France's Muslim voters fear far-right election win

Muslim voters are increasingly worried about the prospect of a far-right victory less than two weeks before France's snap parliamentary elections, fearing the possible restrictions that could follow.

For Sarah, there's a "real risk" of seeing the National Rally (RN) win the ballot, called by President Emmanuel Macron after the far-right party trounced his centrists in early June's EU elections.

The 23-year-old member of a Muslim women's collective told AFP that would give the party of Marine Le Pen free rein to pass laws restricting her freedoms in matters of dress and worship.

The RN has made no secret of its hostility to ritual slaughter, which would effectively ban halal and kosher meat.

A bill it tabled in 2021 called for bans on "Islamist ideologies" and on the wearing of headscarves in all public places.

The current law prohibits the wearing of headscarves in public schools, and bans the wearing of full-face veils, such as the burqa, in public.

The centrist government of Macron also banned the wearing in schools of the abaya gown worn by many Muslim women from this school year.

'Tool of discrimination'

Appearing on French TV this week, RN party leader Jordan Bardella said it wanted to ban the wearing of the Muslim headscarf in public, describing the hijab "as a tool of discrimination between men and women and not desirable in our society."

But he said even if the RN won the polls the measure would not come into force until after the next presidential elections in 2027.

Sarah -- who like most people interviewed did not want to give her last name -- was also concerned about the "legitimisation" of hostility to Muslims.

But as many as 59 percent of Muslims abstained.


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