In what would appear to be an interesting parallel to the recent behaviour displayed by Muslim voters in Bradford West and their election of George Galloway, Al Jazeera notes that in todayâ€™s first round of the presidential election French Muslims are â€˜likely to vote for the far leftâ€™. It notes:
Throughout the duration of the campaign for Franceâ€™s presidency, one issue has come up over and over again.
Islam, and whether it has a place in French society, has been a favourite issue of the two right wing candidates, the National Frontâ€™s Marine Le Pen and Nicolas Sarkozyof the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP).
In April 2007, polls found that French Muslims voted mainly for the Socialist presidential candidate: Segolene Royal won 64 percent of their vote, while Mr. Sarkozy got just 1 percent in the first round and 5 percent in the second.
â€œPeople who would have originally voted for the center or the right-wing are now determined to vote against Nicolas Sarkozy,â€ Ms. Lorcerie said.
Will this register with the rest of the electorate? The Washington Times notes that it has certainly registered with sociologists:
Franceâ€™s Muslim community is mobilizing voters to reject President Nicolas Sarkozy in Sundayâ€™s election to punish the conservative leader for his anti-immigrant and anti-Islam rhetoric.
â€œ[French] Muslims canâ€™t stand it anymore. They are fed up with these debates about national identity, halal meat, the veil or fundamentalism all over the place,â€ said Francoise Lorcerie, a sociologist with the Institute of Studies on the Arab and Muslim World near Marseille.
â€œThe terms [Islam, immigration and fundamentalism] are being used interchangeably, without care, with people being targeted, denigrated and used for [votes].â€