Observers

France's National Front party is plastering this image around the country in the hope of gaining some votes for the upcoming regional elections. A woman wearing the niqab, minarets turned missiles, a clear "No to Islamism", and France draped in... the Algerian flag. A rather specific choice, and one that hasn't gone down well in the North African country.

"No to Islamism. Youth with Le Pen".

The poster, marketing the far-right group's youth faction, seems to have taken its inspiration from a campaign by Switzerland's far-right Swiss People's Party (UDC), which aims to outlaw minarets. The UDC is now threatening to sue its fellow extremists in France, for "stealing" the design.  

It's not only the Swiss who are outraged by the poster - two anti-racism organisations in France (Mrap and SOS-Racisme) have started criminal proceedings against the leader of the National Front (FN), Jean-Marie Le Pen, who will appear in court on May 6 over the poster's design.

In Algeria meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mourad Medelci has publicly protested the use of the country's national flag, asking its former colonial ruler to "take firm measures to prevent the symbols of foreign nations from being insulted".

“It’s outrageous to limit the ‘Islamist’ threat to only my country”

Abdelkrim Mekfouldji is a French teacher and retired journalist from Blida, Algeria.

This doesn't surprise me coming from Jean-Marie Le Pen, but it's still hard for us to see it. It's outrageous to limit the ‘Islamist' threat to only my country, as though it comes exclusively from here. In fact, the countries where the threat is strongest are Pakistan and Afghanistan, which aren't even part of the Arab world. On top of that, the FN is forgetting that many of the Muslims here who have Algerian origins are actually of French nationality.

Next up - the threatening looking woman wearing the niqab looks nothing like an Algerian woman. It's very rare to see a women dressed like that here. 

Not many Algerians have heard about this yet. It has been mentioned in the papers, but once everyone gets wind of it, then the relations between the two countries are going to get very sour very quickly. It wasn't long ago that France refused to compensate victims of the Reggane nuclear tests [taken out in the south of the country in the 1960s]. 

The real problem is that this controversy is a blessing for our politicians, who are looking for something to avert our attention away from the current social crisis [teachers and doctors are on strike], which they haven't yet found a solution for."

Switzerland’s anti-minaret campaign poster

"Stop. Yes to the ban on minarets."