Cornell University
Published in

Cornell University

Lowell Turner is a professor of International and Comparative Labor at Cornell University’s ILR School. Photo by Rachel Philipson.

Marine Le Pen, Islamophobia, and the polarization of French society

This is what Le Pen and the FN’s now substantial movement have to offer. For them the problem is the European Union, the euro, the loss of French sovereignty to elites in Brussels and in a globalizing economy, and above all the immigrants and refugees who are supposedly taking French jobs and social benefits.

Anti-immigrant animus has been central to the FN’s worldview since its founding in 1972 by Marine’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. Central to the venom of this perspective is a racist rejection of people of color, including immigrant populations from former French colonies in North and West Africa and elsewhere around the globe. Since many of these immigrants, with and without legal papers, are Muslims, and given recent ISIS-driven terrorist attacks, anti-immigration has sharpened into a full-blown attack on Islam and its believers, thinly veiled as an attack only on radical Islam.

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