French press review 19 September 2012
Will thousands of Salafists soon be flooding French streets? Does Charlie Hebdo want them to beat a path to its door? Is the European budgetary pact a good thing or a bad thing?
Right wing daily Le Figaro is alone this morning in lamenting the fact that what it calls "Islamic fundamentalists" intend to stage another demonstration in Paris next Saturday to protest against the film Innocence of Islam.
A similar protest outside the US Embassy in the French capital last weekend led to violent clashes <th six police officers hurt and 152 arrests.
There were only 250 protestors the last time but, warns Le Figaro darkly and without a glimmer of evidence to support the claim, there'll be 1,000 tomorrow, and "many more" the day after.
These murderous hordes are ultraradical muslims, supported by squadrons of disaffected youth from the suburbs. Don't ask what they believe, pontificates the right-wing paper, these people are motivated by intolerance and violence.
They hate "our" country, as amply proven by the murderous acts of Mohamed Merah. They want to put their women in cloth sacks, they want to block our streets by holding mass prayer meetings every Friday, they want special food in school canteens and special doctors in hospitals, it claims.
In the face of such provocation, let us not be intimidated, says Figaro. France must not let anyone walk on her feet and certainly not a bunch of leather-clad Salafists.
The folk at Figaro will be pleased to learn the news, just announced, that next Saturday's protest has been banned.
Speaking of provocation, the French weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo is published today with two new caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. Charlie Hebdo did the same thing about a year ago and got its offices burned down. The timing of the latest gesture, even dressed up in the worthy terms of "freedom of expression", is questionable.
Communist L'Humanité offers to explain why it is against the European budgetary pact. The Communists say the deal is simply a recipe for more and deeper austerity and that's not good for anybody, or for the economy.
Catholic La Croix tries for a balanced view, offering arguments from both wings of the debate.
On the positive side, the pact may save the European Union, could help some countries get out from under the crippling burden of accumulated debt and would represent a step in the direction of a more federal Europe.
On the negative side, the package means a further erosion of national sovereignty, more and deeper austerity, and it's a right-wing deal, having been concocted under the Sarkozy-Merkel tandem.
Government ministers begin consideration of the necessary legislation today. The debate promises to be long and angry. Putting the whole ball of wax in place once the talking is over promises to be virtually impossible.