Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry

Recent Developments

23 October 2014

Is French new anti-terror law is just anti-Roma? 

"Human Rights campaigners and immigrants' support groups have sounded the alarm about the small print in France’s new anti-terrorism bill, which they say will allow Paris to stop the freedom of movement of EU nationals, specifically members of the Roma community.

The bill is currently being rushed through the parliamentary process to give France new powers to combat a perceived increase in the threat from terrorism. But an article was added to the bill in the Senate this week is greatly concerning human rights groups and immigrants' support organisations in the country. The clause would give France the power to refuse entry to “undesirable” nationals of EU states and their families if they posed a threat to public order or safety.

In full it reads: “Any national of an EU member-state ... or any member of the family of an individual will be banned from entering the French territory if their presence causes a serious threat to a fundamental interest of society, in terms of public order or security, because of their personal behaviour.”

It comes at a time when countries like the UK are talking of imposing a cap on EU migrants and talk in France of a need to restore its borders with European neighbours. Critics say the wording of the clause is so vague it could be used to prevent EU migrants from entering France, notably those from Eastern Europe."

Read more on http://www.thelocal.fr/20141023/france-to-use-anti-terror-powers-to

 


European court upholds French ban on face veils

"The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday upheld France's law banning face-covering Muslim veils from the streets, in a case brought by a woman who claimed her freedom of religion was violated.

1/7/2014- The ruling by the Strasbourg-based court was the first of its kind since France passed a law in 2010 that forbids anyone to hide his or her face in an array of places, including the street. The law went into effect in 2011. The court's Grand Chamber rejected the arguments of the French woman in her mid-20s, a practicing Muslim not identified by name. She said she doesn't hide her face at all times, but when she does it is to be at peace with her faith, her culture and convictions. She stressed in her complaint that no one, including her husband, forced her to conceal her face — something of particular concern to French authorities. The court ruled that the law's bid to promote harmony in a diverse population is legitimate and doesn't breach the European Convention on Human Rights.

Critics of the ban, including human rights defenders, contend the law targets Muslims and stigmatizes Islam. France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe, estimated at five million, making the issue particularly sensitive. Under the law, women who cover their faces can be fined up to 150 euros ($205) or be obliged to attend a citizenship class, or both. When enacted, the law was seen as a security measure, with veiled women considered fundamentalists and potential candidates for extremist views. Another concern was respect for the French model of integration in which people of different origins are expected to assimilate. The court concluded the ban is a "choice of society," giving France a wide margin of appreciation — all the more so because there is no common ground in Europe on the issue. Only a minority of countries ban face veils."
© The Malta Independent http://www.independent.com.mt/mainpage.asp


French court fines publishing house for five anti-Semitic books

November 22, 2013 

(JTA) — "Citing anti-Semitic content, a French court sanctioned a publishing house for five books, including one first printed more than a century ago.

The court in Bobigny, near Paris, last week handed down a blanket ban on the publication and dissemination of one book, “The Anthology of Quotes against Jews, Judaism and Zionism” by Paul-Eric Blanrue.

The court said the book contained “incitement to racial hatred” and “denials of genocide,” which are illegal in France. Blanrue’s 321-page book contains “hundreds of anti-Semitic statements by well-known figures throughout the ages,” according to the news agency AFP.

All copies of the book must be withdrawn within a month, according to the ruling. The court fined Kontre Kulture $10,795 for publishing the book, edited by Alain Soral, a French extreme-right activist who has made anti-Semitic statements in the past.

The court ordered the removal of passages from four other books also edited by Soral, including Henry Ford’s “The International Jew.”

The fine imposed on the publishing house will be paid to LICRA, the France-based International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, which initiated the court case against Soral and the publishing firm.

Yves Baudelot, a lawyer who specializes in literary rights, told AFP that rulings to ban books were extremely rare in France. The ruling by the court in Bobigny is the first such ban in years, he noted.

LICRA hailed the ruling as a victory for justice. However, a number of authors and academics argued that it was an unreasonable encroachment on freedom of expression.

“This ruling is disconcerting and astonishing,” Pierre Glaudes, a professor of literature at the Sorbonne, wrote in an Op-Ed published Thursday by Le Nouvel Observateur, an influential Paris-based weekly.

Glaudes noted that among the books included in the ruling was “Salut par les Juifs,” written 122 years ago by Leon Bloy. This book, he wrote, “was re-edited countless times without being struck down by the law – until today.” He added that the ruling was a “dangerous judicial anachronism.”


Read more: http://www.jta.org/2013/11/22/news-opinion/world/french-court-censures-five-books-over-anti-semitism#ixzz2leTSAH4g

France Stands By Veil Ban After Riots

"PARIS (Reuters), 22 July, 2013- Interior Minister Manuel Valls defended on Monday France's ban on wearing full-face veils in public places after a police check on a veiled Muslim woman sparked riots in a Paris suburb at the weekend. The 2010 law was brought in by conservative former president Nicolas Sarkozy and targets burqa and niqab garments that conceal the face rather than the headscarf that is more common among French Muslim women. A police check on a couple in the southwest suburb of Trappes sparked an angry confrontation that led overnight on Friday to a police station being surrounded by several hundred people, some hurling rocks. Another building was torched in several hours of street violence that led to six arrests."Police did their job perfectly," Valls told RTL radio. "The law banning full-face veils is a law in the interests of women and against those values having nothing to do with our traditions and values. It must be enforced everywhere," he said. The suburb was mostly calm on Monday, although police who were pelted with firecrackers from rooftops overnight on Sunday made a further two arrests. The incident happened during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. France counts Europe's largest Muslim population, estimated at around five million. Yet according to interior ministry figures only between 400 and 2,000 women wear the veil and only a handful have been ordered to pay a fine for wearing it.Critics say the law is patchily enforced as police seek to avoid confrontations in poor neighborhoods with high Muslim populations.The rioting at the weekend was the first time the ban had let to an outbreak of violence. While Sarkozy singled out the suburbs as an area of special concern, Hollande has so far said they must be treated like any other part of France. Valls said that while authorities would be tough in dealing with radical Islam it was not targeting ordinary Muslims."I'm not confusing people who follow Ramadan with the people who wear the veil," he said. (Reporting By Nicholas Vinocur; editing by Mark John)."

Available at: http://news.yahoo.com/france-stands-veil-ban-riots-090340994.html