International columnist, political analyst and senior journalist Ahmed Mohiuddin Siddiqui’s articles are published across Asia, Africa and Europe. He writes for The Moroccan Times, The Tunis Times, India Tomorrow, Kohram News, The Etemaad Urdu Daily and for news papers published from Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. You can follow him on Twitter at: @journopolana[/symple_box]
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman—Empty vessels make much noise goes the saying in English. The vessel in question here is Richard Chardon who has an insane and bigoted mind. The mayor of a small town Venelles in southern France Richard was moved to a “psychiatric ward in a hospital” after he called for a ban on Islam. Former president Nicholas Sarkozy of the opposition centre-right party UMP condemned the call and immediately distanced himself from the absurd comments of Richard Chardon. Sarkozy said,‘‘ I condemn the proposal even if secularism also means fixing limits. Rights and limits go together.’’
Sarkozy had started a discussion on the social media with the hashtag #NS Direct. His party colleague Richard Chardon misued this opportunity to tweet: ‘We must ban the Muslim faith in France.’ He also claimed that Islam will be banned in France on 18th October 2027. He opined that ‘We also need a Marshall plan to send Muslims to countries where the religion is practiced.’ Richard Chardon sent these tweets to Nicholas Sarkozy and also expected Sarkozy to reply to these tweets. Under the French law, expressing sentiments that offend Muslims and Islam is against law. Richard is liable for criminal prosecution for making these outrageous remarks.
UMP party vice president Nathalie Kosciuko-Morizet announced that the UMP party was suspending Chardon, pending a procedure to remove him from the party. It is not the first time that some French people have chosen to attack Islam. Sometimes, it is in the form of so-called freedom of expression to draw offending cartoons of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) of Islam. When Charlie Hebdo provocation takes a back seat, there are mentally deranged politicians who wish to seek short-lived fame by abusing the religion of peace.
French Muslims have not taken kindly to the crazy rantings of Richard. Mehdi Meftah, founder of Parti des Indigenes de la Republique (PIR) called the mad mayor’s comments as ‘absurd.’ PIR is a political party representing the interests of people from many of France’s predominantly Muslim former colonies in Africa and elsewhere. Mehdi observed, ‘The comments show that French Muslims have developed enough political power to fluster their adversaries. We are more and more visible. We have our visions of what France should be.’ He is confident that the PIR can push back what he calls the ‘white political establishment.’
Though France claims itself to be a secular nation and has laws against racist speeches, the laws are not applied in reality. Last Friday, a United Nations panel in Geneva criticized France for growing hate speeches and in particular, racism against the nation’s Roma, who have suffered violent hate crimes. French imperial history is witness to Muslim genocides. France has killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims in the countries that were occupied forcibly during the dark inked colonization era.
It may be recalled that former president Nicholas Sarkozy had reacted in disgust on a radio programme in which a white French lady had said that she is Muslim. The Moroccan Times had carried a television grab of Sarkozy’s reaction. It is not out of love for Islam and Muslims that Sarkozy has condemned Richard Chardon’s comments. Sarkozy seems to be concerned about the political fallout on the 2017 French presidential elections for which he will be a likely candidate again. He does not want to forego the Muslim votes. Meanwhile, the Mad Mayor Richard has been moved to a psychiatric ward in a hospital. Richard is making plans to contest the next presidential elections in 2017. It is hoped that the ‘electric shocks’ at the hospital will reduce Richard Chardon’s nuisance value for ‘political shocks.’ France will be better off without politicians who have no sense of balance.