Once again, our newsfeed was filled with breaking news regarding a terrorist shooting in a Western city, the French capital Paris. People died, tears were shared, prayers were made, Islam was blamed. The usual. It’s sad to see how used to these kinds of events we are.
This case, however, is particularly interesting. The shooting, which was claimed by the Islamic State per usual, took place a few days before the French presidential elections. In these elections, one specific candidate is known for her extreme nationalism and, of course, islamophobia: Marine Le Pen.
The leader of the French right-wing nationalist party the ‘Front National’ (FN) is known for her many xenophobic ideas and actions. The FN itself has often tried to make sure racism and violence are always on the French voters’ minds.
Le Pen has been doing surprisingly well in this year’s polls, in line with events such as Donald Trump’s election and Brexit..
The past few days were a bit tough for Le Pen’s campaign, as her percentage in the polls was slowly dropping. Nonetheless, ISIS reminded some people of the threat they can actually be, which helped LePen reinforce her stance on her views. This attack took place while LePen was actually losing, and such a shooting during a sensitive French period can have powerful effects. The results of the elections can be completely twisted thanks to our dear ISIS friends.
ISIS attacks are unfortunately not too exceptional and can happen anywhere, but the time and place in which they decided to attack is quite intriguing. This shooting can easily incite islamophobia and turn the tables in favor of LePen, as we have seen in the first pool following the event.
This event is being interpreted as more than just a coincidence. LePen loves chaos and ISIS is by far one of the best precursors of it. The candidate is probably celebrating the shooting that might actually help her become the new French leader. She was accused by the French Prime Minister for trying to use this horrific event to her advantage by reminding French voters of her ‘stand against terrorism’ and calling for the closedown of ‘Islamist Mosques.’ She even said that France might plunge into a civil war if more terrorist attacks take place.
This is, then again, an attempt to use fear as a main weapon to win the elections. It is strange to see an Islamic State attack three days before the first round of elections, which leaves us wondering what the purpose of this shooting actually was.
There is no doubt that this event will have a significant impact on the voting results, and it is alarming to see far-right leaders slowly rise into power with extremist, racist and islamophobic views.