Nicolas Sarkozy to target Muslim prayers

Is the man actually still sane? Don't answer that; it was a rhetorical question...

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has taken another lurch to the Right with a speech on New Year's Eve calling Muslim prayers in the street "unacceptable".

After his expulsions of Roma-Gypsies, predominately from Romania and Bulgaria and also an attack on the resident Romani with the reintroduction of the “Carnet de Circulation” and a crackdown on immigrant crime, the French President warns that the overflow of Muslim faithful on to the streets at prayer time when mosques are packed to capacity risks undermining the French secular tradition separating state and religion.

He will doubtless be accused of pandering to the far Right: the issue of Muslim prayers in the street has been brought to the fore by Marine Le Pen, the charismatic new figurehead of the National Front, who compared it to the wartime occupation of France.

Her words provoked uproar on the Left, whose commentators took them as evidence that far from being the gentler face of the far Right, Ms Le Pen, 42, is no different from Jean-Marie, 82, her father, who has been accused of racism and Holocaust denial.

According to his aide, Mr Sarkozy agrees with the junior Le Pen that the street cannot be allowed to become "an extension of the mosque" as it does in some parts of Paris, which are closed to traffic because of the overflow of the faithful. Local authorities have declined to intervene, despite public complaints, because they are afraid of sparking riots.

It is such a shame to see France head into such a right wing direction not that the country, in the way it is run, is not, theoretically, a fascist country, in the true sense of the word and term.

Gypsies have had a bad time always, and not just during the Vichy era, but to this very day, including French Manush and others, in that they are required to carry a special passport that identifies them – point blank – as Gypsy, the Carnet de Circulation.

While the use of this document was, supposedly, stopped in the 1980s it would appear from what we have learned from Rom in France that the use has been reinstated and that all must carry this and the requirements of registering with the police prefecture upon arrival, when on voyage, are still as strict as ever.

It can just be hoped that France will not become a leading light in this and that the rest of Europe will follow as to the treatment of Gypsies and other “outsiders”. I do, however, fear that that is exactly the very way that we are headed.

© 2011

The Government has adopted guidelines for the policy on Roma

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Government of Finland has, on December 9, 2010, adopted a “Resolution on guidelines to promote Finland's policy on Roma.”

The Resolution, so say speakers for the government, is a strong message from the Government of Finland that it considers the policy on Roma important and is committed to the implementation of the National Policy on Roma.

The Government will initiate intensified measures to enhance the inclusion of the Roma population at local level and to investigate their housing conditions.

The Government also wants to improve the status of the Romani language and to increase the opportunities of the Roma children and adolescents for social participation and pursuing hobbies. Furthermore, an international strategy will be drawn up to influence policies on Roma.

According to the Resolution the Government Ministries will implement the measures that are assigned to them in the National Policy on Roma within the framework of the appropriations available to them.

The implementation of the measures will be monitored. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will set up a monitoring group for the National Policy on Roma to evaluate the implementation of this cross-sectoral Policy. The first monitoring report will be submitted in 2013.

The Resolution is based on Finland's first National Policy on Roma that was published in December 2009. The objective is to promote the inclusion and equality of the Roma in various spheres of life. The National Policy on Roma comprises a total of 10 policy guidelines and 147 measures, which several administrative sectors are responsible for implementing.

The goal is that Finland will be a forerunner in promoting the equal treatment and inclusion of the Roma in Europe by 2017.

And while this sounds all very good, what really stands out in contrast to this is the recent policy of – basically – rounding up foreign Roma on the streets of Helsinki as unwanted beggars.

Does the inclusion, which we can but hope to just mean integration and not, like in France, more or less forced assimilation, only apply to the Finish Kaale or also to Romani from other countries who wish to make Finland their home, whether on a permanent or only temporary basis? This is a question that must be borne in mind and asked here.

Source: Press release 389/2010

© O NEVO DROM 2011