What does the assassination of teacher Samuel Paty say about French society in the face of Islamist terrorism?
She says what we already knew: freedom is deeply threatened. You can now pay with your life for a course given in a college in the Republic. After soldiers, journalists, a priest, assassinated for what they were and what they embodied, it was the turn of a professor, who died of having done his job: everything that made France is target.
Should the French be resigned to experiencing recurring cycles of anger, indignation and meditation while waiting for new tragedies?
We are not allowed to get used to it; we must refrain from learning to live under constant threat. There is more dangerous than an attack, it is a series of attacks. It is through this repetition that Islamism wants to suffocate freedom. In a recent IFOP study, 40% of teachers already declared that they self-censor in their lessons to avoid incidents… How can we expect them to take the risk of teaching history, philosophy and biology normally? , when the slightest susceptibility can lead them to be accused of Islamophobia, to suffer the suspicion of their own institution, and henceforth to run the risk of paying for it with their lives? It is time to pull ourselves together: we not only have the right, but the duty to defend our freedoms, and in particular educational freedom, which arose centuries ago with medieval universities in Europe. But as in many other times in our history, it will involve fighting and taking risks: flowers and candles never won a war.
You call for a reaction, but haven’t we just heard a speech by Emmanuel Macron on Islamist separatism promising new measures?
I have always thought that the word “separatism” was a new version of denial, a modesty that has become more imaginative in an attempt to keep our eyes closed on our enemy, who nevertheless has a very clear name: Islamism. To believe that we are dealing with separatism is still to reassure ourselves on the cheap by considering that our adversaries will be content to cultivate the margins in which they have imposed themselves. But in truth, Islamism does not want to stay on the fringes. He wants everything, our freedoms and our conscience. He demands our silence, and, as the assassination of Samuel Paty proves, he will come and get us if we refuse him. He will wage war until we give in everything, absolutely everything. The government believes it is fighting a scenario of “separation” because it persists in the illusion of the reality of the mortal danger we face. And that is what the emptiness of this new law on separatism testifies.
Hasn’t Gérald Darmanin just demanded the expulsion of 231 radicalized foreigners?
The Ministry of the Interior announces with a martial air that it will, among the individuals listed for terrorist radicalization, “expel 231 deportable foreigners”: but this is normally the elementary work it is responsible for performing! Why do you have to wait until a professor is beheaded to “kick out the deportees”? This announcement only reveals the extent of the general carelessness … How is it that imams of foreign nationality can continue to preach hatred of France without being immediately arrested? That so few Salafist mosques are closed? We have seen the role played by the Pantin mosque in the lynching of Samuel Paty: how is it that it is still active, despite the well-known personalities of the Islamist ecosystem who frequent it? All those who called for revenge against the one who held the most important office in our country must be punished.
How do you judge the reaction of the Muslim community?
The Muslim community is also the playground of the ideological battle that is waged today. All Muslims in France should say, unequivocally, their horror at these crimes. But as in the case of young Mila or your colleague Judith Waintraub, both threatened with death for their criticism of Islamism, many condemnations resemble excuses: after having denounced the ideology which had led to the assassination from Samuel Paty on social media, I saw a lot of comments popping up in response claiming that, in a way, the teacher had been looking for him a bit. An article in your columns recounted how, on the very evening of the professor’s death, many young people in front of his college relativized the event by blaming the victim on the part of the victim: “He insulted our prophet. »All this is not new: after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the minute of silence organized in schools had been the object of unrest in many neighborhoods… Islamism seeks to take the Muslim community hostage: we must lead the fight to loosen the grip that weighs on it, but this also supposes that the Muslims of our country recognize that they have a role to play: since it is in the name of Islam that we kill, it It is up to them to strongly denounce this unequivocal violence and to choose France fully. And those who do not want to embrace our culture, our laws and our taste for freedom are of course free to go and live in countries which correspond to their aspirations.
But how can the politician solve this problem?
Politics do not have to interfere in a debate about the nature of Islam. The government’s first role is simply to enforce the law throughout the country. Expel illegal aliens, put an end to social fraud, identify and destroy radicalization networks, lead a relentless fight against drug trafficking that plagues neighborhoods and finances terrorism: in short, stop giving up and backing down . The lost territories of the Republic have long been identified, in the passivity of the state and the silence of the elites; now is the time to act. The second fundamental challenge is that of education, the key to any future victory if we want to work in the long term …
Isn’t this what the head of state himself advocates when he talks about language learning or the creation of a scientific institute of Islamology?
What a major mistake! The President of the Republic does not have to enter into negotiations with Islam, to offer concessions. We have nothing to concede. Because terrorist attacks have taken place, the state should pour millions of euros into chairs of Islamology? Imagine for a moment that the head of state talks about funding the training of Catholic priests … This is an intellectual shipwreck. How can Emmanuel Macron claim that Muslim civilization “is part of France”, after telling Les Bernardins in 2018 that it was out of the question for him to talk about our Christian roots? This new decline has concrete consequences, in the educational field in particular: the urgency today, if we really want to avoid the communitarian fracturing of our society, is not to increase the teaching of Arabic, but finally guarantee the teaching of French. The language of all students in France is French; other modern languages are part of the teaching, but there is absolutely no reason to give special treatment to Arabic. There should not be several linguistic communities in our country. The real challenge is to make sure that every young person who grows up in France feels French through the culture, the language, the feeling of belonging, the love of a common heritage and the same wonder at what our country bequeaths to us. . The battle of hearts is not lost; but it must be really led. This does not mean stepping back to try to be loved, but on the contrary affirming the value of what we have to transmit and receive together.
Do such objectives seem accessible to you?
I’m not at all optimistic, and to be quite honest I even wonder if it’s already too late. It is possible that the fracturing of our society is now definitive, that it has been made inevitable by the massive migratory flows which have lasted for a long time, and have reached under this government a historic scale. In 2019, more than 300,000 residence permits were issued: this is the equivalent of the city of Bordeaux, which each year legally settles in France. How to remedy the archipelago of our country when such a population, overwhelmingly from Muslim countries, continues to arrive in neighborhoods that are already largely communalized? Perhaps it is too late; but politics is about meeting even challenges that seem insurmountable. And if we still have a chance to rebuild, then it is worth giving it all in.