President Macron along with Also the scourge of Islamist terror
Islamist terror has exploded in France again, said Alexandra Schwartzbrod in Libération (Paris). In the most recent assault a week, three people were stabbed to death in a church Nice with a Tunisian man who had arrived in France months earlier.
The 21-year-old, named as Brahim Aouissaoui, was shot and critically injured by police after exploding in the Notre Dame basilica and murdering two women and a man. He’d tried to behead one of his victims while shouting”Allahu Akbar”.
It was the third largest terror strike on French soil since 14 suspects went on trial over the massacre in the of?ces of Charlie Hebdo magazine at 2015. In September, two people were chased with a terrorist near the magazine’s former of?ces. In October, Samuel Paty, a teacher, was decapitated at a city near Paris by a young Chechen for having revealed his students cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in a lesson. The killings have reignited the controversial debate on the balance between freedom of expression and respect for religious sensitivities.
President Macron has been trying to get to grips with this issue for some while, stated John Lich?eld on Politico (Brussels). A couple of weeks ago, he introduced a bill to combat”Islamist separatism”, and since then authorities have raided the houses of 90 suspected radical Islamists, closed down a mosque, and cautioned 51 Muslim associations they’ll be shut if they are found to be promoting hatred. These are hardly extreme actions. To imply otherwise is”unethical and harmful”: hundreds of French people are killed in Islamist terror attacks in the past several years. Macron’s efforts to realign France’s relationship with its sixmillion-strong Muslim population are completely understandable.
On the contrary, Macron is”fanning the ?ames of Islamophobia” because of his own political ends, ” said Ali Saad on
Al Jazeera (Doha). He’s terri?ed that Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party is draining his support so, in a desperate bid to win back voters, he’s prepared to ostracise France’s Muslims. And his interior minister was even more incendiary, asserting that France is ?ghting a”civil war” and demanding the closure of ethnic food aisles in supermarkets.
The argument over French attitudes to Islam isn’t con?ned into France, said Isabelle Lasserre at Le Figaro (Paris). A tidal wave of”antiFrench fury” has”spread like wild?re” throughout the Islamic world because Macron left his comments on Islamic extremism. In Bangladesh, 40,000 people joined an anti-France rally in which an ef?gy of Macron was burnt. Back in Baghdad, the French ?ag was set alight outside the French embassy. In Malaysia, the former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, has declared that”Muslims have a right to kill millions of French people”. In Saudi Arabia, a guard was Hurt in an attack at a French consulate. France has long been the target of Islamist terror due to its colonial past, commitment to secularism and military ventures in the Middle East and Africa — but Macron’s perceived assault on Islam has revived anti-French sentiment on a huge scale.
Not least in the mind of Turkey’s President Erdogan, said Le Monde (Paris). Still seething over a cartoon printed in Charlie Hebdo that made him look ridiculous, he’s urged his countrymen to boycott all French products. Muslims, he said, are “exposed to a lynch campaign much like this against Jews in Europe before World War II”, and Macron needed”a mental health test” for talking as he did about Islam — remarks that led France to recall its ambassador to Turkey. Erdogan introduces himself as winner of the Muslim world, ” said Shamil Shams at Deutsche Welle (Bonn). Yet attacking people who utilize their right to free speech — even when that involves caricaturing religious ?gures — only entrenches the false opinion that”all Muslims are intolerant”. Tackling terrorism without resorting to racism is a hard enough challenge: it is one that won’t be helped by the likes of Erdogan fanning the ?ames from afar.