The Minister of Mixed Marriages
French Minister of Immigration and National Identity, Eric Besson, divorced with three children, will marry his Tunisian companion, Yasmine Tordjman, 23. The question everyone is asking: Will he convert to Islam?
François Desouche links to the article in Le Parisien:
After some delays his decision has been made. Eric Besson, 52, Minister of Immigration and National Identity will marry Yasmine Tordjman, the 23-year-old Tunisian girl who has been his companion since his divorce from Sylvie Brunel in June 2009. The marriage is to take place in Paris on September 16, probably in the offices of the mayor of the 7th arrondissement. A few days ago, Eric Besson and his companion traveled to Tunisia, on the occasion of the marriage of the granddaughter of President Ben Ali. The couple plans to spend part of their summer vacation in Tangiers, Morocco.
Reminders: Former Minister of Justice Rachida Dati is mayor of the 7th arrondissement. It is rumored she will perform the ceremony. Rachida Dati, a Muslim woman, who recently gave birth to an illegitimate daughter, whose father is still unknown (at least his name has not been revealed by the press), will marry a 23-year-old Muslim woman to a man 29 years her senior. Since he is not (yet) a Muslim, and since Muslim girls are forbidden to marry outside their faith, we are waiting with bated breath to see how these loose ends are tied. Obviously, Muslim women who work their way into the upper echelons of French government have certain privileges.
The issue of his conversion to Islam is still up in the air. If you do a Google on the topic, you will find some saying that he will not convert, others saying that he will. The following report from Islam en France, a blog connected to the news source 20 Minutes, claims that he will. It also uses as its source Le Parisien, and gives the same basic information as above, except for the following:
The happy bride is Yasmine Tordjman, 23, a student in Paris, and the great granddaughter of Madame Wassila Bourguiba, the wife of the former Tunisian president, Habib Bourguiba. Mr. Besson has promised his in-laws that he will convert to Islam as the religion requires.
The story of his possible conversion goes back a few months. Sometime back in February of this year, a website called Bakchich revealed that the French Minister of Immigration and National Identity would be converting to Islam as required by the Muslim religion, upon which Bakchich was sued by Besson for violation of his private life. On February 12, the lawyers faced off before the judge and on February 26 the Paris Tribunal deemed that the lawsuit had no foundation. The case was dismissed.
More reminders: It was Eric Besson who, back in January, while visiting the project of La Courneuve, said: "France is not a people, or a language or a territory or a religion, but a conglomeration of peoples who want to live together..." Besson, born in Morocco to a mother who was part Arab, raised as a Christian, was Nicolas Sarkozy's unerringly appropriate choice to head the Ministry of Immigration. Sarkozy never misses a chance to show his disdain for the traditions of France, all the while proclaiming himself to "have been elected to defend French national identity." (Source: François Desouche)
Eric Besson's comments in January came in the midst of a so-called national debate on French identity, a largely unsuccessful attempt to fool the French into thinking their opinion counted for something.
In an article dating from November 2009, Eric Besson spoke about mixed marriages:
Besson said that he felt that mixed marriages represented an "enrichment for our society" but that defending them had to include a fight against "gray" marriages and "white" marriages.
Note: A "gray" marriage is between a foreigner and a French person who is abused. A "white" marriage is a marriage of convenience agreed upon by both parties.
I'm not sure what is meant by "abused". Here, it seems to mean that the French person is somehow forced into marriage with the foreigner.
Remember that the "French person" may not necessarily be an ethnic Frenchman or Frenchwoman, but a Maghrebin with a French passport. We never really know who is who when we read racial and ethnic statistics.
Besson pointed out that 80% of annulments involve mixed marriages. According to Besson, 13% of the children born in France are of mixed couples, compared to 6% ten years ago.
Today, marriage is the principal "source" of immigration in France. With 50,000 authorizations for long stays issued each year to those who use marriage as their reason for emigrating, that represents double the number of visas granted for professional reasons. Furthermore, 30,000 of the 100,000 naturalizations granted in 2007 were justified on grounds of marriage.
Below, Eric Besson with his ex, Sylvie Brunel, a successful writer, horsewoman, university professor and worker for Doctors Without Borders, who has also written a tell-all book about her marriage.
Photo from Gala.