French Muslims mobilize to punish Sarkozy in Presidential Election

The Muslim community in France is reportedly mobilizing voters to punish President Nicolas Sarkozy in Sunday’s presidential election.

French Muslims, estimated at more than six million, are fed up with Sarkozy’s anti-immigrant and anti-Islam policies. 

A sociologist with the Institute of Studies on the Arab and Muslim World has told the US daily that French Muslims are tired of debates about national identity, the Islamic veil or fundamentalism. 

“[French] Muslims can’t stand it anymore. They are fed up with these debates about national identity, halal meat, the veil or fundamentalism all over the place,” said Francoise Lorcerie, The Washington Times newspaper said in a report. 

“The terms [Islam, immigration and fundamentalism] are being used interchangeably, without care, with people being targeted, denigrated and used for [votes],” Lorcerie added. 

According to polls, front runner Socialist and Left Radical Party candidate Francois Hollande is ahead of the incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy — whose approval rating has diminished remarkably in the past months– and is likely to win the run-off vote. 

If Sarkozy is defeated in the election he will be the first one-term French president since 1981. 

The recent shooting of a Jewish rabbi and three children in Toulouse which led to the arrest of a number of Muslims further ignited the anti-Muslim campaign in France. 

Sarkozy’s opponents believe that the shooting was set up as a scenario for him to win Jewish votes. 

Facing a decline in his popularity, Sarkozy has tried to use various techniques, including playing even religious cards, as in the case of Toulouse shootings, in order to win the voters ballots. 

The fact that Merah –the Toulouse shooter– was cooperating closely with the French Intelligence Service in Afghanistan and Iraq, has raised doubts whether the incident was stage managed by Sarkozy to garner the Jewish votes. But, now Sarkozy has failed to achieve his objectives. 

There is doubt that whether Merad killed himself or was killed during the police raid. 

This comes as the Muslim community of France which constitutes around ten percent of the country’s eligible voters and is considered to be capable of playing a kingmaker role, is infuriated over Sarkozy’s anti-immigration and anti-Islam stances and rhetoric.