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Macron slammed for ‘Islam in crisis’ comment

30th Oct 2020
Macron slammed for ‘Islam in crisis’ comment

French President, Emmanuel Macron is accused of emboldening the far-right and pandering to anti-Muslim leftists. (Credit: Jacques Paquier/Flickr Commons)

Nadine Osman

French President, Emmanuel Macron, insistence that Islam is “in crisis” around the world, has prompted backlash from Muslim activists and academics, with many accusing him of emboldening the far-right and pandering to anti-Muslim leftists.

Macron made the Islamophobic statement on October 2 during a speech introducing a new law against religious “separatism”. The new law is designed to “liberate French Islam from foreign influences”. His speech was a broad outline of the measures, drafted for a law to be presented in December to strengthen a 1905 law that separated church and state.

Local officials will be given extra-legal powers to combat extremism while money will be invested in education, particularly of Islamic culture and civilisation.“Our challenge is to fight against those who go off the rails in the name of religion … while protecting those who believe in Islam and are full citizens of the republic,” Macron said.

The measures include placing mosques under greater control and ensure that imams arriving from abroad receive training before they gain certification.Islamic NGOs that receive state funding will have to sign a “secular charter” whole those promoting ideologies that are opposing French ideals could be disbanded and €10 million of public funds would be used to finance higher education studies and research into Islamic culture and civilisation.

“The country has been hit by Islamic terrorism since 2012, and we have progressively rearmed against this threat,” he said. “Radical Islamism” had shown a “willingness to contravene the laws of the republic, to promote other values … to organise another society.”

Lawmaker Valerie Boyer of the conservative Les Republicains Party criticized what she called Macron’s “discourse of victimization” about France’s historical responsibilities, but welcomed “this vast programme against the Islamist poison.”

On the hard right, lawmaker Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, said Macron had “at last woken up” but his measures would not be enough to “combat Islamism”. Left-wing lawmaker Alexis Corbiere accused Macron of being partly responsible for the “growth of Islamism” by failing to reverse a decline in public services in poorer areas.

International human rights researcher at the University Toulouse-Capitole, Rim-Sarah Alaoune, tweeted that the President has ‘described Islam as “a religion that is in crisis all over the world today.” This remark is so dumb (sorry it is) that it does not need any further analysis.’

She noted that his speech made, ‘No mention of white supremacy even though we are the country that exported the racist and white supremacist theory of the ‘great replacement’, used by the terrorist who committed the horrific massacre in #Christchurch.’

Former Portuguese Europe Minister, Bruno Maçães said, “Macron is no longer hiding his feelings about Islam. No longer radical Islam, now it’s just Islam that is the problem.”

Yasser Louati, a French civil rights activist, tweeted, ‘The repression of Muslims has been a threat, now it is a promise. In a one hour, speech #Macron buried #laicite, emboldened the far-right, anti-Muslim leftists and threatened the lives of Muslim students by calling for a drastic limit on homeschooling despite a global pandemic.’

In statement conveyed to Macron, Secretary General of the International Union for Muslim Scholars Ali al-Qaradaghi said, “Do not worry about our religion as it never relied on the support of an authority or raised a sword in the face of those who opposed it to impose its banner/self.”

He added, “The future is for the religion of Islam and we are in fear for the future of societies that make other people’s religions and sanctities legitimate targets. We pity a ruler who is still living in crisis and the specter of religious wars of the middle ages,” al-Qaradaghi said, adding, “If there is a real crisis, it is due to the double standards of some western politicians.”

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