Posted on February 25, 2005

Far-Right Leader’s Conviction Upheld

AP, Feb. 25

An appeals court upheld the conviction of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the French far-right leader, yesterday for racist remarks against Muslims made in a newspaper interview.

Le Pen, leader of the National Front party, was ordered to pay a £6900 fine for inciting racial hatred in comments in Le Monde newspaper two years ago.

Le Pen has been convicted of racism or anti-Semitism at least six times.

He blames immigrants, especially those from North Africa, for high unemployment and wants to deport all illegal immigrants.

In the interview, Le Pen urged the French to beware of “the day in France when we have 25 million Muslims, not five million” — the estimated population of Muslims in France.

The appeals court in Paris said such comments could incite hatred. “In denouncing such a threat, Jean-Marie Le Pen tends to stir in the reader a feeling of hostility and rejection toward Muslims depicted as dominators,” the written ruling stated.