Mehreen Khan, 2020-11-03
[This article was removed from the FT after a complaint by the Macron Government! Our comments are greyed out, the rest is quoted from the text.]
Emmanuel Macron will need France’s 6 million Muslims with him if he is to root out the violent extremism that has led to two deadly terrorist attacks on French soil in the past few weeks. The president is at serious risk of failing. In the aftermath, his government has chosen instead to stoke moral panic about the ”Muslim question”. [ □ comment: However for what would be even worse, if the rulers intend to rule by the Machiavellian guidebook, they will think it’s better stoke the flames of fear and hate in order to divide and rule. It only reveals the low quality of leadership.]
He is complaining about separatism and he mentioned ”denominational food menus” and the headscarf as possible signs of separatism in French society. In a debate that is so emotionally charged these words matter. Words such as ”enemies of the republic”, ”Islamoleftists” and ”collaborators” have become part of the French political vernacular.
Suspicions of ”political Islam” (a loosely-defined concept) are seen everywhere: in Muslim organizations, dress choices and even spoken Arabic. France’s finance minister sees female-only hours at public swimming pools as evidence of the state succumbing to its ”insidious” influence.
But infringement on Muslim lives under the banner of secularism risks taking aim at the majority of law-abiding citizens rather than violent criminals. No woman in a headscarf has carried out a terrorist attack in France. That cultural signifiers are seen as seditious shows the debate has moved from upholding civil liberties into policing individual expression.
Mr Macron’s idea to create the ”French Islam” is just a hubristic aim … it betrays an instinct to use the state to prescribe a ”correct” religion – something that has more in common with authoritarian Muslim leaders than enlightenment values of separating church and state.
European Muslims do not need the government writ to make Islam French or British or German. It already is, by virtue of the lives of millions who freely practice their faith and are active citizens in the countries of their birth. All over Europe, Muslims are being asked to prove their loyalty to the state and its values. But in France they are asked to do so while hiding visible signs of their religion for fear of offending the state. They are admonished for not condemning terrorism loudly enough and expected to bear collective responsibility for a nihilistic crimes, which, in the case of the recent attacks, were carried out by foreigners.
It does not have to be this way. The UK has battled the same violent extremism without the wholesale other-ing of its citicens. Muslim are part of France’s history, its present and its future - something extremists on both sides hate to admit.
French Muslims should be Mr Macron’s biggest allies against violent terrorism. Yet rather than embracing them, he has chosen a strategy that serves the far-right and its electoral ambitions. It is a view that thinks a week republic is on the cusp of being overrun by an enemy within.
Come 2022’s presidential election, Mr. Macro will likely tell Muslims they should vote for him to save the republic from the far-right party of Marine Le Pen. That thread is in danger of sounding hollow for Muslims if they are to a subject to a hostile environment from a liberal president.
Other voices 2020-11-03 / 04 (including Indian trolls!) regarding this article:
The oped taken down by the @ft this afternoon
Why indeed the need for a takedown? If the overall thrust of the commentary by @MehreenKhn is sound, normal procedure is to make fixes and append a note. Many will be left with the unfortunate impression Europe's most important paper took cues from Paris on Macron's Islam policy.
It shouldn't have been taken down. People can't defend freedom of expression in one hand and at the same time be ok with it being taken down only because they don't share the same opinion than Mehreen Khan
Everything about it is mischaracterization. It fails to report the beheaded teacher had his name out because "traditional" muslim activists had been harassing him v social media, making false acusations, even to the police.
After his death, many muslim youths "slut-shamed" him...
Shame it was taken down. Also seems to hint at the end to the suggestion Macron is doing this with an eye to taking votes from a future right wing competitor.
This is outrageous - the oped quotes actual ministers?
It's a banal article completely devoid of analysis. Boring.
Welcome to the world Indians resided in - for past decade
Δ CET -lmod: 20210112 09:01 (UTC=09:01 -1h)