New citizens must take ‘French’ names, right-wing politician Julien Aubert insists

Proposal part of pamphlet aimed at helping Muslims better ‘integrate’ into French society

Rory Mulholland
Sunday 9 December 2018

The Independent

Anyone who wants to take French nationality, including Britons seeking refuge from Brexit, should be forced to take a French fi

Julien Aubert addresses the government on 12 December, 2017 ( AFP/Getty )

rst name from the Christian saints or the great figures of the country’s history before they get their passport, a leading opposition politician has said.

That is just one of the 18 radical proposals that Julien Aubert, deputy secretary general of the right-wing Les Républicains party founded by Nicolas Sarkozy, outlines in a new pamphlet he has published with the stated aim of better integrating Muslims into France’s staunchly secular society.

Making foreigners take a French name is an idea which has gained traction in France since the reactionary and bestselling author Eric Zemmour launched a blistering attack on a black TV commentator.

In September, Zemmour, who also writes a weekly column for the conservative newspaper Le Figaro, told Hapsatou Sy, another guest on the television programme on which he was appearing, that it was a pity her parents had not given her a proper “French name”.

“Your name is an insult to France,” said the author of French Suicide and French Destiny, in which he mixes unabashed Islamophobia with historical revisionism.

The remarks sparked yet another round of soul-searching about French national identity and rekindled the often bitter debate on whether the country’s Muslims, numbering between 5 and 7 million both French and foreign, can be fully integrated.



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