Paris, 28 Rajab 1436/17 May 2015 (MINA) – A French mayor, who claimed that Islam will be banned from the country by 2027, is facing expulsion from France’s main opposition conservative party after rightists rejected his calls as unacceptable.
“I have called for the expulsion procedure to be started for these absurd statements that in no way reflect the values and program of the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP),” the party’s vice-president Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said, On Islam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
The controversy erupted after Robert Chardon, mayor of the southern town of Venelles, tweeted multiple times on Thursday, May 14, that the religion of Islam will be banned in France on Oct. 18, 2027.
Anyone practicing the religion should be immediately escorted to the border, he added.
Chardon’s offensive tweets were widely condemned by conservatives, including former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
“I condemn this proposal even if secularism also means fixing limits,” he tweeted, RFI reported.
“Rights and limits go together.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the center-right UMP confirmed plans to expel the anti-Islam mayor.
“We condemn this but have yet to issue a formal comment on the issue,” UMP spokesman Pierre-Albert Mazars told Al Jazeera.
“We have begun procedures to look into removing Chardon from the Party.”
Besides calls to ban Islam, the country’s second largest religion, Chardon called for abolishing France’s law on secularism and amending the constitution to stipulate that “the republic favors the practice of the Christian faith”.
France is home to a Muslim minority of seven million, Europe’s largest.
Condemning calls to outlaw Islam, Parti des Indigènes de la République (PIR), a political party representing the interests of Muslims, described the calls as absurd.
For the founder of the party, such calls prove that Muslims are gaining ground in France.
“We are interpreting this as a great thing,” Mehdi Meftah, PIR founder, commented on the mayor’s calls.
“We, French Muslims are more and more visible. We have our mobilizations. We have our visions of what France should be.”
French politicians “see Muslims as a threat,” Meftah said, a sign that French Muslims are gaining power as a political entity.
Meftah also said that Chardon’s tweets reveal that French politics are in a state of disarray.
“We are here for good,” he said,
“Nothing will change that reality, except for genocide or something to that effect.”
In April, the National Observatory Against Islamophobia warned of an unprecedented increase in Islamophobic attacks in France during the first three months of 2015, rising by six-fold than in 2014.
Islamophobic actions soared by 500% compared to the same period in 2011, according to the observatory.
The situation for French Muslims has been deteriorating recently, especially after Paris attacks killed 17 civilians.
Following the attacks, the National Observatory Against Islamophobia said over 100 incidents have been reported to the police since the Charlie Hebdo attacks of January 7-9.
The observatory also noted that more than 222 separate acts of anti-Muslim behavior were recorded in the first month after the January attacks. (T/P006/RO4)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)