Le Pen: ‘Muslims must help fight Islamist terror’

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France's far-right National Front party says Muslims themselves must help France fight Islamist terrorism and has called for more immigration restrictions and for jihadists to be stripped of their French citizenship.

Le Pen: 'Muslims must help fight Islamist terror'
Marine Le Pen wants Muslims to play their part in helping to defeat Islamist terrorism. Photo: AFP

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen urged the government Sunday to denounce as "Islamists" the perpetrators of deadly Paris attacks that left the country reeling.

The three-day killing spree that left 17 dead in and around Paris — starting when gunmen stormed the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on January 7 — have left the world reeling, with questions raised about how the perpetrators slipped through the cracks.

"Let us call things by their rightful names, since the French government seems reluctant to do so," Le Pen wrote in a New York Times op-ed.

"France, land of human rights and freedoms, was attacked on its own soil by a totalitarian ideology: Islamic fundamentalism," the National Front leader continued.

"Muslims themselves need to hear this message. They need the distinction between Islamist terrorism and their faith to be made clearly."

Le Pen called for national border checks, more immigration restrictions, stripping "jihadists" of their French citizenship, as well as "zero tolerance for any behavior that undermines laicite (secularism) and French law."

She also condemned the foreign policy "mistakes that have plunged France into serious geopolitical incoherence from which it is struggling to extricate itself."

"Islamist terrorism is a cancer on Islam, and Muslims themselves must fight it at our side," Le Pen added.

Her statements stand in contrast to those made by Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who has stated that France is at war with radical Islam, not with the Muslim faith or any religion.

On Sunday, a French court prevented a rally by anti-Islamist groups in Paris on the grounds that they were promoting Islamophobia.

In the wake of the French attacks and last week's Belgian anti-terror raids, EU foreign ministers were to meet in Brussels on Monday to discuss ways to boost cooperation to combat the threat posed by radicalized Europeans returning home after fighting in Iraq and Syria.