Le Pen Calls Multiculturalism a Weapon for Islamic Extremists

  • French presidential candidate comments in speech on terrorism
  • Wants to change constitution to not recognize communities

Fighting terrorism must involve preventing Muslim communities from imposing their way of life in France and requires more than just repression, presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said on Monday.

“A multicultural society is a multiconflict society,” she said in a speech in Paris. “I want every French person, no matter where they are in France, to maintain their liberty and their rights that Islamic fundamentalists want to deny them. Multiculturalism is the soft weapon of Islamic fundamentalists, which is allowed by useful idiots under the guise of tolerance.”

Le Pen, head of the anti-immigrant, anti-European Union National Front, called for France’s constitution to be changed so that it doesn’t recognize any communities, and criticized former President Nicolas Sarkozy for creating an organization to represent Islam. She also said she would ban an Islamic organization in France linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, and that mosques attended by Turks could be used to spy on France.

For more on France’s presidential election, click here.

Polls show Le Pen running neck-and-neck with the centrist Emmanuel Macron ahead of the first round of voting in France’s presidential election on April 23, though they also point to her losing to Macron in the May 7 run-off. In regional elections in 2015, the party led the first-round voting in six of 12 mainland regions but failed to win any of them in the run-offs.

‘Small Minority’

Prefacing her speech on Monday by saying that violent Islam is a “very small minority” within the religion, she went on to paint a picture of Muslims in France and Britain living in separate societies that impose dress codes on women, allow only halal food, and persecute Jews.

If elected president, Le Pen said she would create a single anti-terrorism police force and put suspected terrorists under administrative arrest.

“We can’t allow sleeper cells in France,” she said. “So often after attacks, we find out that the police knew about the individuals involved.”

France also needs better relations with Russia and Egypt, which she said were the countries most involved in fighting terrorism. Le Pen repeated her usual call to restore national borders, as well as her claim that most refugees are economic migrants.

“Let’s stop pretending we live in the world we want and respond to the world we are in,” she said.

Le Pen also said she would raise France’s development aid to 0.7 percent of gross domestic product -- the target agreed by rich countries at the United Nations that very few have met. She reiterated that military spending should be raised to 2 percent of economic output, and that she’d boost police numbers by 15,000 over her five-year term and build new prison cells.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.