Monday 20th May 2013
Tuesday 6th March 2012 14:40
A French Muslim group has criticised the country's leaders after they called for a cut in the number of immigrants and for minority groups to scrap their "outdated customs".
The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) said that President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon had turned Muslims into "scapegoats" in the French election campaign.
It reacted after Mr Fillon, urged Muslims and Jews to consider discarding their Halal and kosher slaughter rules that he considered "dated".
Richard Prasquier, head of the CRIF umbrelle group of French Jewish organisations, told the AFP he was "shocked" by Fillons "stupifying" statement.
The debate raged while President Sarkozy pledged to cut the number of immigrants and called for a clear labelling of Halal meat, in a bid to attract far right voters from the Front National.
France is set to hold the first round of the presidental elections on April 22.
"We must reduce the number of arrivals at our territory," said Mr Sarkozy at an election rally. "You are not welcome in France if you are only coming ot receive welfare. Everyone thinks it: it is time for republicans to say it,"
Mr Sarkozy underlined how Halal meat is the "first concern for French people".
Renne Le Mignot, co-president of the Movement against racism and for frienship amongst people (MRAP), rejected his statements.