Friday, June 8, 2007
Catholics and Muslims
Earlier today I cited CEVIPOF figures showing that 94 percent of Muslims had voted for Royal and 77 percent of practicing Catholics for Sarkozy.* An announcement today by minister of housing and cities Christine Boutin lends piquancy to these numbers. She is appointing Father Jean-Marie Petitclerc to her staff, as an advisor on the suburbs and violence.
Father Petitclerc is a Salesian who has been working with suburban youth for 30 years. He founded the Valdocco association, one of whose activities has been to find mentors from the Ecole Polytechnique for troubled young people (see article here). If it is unusual for a republican minister to appoint a priest to her staff, Father Petitclerc is an unusual priest (and it hardly needs saying that Boutin is an atypical republican minister). Himself a former Polytechnicien, he decided against a political career and chose his youth mission instead. He has lectured widely on suburban violence. He favors more socially mixed urban neighborhoods and believes that eliminating school zones can contribute to that end (see this post). To that extent at least, he is in tune with Sarkozyste urban policy to date.
* An e-mail from a reader suggests that the 94 percent figure should be taken with a grain of salt. From firsthand knowledge and anecdotal evidence, he believes the figure is closer to 85 percent. I do not know what method CEVIPOF used to arrive at its figure and would be glad to hear from other readers with a more intimate knowledge of the question.