Radical secularism threatens religious communities in France – Editorial

SHAFAQNA – While France has made a point at singling out Muslims, on account their faith is believed to be conducive to gruesome displays of violence, and of course the dreaded: radicalization effect, media have mostly concentrated on those incidents and those acts of violence carried out against Muslim communities.

It needs to be said that rather than denounce such despicable sectarian violence, media have instead exploited Islamophobia by arguing Muslims had brought such a socio-political backlash upon themselves by refusing to integrate into France’s secular and liberal society ….

I would personally argue that here, liberalism rhymes dangerously with fascism and intolerance, as it implies the imposition of one particular dogma over a people. Since when does liberalism require for elimination of pluralism?

Pluralism, pluralism, pluralism … this word needs to be absolutely central to any debate we may, and shall hold on social cohesion or religious tolerance.

People have a God given right to their opinions and their beliefs, and until those beliefs come to conflict with others’ freedom we should respectfully live it alone.

Hate crimes against Muslims in France tripled last year, confirmed French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve this January.

What he omitted to say is that just as many attacks were carried out against Jewish communities.

Just as death does not discriminate, far-right fascist don’t either when it comes to religious semantic. And this hate has been all which politicians, media and officials have spewed over the past months, hate has been vomited onto society, maiming and smiting at innocent people for they carry a difference within their soul.

Interesting how seculars want now to legislate over both the mind and the heart … How does it work exactly?

Will France simply outlaw religion on the basis it disrupts society, as per demonstrated by the outbursts of violence? In truth it might be France’s next argument. Maybe President Hollande will arrange for a broad band on religion to better pacify his countrymen, thus playing directly in the hands of the murderers, while denying victims justice!

Minister Cazeneuve told the Catholic daily La Croix in an interview for Wednesday publication that islamophobic threats or assaults “tripled to some 400 for the year 2015.”

He said more than half occurred in the first quarter of the year after Wahhabi radicals attacked the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in January, claiming 17 lives.

Across the year as a whole “we note a drop of five percent in anti-Semitic attacks, which nonetheless remained at a high level with 806 recorded,” Cazeneuve said.


Cazeneuve added that attacks on Christian places of worship and cemeteries rose 20 percent to 810.

Overall, 2014 had seen 133 attacks on Muslims and 851 of an anti-Semitic nature based on complaints logged with police.

“I cannot accept such acts — they must be severely punished,” Cazeneuve said.

Only Mr Cazeneuve is not looking at the issue of radicalism rationally. All he sees are self-professed Muslims radicals preaching hate. What he should see are Wahhabis radicals and radical seculars preaching hate and generating violence.

Hate, wherever it comes from and however it is expressed is still hate, and as such should always be condemned.

We have a problem today and it is global intolerance – Islam once again does not sit at the heart of the problem, it is quite the opposite actually since prominent clerics such as Ayatollah Sistani have called time and time again for religious cohesion, collaboration and tolerance.

Abdallah Zekri, president of the National Observatory against Islamophobia, said 429 islamophobic attacks or threats had been registered in 2015, the highest since his organisation was established in 2011.

“Islamophobia must be fought and condemned not only by Muslims but also by the national community as a whole,” said Zekri in a statement. “It is no longer possible to hear and accept that politicians can say that Islam is incompatible with the values of the Republic.”

While the number of anti-Semitic attacks in France may have fallen slightly there has been some shocking incidents in recent weeks, notably the case of a self-proclaimed jihadist attacking a Jewish teacher with a machete in Marseille.

That attack led to a row in the Jewish community over whether men should stop wearing the kippah on the grounds of safety.

“Jews continue to be targeted as specific victims within the national community. It is understandable that some make the choice not to wear signs that can point them out and others leave France for Israel or other countries,” said the president of the LICRA (League against Racism and Anti-Semitism), Alain Jakubowicz.

Hate has created a dystopian culture in France, where all minorities have been lumped together in great big ball of fear and mistrust – the new targets of global movement against religion altogether.

By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna

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