Macron: Parts of France Are ‘Breeding Grounds’ for Terrorists

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JUNE 21, 2019 : French President Emmanuel Macron is talking to media at the end of an EU Prime Minister and Chief of State Summit on June 21, 2019 in Brussels, Belgium. European Union leaders woll conclude a two-day summit this Friday in which they will discuss …
Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

French president Emmanuel Macron has said there are “breeding grounds for terrorists in France”, in his latest remarks regarding Islamist ideology following two terror attacks in his nation.

Writing in the Financial Times, the centrist French premier said that while France is not fighting against Islam, it is battling “Islamist separatism”, which is antithetical to the secular values of the French Republic.

Mr Macron remarked that since 2015, it was “clear” that “there are breeding grounds for terrorists in France”.

He continued: “In certain districts and on the internet, groups linked to radical Islam are teaching hatred of the Republic to our children, calling on them to disregard its laws.

“That is what I called ‘separatism’ in one of my speeches. If you do not believe me, read the social media postings of hatred shared in the name of a distorted Islam that resulted in Paty’s death.

“Visit the districts where small girls aged three or four are wearing a full veil, separated from boys, and, from a very young age, separated from the rest of society, raised in hatred of France’s values.

“Speak to government prefects who are confronted on the ground with hundreds of radicalised individuals, who we fear may, at any moment, take a knife and kill people.”

The French President made the remarks after Chechen refugee and Islamic extremist Abdoulakh Anzorov murdered and beheaded teacher Samuel Paty last month. Anzorov committed the attack because the teacher had shown his class Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Muslim prophet, Mohammed, during a lesson on freedom of expression.

Subsequently, a Tunisian migrant who had not long been in France, Brahim Aouissaoui, killed three in a knife attack on the grounds of a church in Nice while shouting “Allah hu Akbar” ([my] god is greater [than yours]). One woman was almost beheaded near the font.

Macron was swift in defending French secularism and the right of freedom of expression, sparking protests across the Muslim world, threats by Al-Qaeda, and death threats against teachers and other officials in France.

After the beheading of Mr Paty, Macron began shutting down Islamist associations, and even closed a mosque in Pantin which shared on social media the fatwa call against the teacher before his murder. French police also investigated dozens of people who expressed support for Anzorov and the killing of Paty, including children as young as 12, resulting in a number of convictions and imprisonments.

Interior Minister Gérard Darmanin also said in the wake of Mr Paty’s killing: “It is easy to see how political Islam joins radical Islam and ultimately leads to terrorism.”

“We must fight political Islam with the same force as terrorism,” he added.

Darmanin is not the only political figure to invoke “political Islam”, which author Ayaan Hirsi Ali describes as “a political ideology”.

“Political Islam rejects any kind of distinction between religion and politics, mosque and state. Political Islam even rejects the modern state in favour of a caliphate,” Ms Ali wrote in 2017. She added that for those reasons, political Islam is “fundamentally incompatible with the U.S. Constitution and with the ‘constitution of liberty’ that is the foundation of the American way of life” — and by extension, incompatible with any Western democracy.

In the wake of Monday’s Islamist terror attack in Vienna, committed by ethnic Albanian Kujtim Fejzulai, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said this week that Europe must “fight resolutely” against “political Islam”, the “ideological basis” behind Islamist terrorism.

Noting that he has been in contact with President Macron, he said that the EU must do “much more” to fight political Islam.

“I expect an end to misunderstood tolerance and finally an awareness in all the countries of Europe about how dangerous the ideology of political Islam is to our freedom and to the European way of life,” Chancellor Kurz said.

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