Am I the only one to find something anomalous in the fact that the political figure who came in second in the race for the presidency of France in 2002 had a 10,000 fine upheld today by an appeals court for expressing his views on what is his central issue? He was fined on grounds of inciting racial hatred for having told Le Monde on April 19, 2003, that
The day that we have in France not just 5 million but 25 million Muslims, it will be them in charge. … The French will hug their walls [in fear], step down from the sidewalks [to the street], and lower their eyes. If they don't, they'll be told, "Why are you looking at me like that, buddy, you searching for a fight?"
Le jour où nous aurons en France, non plus 5 millions mais 25 millions de musulmans, ce sont eux qui commanderont. … Et les Français raseront les murs, descendront des trottoirs en baissant les yeux. Quand ils ne le font pas, on leur dit "qu'est-ce que tu as à me regarder comme ça, tu cherches la bagarre?"
Comment: One does not have to be a Le Pen fan to acknowledge that his views, however crudely expressed, represent an important outlook in the national debate over immigration and Islam. Le Pen should be able to state them without fear of getting in trouble with the law. That he cannot points to some of the profound contradictions in French society. (February 24, 2005)