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French immigrants, leftists and centrists are concerned that the far right could win the second round of parliamentary elections next Sunday, after winning the first round.

Marine Le Pen’s National Rally won a resounding victory in the first round last Sunday, while President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party came in third, behind the leftist New Popular Front coalition.

The French right has a long history of racist, anti-Islam, anti-Semitic and anti-minority statements and positions in general.

The National Rally, formerly known as the National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, is the right-wing party with the most history of racially motivated positions and statements, according to French analyst Françoise Gerry, former president of the French Institute for Strategic Analysis.

Although the party has distanced itself from that past, some core philosophies remain entrenched in its policies: such as the idea that immigrants pose a threat to France’s security, economy and national identity.

Among the party’s plans are to abolish the automatic right to French citizenship at age 18 for children born in France to non-French parents; end free medical care for undocumented people, except in emergencies; and restrict citizens with second passports from taking up jobs deemed sensitive, such as running a nuclear plant and working in “strategic” defense.

The party wants according to what Stated His spokesman, Jordan Bardel, who could become France’s prime minister if the National Rally wins the second round, said he would “ban convicted criminals from living in public housing and cut the country’s sales tax on all forms of energy, from fuel to electricity.”

HistoricallyThe National Front was the heir to a faction of far-right nationalism, dating back to the royalist-republican split in post-revolutionary France, which had its roots in the alliance between royalists, conservative Catholics, and nationalists, and which was largely saturated with nationalist ideas by the far-right movements of the twentieth century.

Marine Le Pen “inherited” the leadership of the party from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was known for his strong hostility to immigrants, Muslims and Jews. Observers say that the only difference between them is her ability to hide her true positions towards Jews and Muslims for fear of being described as extremist like her father, but she was unable to hide her “strong tendencies” according to several Analytics.

“abnormal situations”

In an interview with Alhurra, Jerry said that Muslims, Jews, and even Africans, the children of immigrants, still remember the racist statements of Le Pen, the founder of the party, and his “deviant” political positions.

Le Pen has always refused to criticize the Vichy French government, which was pro-German during its occupation of parts of France during World War II.

In his memoirs, “Fils de la Nation,” Le Pen Sr. said that Philippe Pétain, France’s wartime leader, did not disgrace himself by signing the 1940 armistice that allowed Nazi forces to occupy the north of the country.

It is noteworthy that when the Nazis occupied northern France, including Paris, the Vichy government cooperated with their campaign against Jews.

For her part, despite being “more committed to public taste than Le Pen Sr.”, according to Jerry, Marine Le Pen has previously made statements hostile to Islam, Muslims, and African immigrants.

“What does the hijab do in politics?”

The Islamic veil was at the forefront of Marine Le Pen’s campaign in the 2022 French presidential elections, in which she participated, when she announced her intention to ban it completely, even though her country has the largest number of Muslims in Western Europe.

In 2022, I faced Le Penwomen wearing the hijab and asked them, “What does the hijab have to do with politics?” denouncing the talk of Islamic dress in a secular state.

Although President Emmanuel Macron won the election, he has also worked to tighten the noose on Muslims, according to several migrants.

“Racism…a currency of exchange”

Hajar, who preferred to use only her first name, said in a phone call with Alhurra that she is upset with the French government’s policy towards Muslims in particular.

She said, “I studied in Algeria, and I have an equivalency for my degree, but the policy of banning the hijab in public institutions forces me not to work and to surrender to reality at the expense of my ambition.”

For his part, Abdel Raouf, an Algerian who immigrated to France a decade ago, says he has not achieved anything in “a country that claims to respect human rights.”

In a phone call with Alhurra, Abdul Raouf said that despite being a legal immigrant and having obtained a degree from the University of Lyon in France, he did not obtain any job in his field of expertise.

“Racism is a currency here. When the owner of the institution reads your name, he immediately rejects your CV,” he said.

In response to his vision of the National Rally’s victory, he said, “I think things will get worse, especially for illegal immigrants.”

For his part, political analyst Alaa Eddine Bounjar, who resides in France, believes that immigrants in France, especially those who belong to the Muslim community, have been living with the fear of growing hostility towards immigrants and Muslims for several years.

