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HomeGeopolitical CompassEurope, Russia, OceaniaFrance's State-Sanctioned Islamophobia is the Biggest Threat to the Republic

France’s State-Sanctioned Islamophobia is the Biggest Threat to the Republic

Author: François Burgat 

Affiliation: France CNRS 

Organization/Publisher: Middle East Eye 

Date/Place: November 25, 2020/UK

Type of Literature: Article 

Word Count: 2300 

Link:https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/banning-frances-collective-against-islamophobia-will-endanger-rule-law 

KeywordsIslamophobia, France, Macron, Republic, Laicite 

Brief:

 

With the gruesome beheading of schoolteacher Samuel Paty in reaction to his showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH  to school children, French president Emmanuel Macron’s speech came as a big disappointment to French Muslims. Indeed, Muslims all around the world were appalled at the blatant mockery of their religion in the guise of the French republic’s prized ideal: freedom of speech. However, the author argues that Macron’s reaction was motivated out of posturing to his far-right electoral opponents that he can uphold the republic’s venerated laïcité (secularism). In the atmosphere of Islamophobia cultivated by groups like the Republican Spring and theorists like Bernard Lewis, the French state has also caved into anxieties about “Islamist ecosystems” within its territory. Old fears of Islam encroaching into Europe and violently clashing with the republic’s ideals have resurfaced, leading the state to make decisions based on paranoia. Such paranoia has only isolated French Muslims and pushed the less fortunate to banlieues, manifesting the myths into reality. Macron briefly acknowledged the separatism leading to radicalization but seems to be fueling the same embers by targeting NGOs dedicated to fighting Islamophobia within France. An example for that is the Collective Against Islamophobia (CCIF) which was dissolved on grounds of baseless accusations of helping ISIS recruit fighters. The author likens it to banning trade-unions in the fight against anti-capitalist terrorism or banning NGOs who fight against anti-Semitism. In this way, France is sending a clear signal to its citizens: the only Muslims that are acceptable are those that fit in the bounds of the republic; an Islam that is unrecognizable to Muslims. 

By: Sahar Sadiq, CIGA Research Intern

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