Wednesday, December 16, 2009

French official assailed over remarks

A French Official Is Assailed Over Remarks About Muslims
By Reuters

PARIS (Reuters) — A junior French minister has told young Muslims living in France that they should dress properly, find a job and stop speaking slang. The remarks by the minister for families, Nadine Morano, were condemned by opposition politicians from the left, who called the comments racist.

There are few charges that carry the weight of calling someone a racist. Right wing nuts tried it here in the US after President Obama's election, and even during the campaign

Ms. Morano, who is often outspoken, is a member of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s inner circle. She made the remarks on Monday evening in a small town in eastern France during a government-inspired debate on national identity. “We are not putting young Muslims on trial,” she said in a recording of the debate that was played on French radio. “I respect their situation. What I want is for them to feel French because they are French.”

The melting pot myth is charged with explosiveness.

Ms. Morano added, “I want them to love France when they live here, to find work and not to speak in slang. They shouldn’t put their caps on back to front.”

Try that here in America: I could tell whom was from the US on Mexican beaches easily, the cap backwards making it easier.

The comments tapped into stereotypical perceptions of youths from tough suburbs on the fringes of France’s big cities, many of whom are from immigrant backgrounds. On the other hand, wearing baggy trousers and caps backward and speaking a distinctive form of slang known as “verlan,” while once associated with young people from the French suburbs, have long since spread to high schools throughout the country and to youths of all backgrounds.

How interesting: it started in the suburbs (inherited from the US hip hop scene, and videos, I'm quite sure.

Socialist politicians and groups that combat racism accused Ms. Morano of stoking racial tensions. They also said that the government should abandon its series of national identity debates, out of concern that they could incite a violent backlash.

“This is a political operation designed to pit French people against each another and to create a war of culture and identity,” said Arnaud Montebourg, a Socialist member of Parliament.

What a bunch of mérde.

Ms. Morano’s office said her words had been taken out of context. About five million Muslims live in France, with many people having come from former French colonies in North and West Africa. Mr. Sarkozy’s government has tightly linked the issues of immigration and integration and began a national identity debate last month, playing on a theme that had served him well when he ran for president in 2007.

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