(Zaman Al Wasl)- As the fire of the Coronavirus spreads in France, placing her among the highest countries in the world in terms of injuries and deaths, the populist right chose to ignite a fire of another kind, introducing to the scene its favorite card of Islamophobia, to reinforce and boost the firm opinion that already exists among the ranks of this right wing, and that holds that Islam and Muslims pose an existential danger to the French Republic and its values.
Along the same line, the leader of the hardline National Rally Party, Marine Le Pen, addressed an open letter to the Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castania, in which she accuses several mosques of "exploiting" the imposed confinement to raise the call to prayer in public, while the authorities are busy implementing ban orders.
In a tone that is not alien to her and to the diction of her extremist party, Le Pen called on the Minister of the Interior to prevent these acts, which she considers as "noisy", and which represent an "illegal encroachment on the public space". She goes on to add that these calls to prayer embody "a rejection of the principles of secularismand a challenge to the republican state."
Le Pen also considered lifting the call to prayer in some mosques as a provocation, accusing the Ministry of Interior and the Conservatives of "dubious" silence, and denouncing their unresponsiveness. She also warns that allowing the call to prayer would, in the future, put France in situations which are hard to control.
Le Pen based her letter on the case of mosques in the city of Lyon" and in Valente located in the far east of France near the Swiss border, but it became clear, later on, that the bearer of the far-right brigade relied on a misleading account of Valentin City in particular.
According to what the French media reported, Le Pen received a three-dimensional response, from the Minister of the Interior, the Mayor of the city of Valente and finally from the President of the French Council for Islamic Religion, when the minister affirmed that the rolling clip to raise the call to prayer was only photoshopped and deliberately edited, putting the sound of the call to prayer with an image of a mosque in the concerned city.
The mayor of Valentine’s response was stricter and more ruthless stressing that he did not raise any call to prayer from any mosque in the city (which has only two mosques). Addressing Le Pen, he says: “You have to learn how to respect boundaries, and how not to rub salt in the wound... this is foolishness”, calling to put a stop to, in his terms, "supporters of hatred and division". As for the head of the French Council for Islamic Religion, "Mohamed Moussaoui”, he affirmed that the video to which Le Pen was pointing is a misleading video, in which the sound of the call to prayer came from a mobile device and was deliberately added to the image of a mosque in "Valentine".
Moussaoui firmly denounced the nonsensical and incomprehensible political campaign that Le Pen was, again, trying to launch against the Muslims of France.
It is striking that the response of the Minister of the Interior Castagnet, which was revealed by the AFP, exposed Le Pen for its false allegations, only in a polite manner this time. The minister affirmed that all mosques are closed because of the ban, and that what happened in the city of Lyon was a consoling gesture in coordination with Churches, on the occasion of the so-called "Annunciation", as part of a broader initiative launched by the Conference of the Bishops of France, which was only set in solidarity with the current circumstances, and which consisted in ringing the bells of all the churches of the country simultaneously for 10 minutes.
Zaman Al Wasl
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