So you have heard their grievances, you watched them protest, you saw their anger. Now what I am about to say might sound politically incorrect to some, but it needs to be said – France has become an easy target for upholding freedom of expression. President Emmanuel Macron is paying the price for not believing in the politics of appeasement, at least not practicing it right now. There are 6 million Moselms living in France; they make up more than 8% of the french population; this is the highest tally in the whole of Europe. France will hold its next general election in 2022, so Macron faces a vote in two years from now. He is a centrist liberal; had he wanted, he could have used secularism as an excuse to appease french moselms, used them as a vote bank to secure his path to re-election but he chose not to! Why? Because the threat of Islamic terrorism is real in France, it has been for a while now. French Moselms know this, European governments know this, Islamic leaders know this, but most of them pretend to not know all of it because it suits their own one-sided narrative. They have reduced Macron’s war with extremism into a narrow calculation of prejudice and islamophobia. Just look at what has happened in France in recent years, a total of 1700 french nationals have joined ISIS since 2013. 1700! Mosques and islamic institutes have been found receiving funds from Arab countries. There have been attacks orchestrated by France’s own moslem citizens, I don’t even need to give you examples but I will tonight:
January 2015, Paris was robbed by a series of terror attacks, 17 people were killed. November 2015, another series of coordinated terror attacks took place in Paris, the death toll was higher this time – 130 people lost their lives. January 2016, a man wearing an explosive belt attacked police officers in Paris, he was shot dead. July 2016, 2 terrorists attacked a church in Normandy, they killed an 86 years old priest. The same month July 2016, a Tunisian, resident of France drove a 19 ton cargo truck in the crowd celebrating Bastille day, 86 people lost their lives. My list does not end there. The 2017 early airport attack, the 2017 Shaw’s led attack, the 2018 Paris knife attack, the 2018 star Strasbourg’s shooting, then we come to 2020 – in the last 10 months, a total of seven major terror attacks have taken place in France, they range from the ramming of cars to the stabbing of policemen to the beheading of a middle school teacher. When Emmanuel Macron says that “Islam is a religion in crisis”, he has a point. Muslim-nominated areas in France have become increasingly polarized, some experts consider these specific areas to be the lost territories of the republic, i am quoting from what they say “ the lost territories of the republic of France”, territories where the government control is weak, territories where the Islamic laws and customs prevail and extremism thrives. What the President is doing is trying to bring these territories back in control, curb Islamic extremism, put an end to acts of terror once and for all, he has proposed new laws, he wants to push religion out of education, he wants to push religion out of public sector, he wants to reign in the radicals; make Islam more compatible with the French constitution and at the same time he says he wants French citizens to have the freedom to blaspheme, he wants them to have the freedom of press, the freedom of expression.
Macron’s message is quite simple, ‘Constitution above religion’, ‘All citizens equal by law’, listen to this very carefully: “I am asking each and every citizen of France, whether they follow a religion or not, to absolutely respect all of the laws of the republic. As for radical islam, since this is what the issue is, let’s take it on board and let’s name it, there is a will, a demand, an organiized method to go against the laws of the republic and create a parallel order based on other values. They are developing a separatist society with the goal of ultimately taking control and that’s what they are doing gradually by rejecting the freedom of expression, the freedom of thought, the right to blasphemy and this can insidiously move towards radicalization.”
Here’s the thing, radical Islam poses a major challenge to the French society, to all societies, in fact. President Macron is only pushing for laws to craft a French version of Islam, a version that is compatible with his country’s laws and values. Instead of trolling him, the world must support him because who knows which country, which government and which leader will have to take similar steps tomorrow.