In light of Mohammed Ben Abbes’s huge victory over Marine Le Pen, there has been widespread outpourings of relief from many in the country. Vast numbers of the French electorate were wary of Le Pen’s stance on Europe, and feel moving out of the European Union could prove risky for a country currently mired in economic difficulties.
However, there are many within the country that has expressed their own fears since the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood has been elected. In particular, a large proportion of the Jewish community in France have indicated a growing anxiety around the election of a candidate on a Muslim ticket.
The Obscurer met up with Myriam, 22, a Jewish student based in Paris to discuss the concerns of the implications of a Muslim president in France.
Myriam opens the conversation with a startling admission that ends up setting the tone for the entire interview; “My parents are emigrating to Israel. They did not even wait for the run-offs”.
I was speechless. I had been aware of the tensions within the Jewish community at what was such a difficult decision between the far-right holocaust-denying National Front and the Muslim Brotherhood, but not to this extent.
Myriam takes a breath before adding, “They’re too scared. I hadn’t really noticed till now, but the last few months they stopped going out. The only people they see are other Jews. I spent a whole night arguing with them, but they’ve made up their minds. They’re convinced that something really bad is going to happen to Jews in France”.
Taken aback, I feel an urge to reassure Myriam. I put it to her my belief that Ben Abbes’s victory should leave her with not a lot to worry about, noting how he is still allied with the Socialists, and he will not be able to do whatever he wants…
“Hmmm…” Myriam shakes her head, looking unconvinced by this argument. “I guess I’m less optimistic than you are. When a Muslim party comes to power, it’s never good for the Jews. Can you think of a time it was?”
At this point I concede that it might be best to leave this particular line of argument. The discussion had clearly made Myriam very emotional.
Her voice changed as her mind returned to thinking about her parents emigrating to Israel.
“What am I going to do in Israel? I don’t speak a word of Hebrew. France is my country. I love France…I love…I don’t know…I love the cheese”.
Feeling that the topic was clearly making Myriam visibly very uncomfortable, we agreed to end the interview at this point. She wanted me to publish what I had recorded knowing others would be feeling the same way.
It is readily apparent that Ben Abbes has a lot of work on his hands if he is to convince the Jewish population of France that he and his party can be trusted.