Paris, France: Muslim fundamentalists are challenging France’s ‘line in the sand’ and the battle is now in one of the most prestigious of French institutions founded by Napoleon.
The French ‘Grande Ecole’, Sciences Politiques, was Tuesday the scene of a very strange event which is creating quite a tempest in France: Hijab Day. Muslim students at the school called on their fellow female students to wear the Islamic headscarf for a day in a bid to “demystify the cloth.”
Tübingen, Germany: When German comedian, Jan Böhmermann, did a satirical sketch on state run ZDF TV this month, accusing the Turkish president of “repressing minorities, kicking Kurds and slapping Christians” as well as suggesting he has “sex with sheep and goats,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan went ballistic and called for the satirist to be prosecuted under a little known German defamation law. The row has opened a Pandora’s box of troubles for German Chancellor Angela Merkel: should the law be scrapped; how far does free speech and satire go; what grip does the Turkish president have around the Chancellor’s throat?
Imams who tell young children they will turn into pigs and go to Hell if they listen to music; public bus drivers who refuse to drive a vehicle after a woman had driven it; airport baggage handlers who want to stop work several times a day to pray; project thugs who aggress girls not wearing a headscarf; men with several undeclared wives collecting generous family allotments for the children: just a few of the manifestations of Islamic fundamentalism those on both the left and the right claim is sweeping France.
Are hardline islamists, known as Salafists, promoting the recruitment of young French Muslims for terrorism through their preaching? The question is important because the debate in France this week could lead to the banning of a form of religious thought. Although “not all Salafists are Jihadists, all Jihadists are culturally Salafists,” said the French researcher on Islam, Gilles Kepel.
Stepping into the Breach: religion and sexual repression: Much is being said of intolerance in western societies, as if this somehow justifies the violent anger of young muslims against the countries they were born in. Self flagellation is not going to resolve a dilemma whose roots are also religious. Misogyny and homophobia have theological support and one is Sharia laws.
Moroccan courts have sentenced two homosexuals, who were beat to a pulp in the town of Beni Mallal, to prison for the crime of being homosexual. They actually got stiffer sentences than their aggressors.
France’s Minister for Family and Women’s Affairs this week lambasted fashion houses for proposing Islamic clothing for women. Laurence Rossignol said it is “irresponsible” for major brands like Marks & Spencer’s to promote the “confining of women’s bodies.” At question is everything from the ‘burkini’ bathing suit to high-end head scarves.
The Friday the 13th Massacre has led France to declare itself at war. A 90 day state of emergency is in effect and many basic liberties are suspended. Magistrates are sidelined while the police call the shots. Only six out of 577 Members of Parliament voted against the emergency measures. This is the result of Frenchmen, born and raised in France, who took up arms against their compatriots. While France bombs Syria in a bid to deflect the real problem the debate we should be having is not being held: ‘Why did this happen?’ and yes, ‘Does Islam have anything to do with it?’
The debate in France this week centers on Islamophobia and is sparked by the publishing of two books. The first by Charb (1), one of the artists killed in the January 7 Charlie Hebdo attack and the second by a Journalist, Caroline Fourest(2).
Both reject attempts to stifle debate on Islam by labeling any who criticize the religion of Mohammed as “Islamophobes.” They write that in reality, the crusade against Islamaphobia is an attempt to weaken secularism; to put religion above the laws of the land.
The man who got on a Parisian bus with me Wednesday was an Arab who had not shaven in four days. He had dark olive skin and kinky black hair and was visibly unbalanced: drugs? He sang to a popular tune “I’m going on Jihad. Won’t you come on Jihad with me too?” He risks five years in prison and a 75 thousand euro fine.
In the first six days after the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, 54 people were charged with “apology for terrorism” under a tough law voted in the French parliament last November which can jail someone, if they express their “support for terrorism” on the electronic media: FaceBook, Twitter etc., to up to seven years and fine them 100 thousand euros .
France’s “war on terrorism” has begun. The new law allows the “apologists” to be brought before a judge as soon as they are arrested in a process called “comparution immediate”; that is without time to prepare a defense. It is a law for a time of war.