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Why French left has a problem with Islamophobia

30 103 0
16.11.2019

On November 10, thousands marched through the streets of Paris to condemn Islamophobia. The demonstration was organised by a number of French left-wing organisations and personalities after a mosque was attacked in Bayonne, a small town 700 kilometres south of the French capital, last month.

On November 1, the left-leaning newspaper, Liberation, published an open letter signed by a number of prominent leftists calling for a united front against Islamophobia. But there were some notable absences in the list of signatories and on the march.

Although MPs from the radical left party La France Insoumise (LFI) had originally committed themselves to the march, as the event drew closer, several senior figures distanced themselves from it, including Francois Ruffin who explained that he was going to play football instead. Some signatories, such as the Green (EELV) MEP Yannick Jadot also pulled out, while the Socialist Party (PS) argued that it could not support a text that denounced secular laws.

In the end, the only nationally-recognisable politician to attend the November 10 march was LFI's leader Jean-Luc Melenchon. Meanwhile, parties across the political spectrum attacked the event, with the spokeswoman for President Emmanuel Macron's party En Marche deriding it as a march in favour of political Islam.

So why is anti-Islamophobia action causing such division among French leftists?

The French left has always had a difficult relationship with religion. For much of modern French history, it was the left that led the charge against the Catholic Church, as they sought to limit its influence........

© Al Jazeera