The war which led to the destruction of Libya was unnecessary, launched on false pretense and disastrous. This is the conclusion drawn from reading the UK parliamentary report on the War that destroyed Libya and destabilized a continent.

unknownLast May, the head of the French Domestic Intelligence service, the DGSI, a sort of FBI, told a parliamentary commission he felt “we are on the verge of a civil war.”  Patrick Calver said: “one or more new attacks and the confrontation will come.” He was referring to extreme right wing violence in reaction to terrorism.

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Prime Minister Valls says Salafism feeds Islamic terrorism.

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.

thThe 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.

They came in their hundreds of thousands. Jews, Muslims (although fewer than hoped for), Christians and atheists: Students, workers, the unemployed and the bourgeoisie. They said “I am Charlie.” “I am Ahmed.” (the policeman executed at Charlie Hebdo). “I am a Jew.” Or, they just said nothing.

They were anarchists, communists and ultra nationalists, social democrats and conservatives. There were also islamophobes and anti-Semites. The one thing that united them all was their refusal to yield to fear and their desire to keep the freedom to think what they want and to be able to say it in public without facing obscurantist violence. This coming together of those who want the right to disagree with each is extraordinary. France, which gave us the enlightenment, 1789 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still Une Grande Nation.

Nouakchott, Mauritania: On August fourth Mauritanian anti-slavery activists staged a sit-in before a Nouakchott   police station to prevent them from releasing a woman the public prosecutor had just indicted for slavery.  The police intervened.  Thirteen abolitionists were hospitalized and nine arrested with one sentenced to prison for “unauthorized gathering and rebellion”.  The suspected slave owner has disappeared as has the young girl allegedly enslaved.