The Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), the political party of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, was forced on Tuesday to cancel a public debate organized in its headquarters, amid concerns that the debate would spark new accusations of racism and discrimination.
Titled “Immigration, Islamism: Is France Threatened?“, the controversial debate did not come at a good time for UMP, which is now presenting a new bill on immigration in the Assemblee Nationale (National Assembly), the lower house of French bicameral Parliament.
“We have chosen this time to really participate in Parliament discussions on future immigration law, as they are starting this week and will be at full intensity on that day,” explained the Droite Libre (Free Right), the UMP-associated group that organized the meeting.
“These issues are a concern to our fellow citizens, yet they almost never have a chance to discuss them; those who dare to mention immigration and Islam are framed by the intellectual terror of ‘political correctness’.”
When French media made public the title of the debate planned Sept. 30, UMP quickly stepped back and asked Droite Libre to hold the meeting in another place. Officially, said UMP, ultra-conservative Droite Libre is not a group associated with the presidential Party. This would not seem so from the Droite Libre website, which proudly bears the UMP logo.
“In view of the importance of our event and fears expressed by the UMP management board facing biased press reports, our debate will be hosted by the National Assembly,” Droite Libre announced later.
It seems that the National Assembly doesn’t want to host the debate either. See Le Figaro, 29 September 2010