A councillor of the French anti-imigrant party Front National (FN) has shocked colleagues by converting to Islam, praising the “visionary” Koran, and sending out a “proselytising” YouTube video calling on others to join.
Maxence Buttey, 22, is one of the youngest of the FN’s 1,500 local councillors, however he has now been suspended after his unusual conversion from a member of a party often at odds with Islam, to a member of that faith. Buttey appeared aware of the feathers his move would ruffle, he said: “Some of my voters will be disappointed by my choice, but I’m ready to explain to them that Islam has a mission to unite all men and women”, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Buttey admits to being a 9/11 ‘truther’ – someone who doesn’t beleive the “official” version of the 2001 attacks, but in justifying his move unusally compared the FN to Islam itself. He said: “Both are demonised and very far from the image portrayed in the media… like Islam, the FN defends the weakest. The party denounces exorbitant interest rates charged on the debt of our country, and Islam is against the practice of usury”.
After the FN took control of eleven town halls in April, it announced it would cease separate dietary provisions for Muslims in those areas, meaning Muslim children would “eat pork or go hungry”. Party leader Marine le Pen said “We will not accept any religious demands in school menus”.
Upon the decision to suspend the councillor, the local party secretary said his suspension wasn’t because of the change in religion Buttey had engaged upon, but rather because of the enthusiasm he has since shown in converting others. Secretary Jordan Bardella said: “Religion is a private choice which I respect but it must not enter into the sphere of our political activities. The proselytising video which Maxence sent out is unacceptable”. Despite the suspension, Buttey remains a councillor and party member.
Buttey represents Noisy-Le-Grand, a highly ‘multicultural’ commune (Township) in the east of Paris. The commune is home to two of France’s 750 ‘Sensitive Urban Zones’ (ZUS), better known to ordinary Frenchmen as ‘No Go Zones’, areas where unemployment can be twice the national average and emergency services fear to tread. The zones are often associated with high immigrant populations and radical Islamism, and in many cases have been the homes of those deciding to leave France to join radical Islam for Jihad abroad.
A Facebook group of the “Association of Muslims of Noisy Le Grand”, which is raising money for a purpose-built mosque in the commune shows photographs of recent meetings of the association, with many hundreds joining prayers in a local sports hall. A Facebook post from yesterday celebrating the conversion of Buttey included a picture of him visiting at the time of his election campaign for the FN during prayers.
It was after a meeting with the Imam during the election that he decided to convert. In a comment, the administrator of the group hit back at those who criticised the Mosque for allowing Buttey to visit at the time, saying his seeing “the cause” had brought about change in Buttey’s outlook.
Buttey denies that his video encouraging others to join his faith was “proselytising”, and maintains that his new religion is not incompatable with his membership of the FN, which in the eyes of some at least is an instinctively anti-Islamic movement.