In an article published on the 30th of March, the website Résistance Républicaine declared that the candidate for the French presidency Emmanuel Macron “wants to establish Sharia law in Mayotte”. Mayotte is a French overseas department located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa, between Madagascar and Mozambique. The accusation came about through conjecture – using a speech by a Macron supporter on the island who has no official connection to the candidate. The website Résistance Républicaine, which claims to be fighting against “Islamisation, the Anglo-Saxon model, and liberal progress”, accused the former Economy minister of planning to allow “polygamy” in France’s 101st department.
However, on a short visit to the island on March 26th, Macron stated that: “We are honoured that, in 2005, we repealed polygamy and unilateral repudiation“.
Résistance Républicaine uses quotes of Mohamadi Bacar Mcolon to make its argument. Mcolon is put forward by the site as one of Macron’s “campaign directors” in Mayotte. He is, however, not an official representative of the En Marche party within the department.
Speaking on Mayotte Première, the local news arm of France’s public broadcaster France Televisions, Mcolon stated that Emmanuel Macron would like to render “power” to the cadis – “pillars of social cohesion in Mayotte”, without further clarification. Macron, however, has never evoked the situation of those muslim religious authorities, according to three journalists who were in Mayotte with Macron and contacted by CrossCheck.
The cadis served as justices of the peace before seeing their powers reduced following the signing of the agreement on the future of Mayotte in 2000, paving the way for the 2011 departmentalisation, notably because of the rejection “by the population of certain principles of customary law (repudiation, polygamy, double inheritance of men …)”, according to a 2008-2009 report from the French Senate.
Since last year, the cadis have once again fulfilled a more limited mission of social mediation under the aegis of Mayotte’s departmental administration.
Contacted by a journalist of the Crosscheck project, the campaign team of Emmanuel Macron clarified his position: “There are local realities in certain territories that we can not deny, the cadis of Mayotte are part of it, Emmanuel Macron’s commitment is that the laws of the Republic apply to all, that all violations of the laws of the Republic are prosecuted, and that secularism imposes itself on all. “