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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 4, 2011 / 29 Adar II, 5771

France's Sarkozy faces rifts on Islam debate

By Robert Marquand






JewishWorldReview.com |

cARIS — (TCSM) French President Nicolas Sarkozy, an early and strong voice for intervention in Libya, is striding tall as a world leader.

But at home his position is less commanding as he faces open dissent in his party over the merits of holding a debate tomorrow on secularism and Islam in this nation that strictly prohibits religious talk or religious symbols in state affairs.

The debate follows speeches elsewhere in Europe on the "failure" of multiculturalism by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as President Sarkozy — speeches specifically aimed at Muslim integration.

But now the French president's political allies, among others, are shaking their heads over tomorrow's event. Prime Minister Francois Fillon says he will not participate. An open letter this week from 12 leaders of France's main religious groups called the event mistimed, confusing, and bound to "stigmatize the nation's Muslim community." They questioned the appropriateness of a political party using the state apparatus to hold a debate on religious identity.

Sarkozy insists on forging ahead, though his United Popular Movement (UMP) has not yet announced specifics for the debate.

Like his counterparts elsewhere in Europe, Sarkozy is picking up on mainstream concern about a growing Muslim presence. But he is more precisely concerned with the growing popularity of far-right leader Marine Le Pen, analysts say. Ms. Le Pen hit the airwaves in December with high-voltage criticism of Muslims who, when their mosques spill over on Fridays, "occupy public space" in praying on the street. She compared it to the Nazi occupation.

A likely challenger to Sarkozy in the 2012 presidential election, Le Pen recently rebranded Europe's leading far-right party, the National Front, founded by her father, making it less hostile toward Jews and gays and more focused on Muslims and immigrants. Her National Front routed the UMP in local elections March 27.

SARKOZY FACES INTERNAL DISSENT
That outcome, along with the failure of a Sarkozy-led national discussion in 2009 on "French identity," widely seen as code for a discussion about Islam, has led many in Sarkozy's party to say the debate idea either isn't proper or isn't working politically.

This moment pits two wings of the Palace against each other. One side is championed by the party Secretary General Jean-Francois Cope, a rising figure who engineered France's ban on publicly wearing the Muslim niqab, or full-face coverings. He argues for a fight on Le Pen's far-right ground to show voters the president is listening.


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Another wing, which includes the prime minister, says the French center-right must stick to its own mainstream values and not tread the extremes. "We should put an end to these debates," said party stalwart Francois Barouin, who also happens to be the government spokesman.

On March 11, Sarkozy sacked the Palace "diversity adviser" for criticizing the debate, but the dissension has now gone past that kind of reprimand.

For now, Sarkozy is listening to Mr. Cope. As the debate over the debate began to melt the UMP's reactor core, Cope published a letter "to a Muslim friend" (not an actual person), calling for Muslims to rally with Sarkozy's UMP against Le Pen's National Front.

"You are always the first one to tell me: the practice of Islam in a secular republic cannot condone the burqa, nor the prayers in the street, nor the rejection of gender equality," he wrote, continuing: "The National Front and the Islamists relish our divisions. They arouse them because they live off them. With this letter, I wish to tell you that we can stop them."

DEBATING THE DEBATE
Meanwhile, the actual debate on secularism and Islam almost seems an afterthought. Essentially it hinges on the nation's famed laicite, or laws forbidding religious expression in public life, that date to a 1905 decree designed to limit the influence of the Roman Catholic Church but that applies to all faiths.

The UMP debate would examine whether the state should help fund mosques or play a role in the training and certification of imams, for example, on the argument that the religious demography of France, which today has some 6 million Muslims, is more diverse than a century ago.

Yet it is the debate about the debate that occupies the public bandwidth.

"The president is hunting on the extreme right margins," says Pierre Haski, editor of Rue 89, an online daily and weekly magazine. "The debate over Islam is not interesting. It is a gimmick to show to National Front voters they can vote UMP."

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© 2011, The Christian Science Monitor