French Govt Rejects ‘Islamophobia’ Term, Says Islamists Use It as a ‘Weapon’ Against Freedoms

Protesters hold a banner and a Palestinian flag during a demonstration against a bill dubbed as "anti-separatism" and islamophobia in Paris on March 21, 2021. - A divisive debate takes place in France about what French President has termed "Islamist separatism," in which Islamists are said to be flouting French …
ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images

The French government has rejected the use of the term “Islamophobia”, saying Islamists use it to silence criticism of radical Islam.

The French Interministerial Committee for the Prevention of Delinquency and Radicalisation rejected the term earlier this week, stating: “To speak of hatred against Muslims, the term ‘Islamophobia’ is inappropriate since it confuses the stigmatisation of believers with criticism of Islam.”

“It is not allowed to call for hatred or discrimination against religious groups. But it is permissible to criticise belief systems or philosophical views. It’s freedom of speech,” the committee added, in comments reported by newspaper Le Figaro.

According to the committee, the term is also used by Islamists to defend radicalism: “The term ‘Islamophobia’ was imposed by the Islamists with the aim of prohibiting any form of criticism of radical Islam, under the guise of a — fallacious — defence of the Muslim religion.”

After noting the cases of Charlie Hebdo, author Salman Rushdie, and the murder of teacher Samuel Paty, the committee stated that Islamophobia was being used by Islamists as a way to introduce blasphemy laws, and said: “The state refuses to use the term ‘Islamophobia’ which is only the weapon of Islamists against freedoms and the Republic.”

Similar arguments were advanced over ten years ago by the late Christopher Hitchens in 2009, when the term ‘Islamophobia’ was first gaining traction.

“You will be told that you can’t complain because you’re ‘Islamophobic’. The term is already being introduced into the culture as if it was an accusation of race hatred, for example, or bigotry — whereas it’s only the objection to the preachings of a very extreme and absolutist religion,” he warned.

“Watch out for these symptoms. They are the symptoms of surrender, very often ecumenically offered to you by men of God in other robes; Christian, and Jewish, and smarmy ecumenical — these are the ones who will hold open the gates for the barbarians.

“The barbarians never take the city until someone holds the gates open for them, and it’s your own preachers who will do it for you, and your own multicultural authorities who will do it for you. Resist it while you can.”

The French governemnt announcement comes just weeks after 25 Islamic groups from across Europe condemned the government of French President Emmanuel Macron over accusations of “Islamophobia”, including the controversial UK group CAGE, which former French ministerial delegate Gilles Clavreul said was “linked to the international Islamist movement, including the jihadist movement”.

Since a radical Muslim refugee murdered Samuel Paty in October of last year, the French government has clamped down on several Islamist organisations.

One of the groups, the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), chose to dissolve itself ahead of a government decision voluntarily but is believed to have relocated to Belgium under the name Collective Against Islamophobia in Europe (CCIE).

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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