PARIS - A scion of France’s veteran far-right leader and and Europe’s best known Muslim intellectual wrangled over whether immigrant children should adopt French names and other cures for suburban unrest at a rare left-right clash in Paris on Monday.
Marine Le Pen, daughter of National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, and Oxford University academic Tariq Ramadan, ripped into each other’s political beliefs in what many supporters of the two said before the event would be a “debate with the devil’.
Officially, the event, organised by the Kitson, a private debating forum, was completely off the record.
Why be on anyone's side in that one?
But it was no surprise to the restricted audience to hear one calling for immigrant youths to adopt French names and learn to speak French properly if they wanted to boost their chances of getting work and acceptance.
It was no shock for the other to declare that immigration is now unavoidable for Europe’s economic future and that it is for European governments to change their attitudes and policies to make sure immigrant communities get a fair share of work and housing
Good luck on that one. It's EUROPE Tariq. Oh and by the way, about those communities where the French Police are afraid to visit and Shariah rules......
Voices were raised. Each accused the other of deforming his or her views. Virtually their only area of agreement was in opposing controversial DNA tests for the families of new migrants proposed by the Sarkozy government. “Useless and idiotic,” said one. “A dangerous precedent,” added the other.
Le Pen came away from the event saying she was “disappointed” at her rival’s discourse. Ramadan said he had faced more of a challenge trying to counter Nicolas Sarkozy before the mainstream right winger became French president.
“I thought he was a brilliant debater. I found he was just very extreme left wing,” Le Pen told AFP afterwards, while acknowledging she had proposed measures that would anger immigrant communities.
A pox on you both.