Party advocates deporting immigrants from France

Paris- France (PANA) -- Le Monde, a French daily, reported Monday that the National Republican Movement (MNR), a French extremist party, has proposed the expulsion from France of all Muslim immigrants.
"It's high time that everybody understood that our country is infiltrated by a fifth Islamic column, that today the danger comes as well from Kabul as from Mantes-la-Jolie, that our cities have become time bombs like those in Palestine and that the attacks on the Pentagon are the same as those perpetuated in our suburbs", MNR president Bruno Megret said Sunday.
He characterised the presence of immigrants on French soil as a "foreign occupation" and warned against the dangers of "the Arab-Islamic civilisation".
"The clash of civilisations is not over, for Islam is waking up today with a new demographic, political and religious vitality.
It launches its offensive in a bloody and dramatic way", Megret said, adding that in a confrontation opposing a European nation and an Islamic faction, his party's choice is clear.
The comments have brought widespread condemnation from both local politicians and the civil society.
"Small political groups like MNR, through irresponsible comments, can stir up racial and religious hatred," Pierre- Philippe Rey, a specialist in Islamic studies at the University of Paris VIII, told PANA in an interview.
The academic said the MNR president's speech amplified the problems of the Arab-Muslim community of France.
Since the attacks on New York and Washington, the Arab-Community's image has suffered from lumping Islam and terrorism as one and the same, he said.
Many of the country's local leaders like mayors have expressed concern about the consequences of the MNR stance on their efforts to prevent hostile reaction from the French population towards Muslim immigrants in the country.
Immigrants and Muslim organisations have also strongly condemned "this real incitement to racial hatred, xenophobia, and discrimination".
"The position of the MNR is a serious menace to national cohesion.
That's why I urge authorities to condemn it", said Assani Fassassi, spokesman of the federation of the Islamic Associations of the Comoros and Africa (FAICA).
Many immigrants joined the chorus, emphasising their contribution to the prosperity of France.
They recalled that in the 1960's and 1970's, the French economy relied on foreign manpower when it faced a shortage of labour.
"These immigrants that MNR is trying to condemn today were in the past the restarting engine of the French economy", said Jaffar Issa from the centre of environment resources and durable development and economic intelligence (CREDDIE).
MNR was started in 1999 from a split of the white supremacist National Front party of Jean-Marie le Pen, whom Bruno Megret was the principal lieutenant for many years.

01 october 2001 23:31:00

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