This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of November, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.
Date of publication: 19 November 2018
Media outlet: La Provence, South East France regional newspaper.
Author: Julien Aubert, MP for the right-wing party “Les Républicains”
Description of the anti-Muslim content: Julien Aubert, French MP for the right-wing party “Les Républicains”, has presented a series of 18 policy proposals on Islam in France called “Oser la France” (“Venturing France). One such proposal would force citizens to adopt a “French” middle name: “We propose, when you become French [citizen], to demonstrate your desire to integrate, that you adopt another first name from the host culture [...].When you have a foreign first name and surname, by definition, people think that you are a foreigner”. The name, Aubert says, should be chosen from the French calendar and history. Aubert sees integration in the community as a civic duty. He also suggests prohibiting the headscarf and because, according to the author, "a Jordanian study published in a [scientific] review beyond any doubt in a scientific field, says that when you are growing up, covering your hair causes serious health problems”.
Myth debunked: The proposal to adopt a “French” name goes even further than France’s secularism that is allegedly implemented to protect religious freedom. It criminalises not only immigrants, but also French citizens who happen to have a non-French-sounding name. The proposal claims to strive for integration and societal cohesion, but would in fact further stigmatise certain communities. Across decades, France’s pursuit of equality through secularism has instead suppressed diversity, particularly in relations to its Muslim population. Beyond the absurdity of claiming that wearing the headscarf is unhealthy and the adoption of a “French” name, it is worth noticing how stances that have traditionally belonged to the far-right are now being embraced and proposed by more centre-right parties such as “Les Républicains”, which is the party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
More to read: