PARIS: There are “a lot of Islamophobes” within the FN, It’s not the case with (Marine) Le Pen and many in the national leadership who know the difference between private and public life, but in the regional department, some do not.” These were the expressions of France’s far-right National Front (FN) sacked local councillor Maxence Buttey, an elected member of the municipal council of Noisy-le-Grand, a suburb of Paris.
Buttey, 22, reverted to Islam earlier this year after which he sent a video to officials of the anti-immigration FN party in which he praised the “visionary” virtues of the Qur’an and urged them to become Muslims.
The video was a shock to many members of the party, which announced suspending Buttey from a regional FN committee.
The 22-year-old’s suspension was lifted shortly after by the party’s leadership – a decision that left many FN members unhappy, including Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, niece of party leader Marine Le Pen, who called for his punishment to be reinstated.
Responding to angry comments, FN’s regional chief Jordan Bardella confirmed Tuesday that Buttey has now been dismissed from the party.
As an elected representative, Buttey will remain a council member, but has been relieved of his party duties.
“Since the video, I have said nothing, done nothing to promote my religion. They have punished me just because of my religious convictions,” he said.
France is home to a Muslim community of nearly 6.5 million, the largest in Europe.