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France: Dispute over politician with hijab


Is the election campaign wearing a headscarf against the values ​​of the republic? In France right-wing nationalists are again raising the mood against Muslims. A young politician in Macron's party continues to wear a hijab.

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The 26-year-old Sara Zemmahi is campaigning in Montpellier in the south of France - and that with her hijab.

Many low-income Muslim immigrants live here in the La Mosson district.

Zemmahi already wore the headscarf in a photo in the advertising flyer alongside three other candidates for President Macron's La République en Marche party.

This sparked a new debate about identity in France.

Sara Zemmahi, politician: “It wasn't an issue for the four of us.

We didn't wonder if I should wear a hijab or not.

We are here for the campaign “Different but together for you”.

I am not the spokesperson for a religious cause. "

Jordan Bardella, the vice of right-wing nationalist Marine Le Pen, provoked a month ago with a tweet.

In it he took up the photo of Zemmahi with the accusation that Macron's party was not doing enough against Islamic separatists and for the secular values ​​of the nation.

Macron's République en Marche responded shortly afterwards with a tweet from Party Secretary-General Stanislas Guerini: Although wearing a headscarf during an election campaign does not violate French law, Zemmahi and her colleagues have had their support for the party withdrawn.

Roland Lescure, party spokesman for La République en Marche:

“The moment you show a religious symbol on a campaign poster, be it a kippah, cross or veil, it becomes a political act. Religious belief is displayed on political material.

I prefer our candidates and elected representatives to address all citizens. "

Macron's party is split on the issue.

Sara Zemmahi's campaign colleague Mahfoud Benali, who is running on the list, stands behind her.

The campaign photo would reflect local demographics.

Mahfoud Benali, politician: »The republic stands for female emancipation and we have to stop choosing women.

Sara is a free woman, she can do what she wants in her life. "

Sara Zemmahi doesn't want to give up.

She and her three colleagues in the photo are now running independently of Macron's party in Montpellier.

Zemmahi is now betting on the regional elections on June 20.

After all, she was born in her neighborhood and is hoping for local support.

Sara Zemmahi, politician: »I want to help young people with their school career.

And I fight against all forms of discrimination, for equal rights for everyone.

Everyone should have the opportunity to do what they want. "

Muslims form the second largest religious group in France after the Catholics. Proponents of a strict separation of church and state see the headscarf as a symbol of the politicization of Islam and the submission of French identity - an issue that could be central in the election campaign for the presidential elections next year. Because: The right-wing nationalist Le Pen will again be Macron's strongest opponent.

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2021-06-14

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