Marine Le Pen and secular fundamentalism

Fiachra Gibbons reponds to Marine Le Pen’s proposal to ban the kippah along with the hijab.

If you apply the logic of a strictly secular state, Le Pen insists, you cannot discriminate against one without discriminating against all – egalité also means “equality of discrimination”. So if the Muslims are to be prevented from challenging the Republic by wearing headscarves or other “religious symbols” in the streets, so must the Jews.

Of course, it is never going to happen – no more so than the CRS being sent out to hunt down bonnes soeurs on the streets of Paris, not even if the appalling Jean-François Copé, the architect of the burqa ban (which in the name of liberté effectively condemned women who wear the niqab to a kind of house arrest), becomes leader of Sarkozy’s old UMP.

But it does create the toxic atmosphere the Front thrives in and which France thought it had left behind with Sarkozy, who drove the country half mad with fear and prejudice attempting to cling to power, yet still lost.

Guardian, 26 September 2012