Sarkozy cancel halal meat in schools for Muslim
By Tousif Khan - Mon Mar 05, 6:25 am
The issue of France’s Muslims moved front and center into the presidential campaign with the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy, excluding on Saturday any special indulgences for halal meat or separate swimming hours for Muslim women in public pools.
Echoing his 2007 campaign, Sarkozy insisted that French civilization must prevail in France. He created France’s first ministry of immigration and national identity after being elected, but has since done away with it.
There are an estimated 5 million Muslims in France, the largest such population in Western Europe, and the latest generation is making increasing demands that the country accommodate needs set out by their religion or their customs.
“There is no place in the republic for xenophobia, there is no place for racism … There is no place for pools with hours for men and hours for women,” Sarkozy told a rally on Saturday in Bordeaux.
The team of Hollande, the Socialist candidate, castigated as “sickening” a remark Friday by interior minister Claude Gueant, who said that giving foreigners the right to vote in local elections would open the way to halal meat in school canteens and burqa-style bathing suits in public pools.
Sarkozy makes “scapegoats, stigmatizes” Muslims, said Manuel Valls, communications chief for Hollande’s campaign.