Academics line up against 'national identity' ministry

22nd June 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 22, 2007 (AFP) - Around 200 academics and intellectuals urged French President Nicolas Sarkozy to rename his controversial immigration and national identity ministry in a petition published Friday.

PARIS, June 22, 2007 (AFP) - Around 200 academics and intellectuals urged French President Nicolas Sarkozy to rename his controversial immigration and national identity ministry in a petition published Friday.

"To link 'immigration' and 'national identity' within a ministry is unprecedented in the history of the republic," the signatories wrote in a text published in the left-wing newspaper Liberation.

They charge that the new ministry of immigration, integration, national identity and co-development -- created in line with a campaign pledge by Sarkozy -- defines "immigration as a 'problem' for France and the French."

"As citizens, this worries us because it can only reinforce negative prejudice towards immigrants," they wrote.

"We strongly protest against the title and powers of this ministry and solemnly appeal to the president of the republic to return to choices more consistent with our democratic traditions."

Backers of the petition include French historians, artists, writers and trade unionists as well as several foreign academics.

Sarkozy, who was accused during his election campaign of pandering to the anti-immigrant far-right, was responsible as interior minister for a toughening of immigration laws that saw the number of illegals deported annually more than double to 26,000 in 2006.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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