FRANCE ‘Pastrygate,’ or why another anti-Islam politician is angering Muslims and gaining popular support

A French pastry, the Muslim month of Ramadan, and a controversial French MP seeking to become head of the UMP party have combined to create a media storm in France, leaving the country’s volatile Muslim community outraged. AGAIN!

France.24  Jean Francois Copé, who is bidding to become leader of the centre right UMP party, a position once held by Sarkozy, showed on Friday that he is not afraid to court controversy. First he lambasted “anti-white racism”, now an outspoken right-wing French politician has set his sights on the Muslim community as he seeks to become UMP party leader.

Jean Francois Copé

“I can understand the exasperation of some of our compatriots when there are some neighborhoods where a mother or father will come home from work in the evening to learn their son has had his chocolate pastry snatched out of his hand by MUSLIM thugs, telling him it is forbidden to eat during Ramadan,” he said.

At a meeting in the southern town of Draguignan, Copé lamented the state of some neighborhoods in France’s cities, and in doing so launched a thinly veiled snipe at Islam.

The story was seized upon by the French media. Copé’s inflammatory comments come not long after he was accused of stirring up tensions, when he expressed his dismay over the growing “anti-white racism” in France’s cities. On both occasions the brazen Copé was accused of trying to court the far right vote in his bid to beat rival François Fillon to become head of the UMP in next month’s election.

Copé, who has published a new book entitled “Manifeste pour une droite decomplexée” roughly translated as “A manifesto for an unabashed right-wing”,  says he was simply describing “an everyday scene” and claimed that this type of behaviour was motivated by a Muslim desire “to manipulate religion” for their own ends. An excerpt from his controversial new book says: 

 There are certain (Muslim) districts in our towns, where individuals – some of which hold French nationality – despise French people who qualify as Gallic, under the pretext that they don’t share the same religion, don’t have the same skin colour, or the same origins.

But his words have provoked an angry backlash on social media and on the air waves. Speaking to French radio station RTL, government spokeswoman Najat Belkacem-Vallaud said: “It is clear Jean-Francois Copé is trying to exploit a subject that is far too important to be exploited, which is the question of living together.

Leaders of France’s Muslim community also slammed Copé for his remarks. “These types of accusations are easy to make,” said Abdallah Zekri, president of the French Observatory against Islamophobia. “He wants to please the extremists majority of French citizens, who are fed up with the Muslim scourge, in his party and l he attacks Muslims and young people”.

Not just France, in Australia, an 11-year-old  non-Muslim boy was bullied by Muslim students at his Sydney school for eating a salami sandwich during Ramadan.