French liberals are appalled at debate over national identity

Of course they are, why draw even more attention to Muslims who are trying to create an Islamic state in their country? They would just as soon bow down to Allah rather than be seen as nationalistic.

Half of French adults want a temporary or permanent halt to the controversial nationwide debate on national identity, according to a poll published Monday in the daily Le Parisien. In the poll, taken by the CSA Institute, 29 per cent of respondents said they wanted a permanent cessation of the debate while 21 per cent called for a temporary suspension.

Other polls have shown that a majority of the French believe that the debate – which was launched by Immigration Minister Eric Besson at the request of President Nicolas Sarkozy – was merely a political ploy to draw away voters from the anti-immigration National Front ahead of March’s important regional elections.

As recently as November, a substantial majority of the French adults contacted by CSA said the debate was ‘a good thing.’ But since then the event has turned into an acrimonious exchange of often violent opinions on immigration and especially Islam.

The recent Swiss vote to ban minarets sharpened the tone of the debate, as did controversial comments on French Muslims by Junior Minister for Families Nadine Morano and a conservative mayor, who told France 2 television that the French would ‘be eaten up’ by immigrants.

In addition, a government website dedicated to the debate was flooded by thousands of flagrantly racist and xenophobic statements. On Monday, the human rights NGO SOS Racism launched a petition asking for signatures in favour of halting the debate. ‘For several weeks, the debates on national identity have seemed like liberated zones for racist declarations that have called into question … the legitimacy of the presence of our national soil of entire categories of the population,’ the group said.

‘The question ‘What is it to be French’ is not really relevant. We know the answer,’ he said, adding that ‘anything that pits one community against another, especially Muslims against the others, is detestable. (NO, it’s a very good thing) LINK

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