The Maneuvers of the Far-Right Are a Great Threat to France’s Diversity and Inclusion

The first week of July saw French politics take a flabbergasting turn with Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (RN) securing a majority in the first round of Macron’s arbitrary snap-elections. During her address to the party’s supporters, following the first round of elections, Le Pen called upon the people to vote for her party – the translated transcript of her speech in the video posted by France24 read “I would like to call on you to join us on Sunday. Join the coalition for safety, for freedom and for liberty…” There has been a sudden surge in the far-right bloc, not only in France but across the European Union (EU). With Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Slovakia undergoing the hegemonizing influence of the right wing, France has seen an exceptional voter turnout inclined towards Le Pen’s far-right party. 

Lately, the center-left tradition of the European parliament has relocated to the far-right and the center-right with EPP (European People’s Party) outshining other blocs at the exit polls. As far as the speculations suggest, the modalities with which the extremist forces have aimed to intensify their nationalist political agenda have, in turn, blighted the European liberal culture and ethnicities. Particularly in France, the rise of Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) has wreaked havoc amidst the minority Muslim community whose livelihood and culture seem to be constantly under surveillance.

Whilst the take-over by an extreme-rightist may bring in questions of an efficient framing of foreign and trade policies overridden by domestic problem-solving, it seems this problem-solving will afflict the very ethnic and religious intersectionalities that exist in France. By all means, it is not to point out that the National Rally (RN) is solely responsible for this unpalatable revolution when, as unreasonable as it may sound, Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron’s unwonted agenda to “protect” the vulnerable Muslim communities introduced ethnic codes for them to follow.

How has France been treating its minority Muslim citizens?

As the National Rally secured 33 per cent votes in the first phase of elections, this marked the political fallout of Macron’s centrist party at 16 per cent, the centrist and leftist forces are gathering to spurn this polling upshot. Part of the reason is the radical party’s advocacy of anti-immigration rights that has made the Muslims and the Jews devoid of trusted citizenship with undercurrents of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. In a recent statement that reflected xenophobia and outright racism, the President of National Rally (RN) Jordan Bardella sharply repudiated the free healthcare services offered to foreigners and promised to bar dual citizens from taking up certain state jobs.

However, such extremist dictates do not justify the clean slates of the centrist alliance. In the past years, the ban on abaya, and hijab in state schools – referring to them as spiteful religious symbols – reflects the anti-cultural gendered mentality of the French government, probing instances of policing Muslim women’s bodies. If the government lays its faith in separating religion from state, isn’t the very act of scripting cultural norms for the Muslim residents provoking communalism in the name of secularism? 

The French government, clearing its name from alleged claims of deliberately targeting Muslims, believes in the contrary – it is France’s Muslim communities that strive for Islamist separatism. In 2021, Macron’s government issued a draft legislation based on the ‘neutrality principle’ that explicitly targeted France’s largest Muslim population in Europe into prodding them to live the “French way”, as should be practised by “immigrants” in a “foreign” country. Amidst the race to justify their objectives, both the centrist and the far-right blocs have been toying with the identity of the marginalised while insinuating the bigger impression of reviving nationalism in the country. 

A multitude of Muslims voicing their concerns about the resurgence of ethnic and religious discrimination against their minority community hints at ghettoising the Islamic community, prompting Muslims to emigrate in the face of more Islamophobic bills being passed. Isn’t this kind of treatment – taking a dig at the so-called minority “toxic culture” to promote a nationwide celebrated culture, instrumental in fabricating a one-sided “favoured” secularism?

Does the global terror of Islam influence the far-right blocs to ostracise members of these communities, or is the government devising new ways of building a singular European life? While the terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 cannot be overlooked, on the contrary, impinging upon the basic socio-cultural rights of a group of people whom a country has been housing for years does not justify if France is truly aiming for a politically and ethically secured community for all. 

[Image credit: Marine Le Pen / Twitter]

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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