Macron digging deeper hole for himself

25th Dec 2020
Macron digging deeper hole for himself

The French president Emmanuel Macron (Credit: Kremlin.ru/CC)

Despite warnings to the contrary, French President Emmanuel Macron has proceeded with his controversial campaign to fight so-called ‘separatism.’

Dozens of mosques have been raided, the country’s largest anti-Islamophobia NGO has been dissolved, the only Muslim school has been closed, and a ban declared on all homeschooling. In effect, Muslims in France are once again being scapegoated by politicians to deflect from real problems facing the country.

Draconian measures in the new draft law to tackle ‘separatism’, published on December 9, are directed against Muslims, and their religion yet explicitly mentions neither. It comes after the French President went as far as claiming that Islam was “in crisis” and threatened to “liberate French Islam from foreign influences.”

His outburst came after a spate of terror attacks which claimed four lives following Charlie Hebdo magazine announcing it will republish offensive caricatures yet again that sparked violent protests.

Macron insists he can “respect” and “understand the sentiments” of Muslims offended by the blasphemous cartoons. In contrast to right-wing leaderships in the United States, United Kingdom and some eastern European countries, he has tried to cultivate an image abroad as a defender of liberalism since coming to power in 2017.

Despite his repeated assertions that Muslims shouldn’t be stigmatised, he has done the opposite while courting conservatives at home, including appointing Gérald Darmanin as interior minister, considered a hardliner. Whether Macron has an eye on his re-election in 2022, it is a highly-dangerous game he seems to be playing by the way he is pitting himself to rival far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Like in many western countries, Muslims have felt let down by the majority of political parties and France is far from being an exception, rather the reverse, by already banning the Muslim veil in public. Macron’s Prime Minister, Jean Castex, is said to have dismissed the idea of making amends for France’s colonisation of regions including in North Africa and the Sahel, from where many of its Muslims can trace their roots.

Presenting Muslims in such negative stereotypical way does no one any favours. Blaming Muslims for the deep divisions within French secular society is hardly being amicable towards accepting followers of the country’s second-largest religion after Christians.

As in the UK, the community is not opposed to integration but only to the false claims made about Muslims. It is time for Macron to stop digging a deeper hole for himself by his confrontational policy to set one side against another but to work with all sectors to unite his country.

 

France shuts down its only anti-Islamophobia NGO and sole Muslim school, bans homeschooling and raids several mosques

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