By Louise Riondel
Morocco World News
Rennes, France, March 21, 2013
The French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, the organization in charge of control the respect of human rights in the country, has issued its annual report. According to its results, intolerance, mainly towards Muslims, rose once again in 2012.
The phenomenon, dubbed by the report as « worrying », was reported to Prime Minister Ayrault. In 2012, the Commission has registered 53 actions and 148 threats against Muslims reported by the Interior, Education and Justice Ministries.
The population’s perception of the religion is also mainly negative. Indeed, according to a study conducted at the end of last year, only 22% of people interrogated stated they have a positive vision of Islam. 55% see Muslims as “an isolated group in society”.
Another new trend is that higher classes now also criticize practices that are specific to Islam, such as wearing a veil, observing the month of Ramadan, the daily prayers and the sacrifice of the sheep for the Eid. While 34% of people with a university diploma had a negative image of Muslims 3 years ago, they are 58% today. For women, it went from 42% in 2009 to 59% today.
Several explanations can be given: these numbers were particularly high after the “Merah case” and the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in the newspaper “Charlie Hebdo”. However, the phenomenon has to be considered within the context of general violence present in France. In general, acts and threats of a racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim nature have increased by 23% in 2012. 69% of respondents declared that “there are too many immigrants in France”. Once again, a new phenomenon is appearing: 51% of respondents living in France but with a foreign citizenship share this feeling.
The Commission is particularly worried by the fact that 65% of people consider that “some behaviors can justify racist reactions”, and blames the Internet and political leaders for the instrumentation of those fears.
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