Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Dealing with Islam


The rightish Jerusalem Post is running an AP article that summarizes Nicolas Sarkozy approach to dealing with the growing power of Islam in France. Sarkozy's position is actually much more nuanced than some other immigrant bashing candidates; instead of suppressing religion, or deporting its followers, he would like to cut off French Islam "from foreign influences".

Sarkozy's views come from comments in a 2005 book, in which he said that the lack of mosques in France has forced Islamic groups underground, which in turn has fostered extremism. To solve this, Sarkozy has flirted with the posibility of changing a 1905 law that separates church and state to allow for public funds to be used to build "parking lots, cultural centers and annexes to Muslim prayer halls as a way to encourage the building of more mosques."

Sarkozy just yesterday backed off from this position, saying that "Before touching (the law), one must be very careful." Nevertheless, it does show that he is a much more nuanced candidate than he sometimes makes himself out to be.

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