Far-Right Marine Le Pen - AFP
CAIRO – 23 April, 2017: With France expecting a new president, who could hail from the far-right wing, there are rising fears of pressure on Europe’s Muslim communities, President of the European Muslim League (EML) told Egypt Today in an interview on Sunday.
“We are very worried for [expected winning of Marine] Le Pen…that she would come to presidency…she is like [Donald] Trump…he has very bad policy against Muslims and Arabs,” EML Head Alfredo Maiolese said.
EML Head Alfredo Maiolese - Courtesy of Maiolese.jpg
The first round of the French presidential elections kicked off Sunday, where four leading figures are competing for the top post. According to British newspaper the Telegraph, polls suggest that far-Right Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist and former economy minister, are in the lead.
National Front Leader Marine Le Pen has adopted anti-Muslims rhetoric.
The U.S. President Donald Trump, who has backed Le Pen in the elections, said in an interview with the Associated Press (AP) that he believed the latest Paris shooting on the Champs Elysees, which left one policeman dead, could tip the election in favor of Le Pen.
Sharing anti-migrants strategy like Trump, Le Pen has voiced her willingness to deport thousands of foreigners should she assumes power.
Commenting on Le Pen’s chances of winning, Maiolese said: “Of course we will have many problems...but we will take our actions according to her policy against Muslims and migrants.”
He spoke about the “bad situation “that Muslims in Europe are facing amid terror attacks claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group “in the name of Islam.”
In his statements to Egypt Today, via Whatsapp, Maiolese explained that “ Muslims are highly distrusted, especially Arabs,” following terror attacks that hit many European countries recently, adding that there were some isolated “verbal” attacks against Muslims.
Maiolese, who is Italian, said that some Italian political parties like the far-right Lega Nord is taking negative lines against migrants, which aggravate fears among Muslim communities there.
Meanwhile, he said that such terror attacks, citing the latest bombings that targeted two churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday, are conveying a message to the world that these attacks are “foreign to the Islamic Religion that we know.”
Maiolese, who happened to be in Cairo when the attacks on two Coptic churches took place, condemned the attacks, saying:
"We at EML are appalled by the cowardly nature of these two attacks on people while in the act of worship. I want our Christian brothers and sisters, wherever they are in the world today, to know that we are standing in solidarity with them and that they are in our thoughts and prayers.”
He said he offers his condolences to Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II and Egyptian Christians after the attacks, adding “this attack is not against only them but against the humanity and we have to protect and to give them moral support.”
As Pope Francis II is expected to arrive for a visit in Egypt on April 28, Maiolese described the visit as “an important event” to give a clear message against terrorism.