 million, of whom about 1.2 million are eligible to vote.

This is evident in the angry French reaction to the statements of the Algerian ambassador, Antar Daoud, when he stated that "it is unacceptable that Algeria, which has the largest foreign community in France and 18 consulates, cannot take the reins in order to interfere not only in Algerian politics, but Also at the level of French politics.

Macron himself visited Algeria during the 2017 presidential election campaign, to obtain its support, and made his famous statement: "French colonization of Algeria is a crime against humanity."

And when the dean of the “Great Mosque of Paris” calls on Muslims to vote for Macron, this is only at the behest of Algeria, and therefore it is not excluded that there will be Algerian understandings with Macron in an undisclosed manner to support him in the elections, without it being clear what the return will be.

But Le Drian did not mention the French elections after his meeting with President Tebboune, and only indicated that he discussed several files with him, "most notably fighting terrorism and security in the Mediterranean and the African coast and supporting the political transition in Libya."

On this basis, the votes of France's Muslims are expected to go mostly to Macron, and not a small part will prefer to boycott the elections, while a small percentage will vote for Le Pen.
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