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World

French town's battle sees mayor v muslims

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Opening sequence

World

French town's battle sees mayor v muslims

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COMING UP:French town's battle sees mayor v muslims

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Transcript

00:00:01
>> Your typical French town of Montlavy in the western suburbs of Paris, except there's one glaring difference, in 2014 the electorate chose a far right mayor, the only one in the region. And an estimated third of the population is Muslim.>> Here we have Catholics, Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jewish people, none of them pose any problems for the mayor.
00:00:25
His only problem is with the Muslims.>> Abdullah Aziz Al-Jahadi is the President of the town's mosque. Since the national front mayor took up his post, Abdullah Aziz has been embroiled in a bitter struggle over the construction of this building.>> They have tried to provoke us. They have tried to break into the building.
00:00:44
They have graffitied the walls. My car has been vandalized at night in front of my house. We have received insulting letters, threats. Before 2014, we had never had any of this, but we have decided not to react. Those behind these incidents want to divide the people of Montlavy and pit them against each other.
00:01:02
>> I'm Reuters' reporter Mia Womersley outside the town hall. When I tried to arrange an interview, I was told the mayor wouldn't speak to me. When I asked why, his secretary said she didn't need to give me a reason.>> The leader of his party, Marine Le Pen, will almost certainly be one of the final two candidates in May's presidential election.
00:01:21
A woman who's been on trial for comparing Muslim street prayers to war time Nazi occupation. Fetam Sinnet, a French citizen for the last 15 years, a Le Pen victory would be welcomed.>>
INAUDIBL
] doing everything for people and people are living and people are loving them, just why they're voting them.
00:01:40
And they are winning in Montlavy. Why not? One day they are going to win some place.>> With Francois Hollande's Socialists flagging, the other option in the spring vote likely to be the right wing's Francois Fillon. A man who's repeatedly warned of the risk of French Muslims being radicalized.
00:01:57
Weighing up the options, Abdullah Aziz believes harmony lies in education.>> I think that there is work to be done on the part of the Muslim community. Perhaps we haven't known how to properly explain our religion to people, to help people understand Islam. So I think that there is definitely a job to do within our Muslim community.