Mariéme Tamata-Varin, the Republic without reservations


She certainly does not want to be defined as a Muslim mayor. “I have never positioned myself like this, explains Mariéme Tamata-Varin. My religion is a personal choice which does not intervene in my action. “ A newspaper headline, the day after her election in 2014, presented her as the first mayor “Black and Muslim woman”. It hurt her and earned her some hateful comments: “I don’t want to be a symbol. I was elected because I demonstrated my skills ”, says this 39-year-old woman.

A symbol, Mariéme Tamata-Varin is, involuntarily. Through her journey which led her from Morocco, where she was born, and from Mauritania, where she grew up in a very pious family, to the status of elected representative of a Republic whose nationality she acquired at the adulthood, by choice and by marriage. Integrated in 2008 to the municipal team of Yèbles, a small rural village in Brie where she settled with husband and children, this “Hyperactive”, passed through a business school, very quickly became deputy then mayor.

His religion, confined to the private sphere

Her great pride: having been re-elected last year, from the 1er turn, with 74% of the vote in a municipality where the National Rally regularly touches the 30%. “I felt that the look on me had changed, she recounts. Even if I don’t wave my faith, I realize that I have to set an example and show that we can be trustworthy, Muslim and Republican. “

His religion, confined to the private sphere, has never been “Neither an obsession, nor a brake on (his) commitment “. She made some personal sacrifices, such as not enrolling her children in the mosque to learn the Koran or catching up on her five evening prayers at home: “I chose to live my religion in a country with a Catholic tradition, I take it. “

→ DOSSIER. Islam, why is it complicated

If it was absolutely necessary to find an influence of religion on its civic engagement, it would be in “The values ​​of sharing and respect for others that my education instilled in me. They have undoubtedly enabled me to be a better mayor and to fight so that we all live together while respecting our differences ”.

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