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© Marc Daou/ FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-10-26

Muslim rights activists distributed chocolate croissants at a Paris mosque at the start of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha, after a French MP’s controversial comment that thugs snatched children’s pastries during Ramadan.

In an amusing response to a conservative French politician’s incendiary comment that thugs snatched children’s pastries during the holy month of Ramadan, a French Muslim rights group distributed chocolate croissants outside the Paris Grande Mosque on Friday, the start of the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha.

The chocolate croissants - called “Copé” after French politician Jean-Francois Copé - were made with the same ingredients as the classic “pain au chocolat”- but baked in the shape of a crescent, according to Muslim rights activists.

Earlier this month, Copé sparked a controversy when he claimed that Muslim thugs were enforcing the Ramadan fast in some neighbourhoods. “I can understand the exasperation of some of our compatriots when there are some neighbourhoods where a mother or father will come home from work in the evening to learn their son has had his pain au chocolat snatched out of his hand by thugs, telling him it is forbidden to eat during Ramadan,” said Copé at the time.

About 2,000 “Copés” were distributed Friday, according to Abderrahmane Dahmane, head of the Council of Democratic French Muslims, Paris-based Muslim rights group.
Speaking to FRANCE 24 outside the Grande Mosque, Dahmane – who was also a former aide to ex-President Nicolas Sarkozky – called the protest “a great anti-Copé success”. The chocolate croissant stunt, he claimed, was “an overall victory against the racism and stigmatisation [of Muslims].”

Copé, who is running to replace Sarkozy as head of the conservative UMP party, has been criticised for his increasingly inflammatory rhetoric concerning Islam. Following what was dubbed “pastry-gate” in the press, the French Council for the Muslim Faith filed a lawsuit against Copé for defamation, citing “severe damage” to the community.

Friday’s protest came amid signs of a hardening attitude towards Muslims in France, which is home to Europe’s largest Muslim community. An opinion poll published Thursday found six out of ten French people believe the influence of Islam in France is “too big” and 43 percent saw the religion as a “threat” to national identity.

Date created : 2012-10-26


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