Monday, 12 October 2015

The former Communist Party deputy-mayor of Vénissieux, in the suburbs of Lyon, is the author of the law dated 11 October 2010 banning the wearing of the veil in a public space. Five years later, the struggle, according to him, is more relevant than ever. 
Le Point: Five years after it was proclaimed, you note that the law banning the wearing of the veil in a public space still isn't applied. Does that trouble you? 
André Gerin : I am worried by this situation, yes. I'm very concerned about arguments I'm hearing currently to defend the wearing of the veil. A sociologist even just explained to me that, for women converts, wearing the veil is a way of letting themselves blossom into the codes of Islam. That really floors you! There is huge disjuncture with reality in these remarks. What are the authorities in this country doing? I demand that our leaders enforce this law, because it is the wish of the majority of French people. I remind you that when I was responsible for the information service in the National Assembly, 80% of French people were against the wearing of the veil. 
How do you explain the fact that this law hasn't been applied? 
I'm not so surprised by it, because at the time, apart from a dozen or so MPs, the Left, including François Hollande, didn't vote for this law. Today, political leaders refuse to attack the question of islamism. There is a lack of courage and also an element of calculation. The Socialists and the Right say they're worried by the rise of the Front National but they are the ones who have been feeding the monster for thirty years! They just hope they'll find themselves in the second round [of the presidential elections] opposite Marine Le Pen in 2017. That's really playing with fire! 
Why is it so important in your view? I've always said that wearing the veil was the visible part of the iceberg of Islamism. In France, there are territories that are under the control of the fundamentalists and they arrange for women to be shut up from childhood on. That includes wearing the veil for young girls, medical certificates to avoid swimming classes, general violence against young girls, sexism, homophobia, endogamy, forced marriages. At the Salon of the Muslim Woman that just took place in Pontoise, the French Salafist preachers explained that they wanted to send our daughters and wives back to the Middle Ages. All that is an expression of political Islam. The situation is getting worse. We need to listen to what the police are saying. When they arrive in certain areas, they hesitate to intervene from fear of sparking something off. We need to realise that in France there are territories where the Salafists and the Islamists have taken the upper hand with veritable control of districts that have become "Sharia-compatible".


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