If French Muslims are largely left-leaning in their voting preferences, there are exceptions. France24.com spoke to three French Muslims of Arab descent, all of whom vote for the far-right National Front party. Here are their testimonies.
Karima, policewoman: “Many of my colleagues of Arab descent vote far right, but don’t dare say so.”
A 33-year-old naturalised French citizen of Moroccan origin, Karima is a mother of three, married to a Frenchman. She arrived in France 15 years ago, and has a diploma in Computer Science from a French university. Now she works as a policewoman in Paris and declined to provide her last name.
Karima says she started becoming interested in the ideas of Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the extreme-right National Front party, in 2002. That was almost a decade before Le Pen handed over the party leadership to his youngest daughter, Marine, in 2011. These days, Karima says she regularly attends party meetings and votes for National Front candidates whenever she can.
“My vote is an expression of my rejection of certain Muslim Arabs [in France], whom I personally consider ‘thugs’. They’ve destroyed French society. At least in the old days, they lived in the same suburbs,” said Karima, referring to the largely immigrant, impoverished “banlieues” of major French metropolises. “But for the last several years, the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, has done everything in his power to house them in nice neighbourhoods – like the 15th district, where I live.”
She says she is generally furious at these French-born citizens of North African origin who show no consideration for their country. If the National Front ever gets a candidate elected to the presidency, she would like to see people who “don’t deserve” their French nationality stripped of their citizenship.
According to Karima, many of her “colleagues of Arab descent vote far right, but don’t dare say so”.
Farid Smahi, former National Front office employee: “I’m Arab, I celebrate Ramadan, and I vote Le Pen”