The Union of French Muslim Democrats (UDFM), a pro-Islam party, has announced it will be fielding lists of candidates for the upcoming French municipal elections in 2020.
The Muslim Democrats are set to contest local elections in parts of the department of Yvelines, located just outside of Paris, and claim to want to “give a voice to a part of the population that is not found in traditional parties,” Le Parisien reports.
The group announced they would be fielding candidates in Mantes-la-Jolie, Les Mureaux, Guyancourt, and possibly in Mantes-la-Ville where the populist National Rally led by Marine Le Pen has led the local government since 2014.
France: As Many Muslims as Practising Catholics in 18-29 Year-Old Demographic https://t.co/KdUU5QUgV4
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While the UDFM claims to be secular, it has, according to Le Parisien, been targetting areas with higher proportions of Muslims from North African backgrounds.
Local resident Samir claimed that he has become disillusioned with the Socialist Party in recent years and said while he would not vote for the UFDM, he understood why others might, stating: “For me, this party is the yellow vests of the Arabs.”
Council of Muslim Institutions of Yvelines Aziz El Jaouhari said that not too many in the community were overly impressed with the new party but noted that “discourse on discrimination or Islamophobia may resonate with some”.
Earlier this year, the UDFM made waves in Yvelines during the European Parliament election, winning 16.74 per cent of the vote in the district of Val-Fourre in Mantes-la-Jolie and polling 6.77 per cent across the city as a whole, fueling speculation they could win local seats in 2020.
Muslim Party ‘Taken over by Islamists’ Rejected by Swedish Election Agency
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In recent years, Muslim and migrant-centred parties have emerged across several European countries but few have seen successful election gains except in some cases such as the Denk party in the Netherlands which won seats in the national parliament in 2017.
Muslim parties have also been linked to anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric such as the Dutch party Nida which equated Israel to the Islamic State.