In an interview with Alhurra, the man stressed that the rise of the far right is “the result of a situation that has been ongoing for some time” characterized by tolerance of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim rhetoric.

He explained that France has witnessed a remarkable change in political discourse, as “the official in the right-wing party used to make any offensive statements secretly, but the situation has changed and many people are now making statements hostile to minorities publicly, taking advantage of the media’s openness to their speeches.”

In the midst of the parliamentary elections, the newspaper revealed:Media Part“About a series of racist posts and tweets issued by far-right candidates.

The investigative newspaper found 45 National Front candidates who had made racist or anti-Semitic statements online.

Examples of such tweets include what Toni Biot, a National Front candidate in Finistère, wrote about the teenager Naïl (17 years old), an Algerian who was killed by police while driving his car for disobeying orders in June 2023, saying with a touch of sarcasm: “A child? A scoundrel! Scum! You refused to obey, don’t complain.”

Perhaps the most controversial and widely criticized tweet was that of Joseph Martin, a candidate in Morbihan, who wrote on October 22, 2018 on Twitter: “Gas has brought justice to the victims of the Holocaust.”

In addition, the newspaper said:Liberation“The candidate for the 10th district of Paris, Agnès Bajar, regularly targets figures of the Jewish faith in Her messages On social media. Referring to a controversial tweet in January 2022, in which she wrote that she despises figures, most of whom are Jewish.

Is fear justified?

In his reading of the French scene, which is tense these days due to the far right’s proximity to obtaining a large share of the seats in the National Assembly, Françoise Géry said that “there is already a 90 percent chance that the National Front will win again in the second round.”

“The nationalist Reconcat party will undoubtedly support the National Front, and together they form the most extreme front on the French right,” he added.

“Minorities like Muslims, Jews and Africans have a right to fear for their future,” he continued.

The word “reconquête” in French means “to restore”.

Jerry returned to say, “France is a country of institutions and this extremist alliance cannot do what it wants in our country,” adding that Marine Le Pen, who aspires to one day become President of France, has learned from her father’s previous experiences and even her own experiences, which have made her more pragmatic.

“Le Pen will not implement everything she says. She cannot expel all Muslims or deprive dual nationals of positions of responsibility, as members of her party have threatened,” he concluded.

“We are not racists”

In contrast, the candidate for the Reconnect party, John Messiah, said that the political formation to which he belongs “is not racist, and does not discriminate between people on the basis of religion, race or colour.”

“We ask immigrants or citizens to respect only the customs and traditions of France,” he added.

In an interview with Alhurra, he pointed out that the French people expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation in the European elections by electing right-wing parties, and expressed their refusal to tolerate those who tamper with their identity, history and roots. He said, “There are ideologies that want to change the face of France, such as Islamist associations that are trying to impose Arab-Islamic culture on the French people.”

“We reject the generalization of the veil, for example, and the demands to build more mosques,” he said, explaining that France, which receives about half a million regular and irregular immigrants every year, according to his estimate, is now suffering from an economic and cultural burden. “The state can integrate individuals, but it cannot integrate entire peoples,” he added.

Masiha also pointed out that after the Arab Spring revolutions, supporters of the Brotherhood movement fled to Europe, especially France, and they now want to subject French Muslims to their ideology and then control the state with the help of the leftists.

The state can integrate individuals but it cannot integrate entire peoples.

Messiah mentioned the incident of an Afghan killing two Algerians in Bordeaux (southwest France) during the Eid al-Adha holiday, claiming that they were drunk on the day of the holiday. He said, “The plan of these Islamists is to control the Muslims of France and then control the state,” adding, “We will not allow them to do that.” He continued, “We are a legal nationalist movement. Those who respect the law should not be afraid.”

It is noteworthy that the rise of the far right has not only raised concerns among the Muslim and Jewish communities, but even state officials, led by President Macron, have urged voters to participate more in the second round to overturn last Sunday’s result.

Macron warned last Monday that a victory by the far right or even the far left could ignite “civil war“, he said.

For his part, French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal urged voters not to give the far right even “a single vote” in the second round, saying that “the far right is at the gates of power,” warning that the party could achieve an absolute majority. He added, “Our goal is clear: to prevent the National Rally from winning the second round. Not a single vote should go to the National Rally.”

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