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French Muslim Vote May Bring Down President

Imams and Islamic associations are encouraging French Muslims to go to the polls in Sunday’s presidential race, and make a difference. One million strong, they are likely to make enough of a difference to unseat President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Muslim officials are careful not to officially endorse either of the runners in the second election round, but AP explained that “the call itself is a bold move in a country where statistics on religious affiliation are formally banned and where secularism is enshrined in the constitution.”

Socialist Francois Hollande, who is the favorite to win on Sunday, is the likely beneficiary from the Muslim get-out-the-vote drive. His opponent has spoken out against Muslim practices, and his conservative police is not favored by Muslims in poor neighborhoods. Still, according to AP, there’s no guarantee that the drive will indeed result in an increased turnout of Muslim voters, because Muslims have traditionally avoided political involvement.

Still, the fact that French Muslims have been attacked by the right about their halal meat, street prayer and their preference for the full-body burka dress, may convince them to contribute to the removal of a right wing president.

Attacks on Muslim in the popular media have become even more acute following the massacre of Jewish schoolchildren and French paratroopers in March by an Islamic extremist.

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