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Furor in France: Mission civilisatrice and ‘muslim rage” in the motherland

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As Muslims around the world protest their contemptuous treatment by the West, catalyzed by the provocative, racist American film Innocence of Muslims, the French media added fuel to the fire of by publishing offensive cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. Left-wing alt-weekly Charlie Hebdo ran cartoons that depicted a naked, turbaned Muhammad in profoundly racist and offensive ways. To make matters worse, French interior minister Manuel Valls announced that demonstrations against Islamophobia would be officially banned and that “any incitement to hatred must be fought with the greatest firmness.”

In Paris, 150 protestors (out of 250) were arrested after a peaceful protest at the US embassy—and on Friday, protest permits were withheld as Valls warned that police would be on alert to break up any unauthorized protests by force.

The French government denounced the cartoons as “irresponsible,” and European Affairs Minister Bernard Cazeneuve lectured that “when you are free, in a country like ours, you always have to measure the impact of your words.”

In practice, though, it appears that “measuring one’s words” applies more to Kate Middleton’s topless photos than to racist bigotry. A French judge issued an injunction against further publication of the Middleton photos in the interest of decency, while no such consideration was given to the decency of publishing openly racist imagery. Such blatantly disparate choices in the same week expose a colonial mindset: while royalty should be treated as, for the lack of a better word, royalty, ex–colonial subjects (most French Muslims are from former French colonies) may be denigrated with impunity and their right to protest and exercise free speech may be curtailed.

French Muslims have had much to protest; the cartoons are only the tip of the iceberg. They are treated as second-class citizens in a variety of ways, and in recent years angry protests by French Muslims and their left-wing allies have demanded decent living conditions in the working-class banlieues as well as labor rights for undocumented workers.Recently demonstrations in Gennevilliers raised the injustice of the firing of four Muslim workers for fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

What is particularly insidious is that behind the much-vaunted French tradition of liberté, égalité, fraternité, a colonial mentality can masquerade as progressiveness.  Full-face coverings such as the burqa and the niqab were banned from the public streets in 2011. This follows upon the nearly decade-long ban in public schools of religious coverings, particularly the hijab.  Both these acts were justified on the grounds that they “promote secularism” and “protect” Muslim women from oppression; violators are fined or forced to attend classes on “French citizenship.” 

A full two centuries after Napoleon invaded Egypt and promised to bring liberty to its people, his mission civilisatrice (civilizing mission) remains alive and well.  Ironically, though, Napoleon actually proffered greater respect for Islam—even going so far as to claim that the French were “Muslims” in his widely circulated manifesto—than his descendants today. [1]

The French have a long and proud tradition of massive street protests, but it would appear that this tradition is reserved for the “right” kind of people.  A poll by the survey group TNS found that 58 percent of French respondents thought that freedom of speech was a “fundamental right,” yet 71 percent supported the ban on Muslim protest. 

The propaganda that is responsible for winning this sort of consent is rooted in a long history of presenting Muslims as an “other” who must be brought into the fold and taught the “right”—or French—way to live.

Such attitudes are widespread among imperial nations. The US magazine Newsweek ran a cover photo of bearded, angry Muslim men with the headline “Muslim Rage.” Picking up the baton from Bernard Lewis, whose 1990 essay “The Roots of Muslim Rage” introduced the world to the term “clash of civilizations,” former Dutch parliament member and rabid Islamophobe Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote that furious, violent rage is “the defining characteristic of Islam.”

If we allow them to protest, the logic goes, there will be no stopping the flood of Muslim rage.  And so, rather than extending the courtesies of the famed French freedom of speech to its Arab and Muslim citizens, the “socialist” François Hollande administration has responded by banning their voices entirely from the public debate. Charlie Hebdo, whose Paris offices are under police protection, sold out of its Muhammad issue last Wednesday.

Such racist hypocrisy is not new to the French left.  For instance, the French Communist Party did not support the Algerian struggle for national liberation.  Jean-Paul Sartre, in his preface to Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, blasted his compatriots: “You who are so liberal, so humane, who take the love of culture to the point of affectation, you pretend to forget that you have colonies where massacres are committed in your name.” 

Today, while the sun has long set on the French empire, its colonial mindset and ideology persist.

It should come as no surprise, then, that when one group of people is targeted as France’s “other,” the floodgates open wide to other forms of racism. Charlie Hebdo’s racist cartoons not only depict the Prophet in profoundly offensive ways, but also include anti-Semitic caricatures of Jewish rabbis. And when the hijab was banned in French schools, so were Jewish students’ yarmulkes.

National Front fascist Marine Le Pen, who won nearly 18 percent of the vote in the first round of presidential elections earlier this year, called publicly this week for a ban on yarmulkes on the public streets, stating that it was an “obvious” logical extension of the ban on Muslim veils.

The mixing of anti-Jewish with anti-Muslim sentiment, illustrated so viscerally in the disgusting Charlie Hebdo cartoons, dates back at least to the first Crusade in 1099, when Muslims and Jews alike were swept out of Jerusalem and murdered in the first pogroms. The crusaders even stopped in Germany on their way east to murder Jews there.  During the Reconquista of Moorish Spain, too, Jews who had been living peacefully side by side with Muslims were driven out and murdered by Christians.  (Many fled to safety in the Muslim Ottoman Empire.)  Islamophobia and anti-Semitism have coexisted for at least a millennium. 

Throughout history, when one ethnic group has been targeted as evil, dangerous, or threatening, such treatment has opened the door to the oppression of other minorities and this has been especially true of Jews and Muslims in Europe.

In the twenty-first century ,we have seen a wave of struggles explode across the Middle East and North Africa that have inspired people in the US, Spain, Greece, and elsewhere. This time, the Western left has to get it right—we have to learn the lessons of the past and eschew ethnocentrism in the interest of true international solidarity. If liberté, égalité, fraternité are to mean anything, they must apply equally to everyone—not least of all to our Muslim brothers and sisters.

Notes

1 See the discussion in Deepa Kumar’s Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire, p. 27.

Deepa Kumar and Sarah Grey

Deepa Kumar is an Associate Professor of media studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University. She is the author of the recently release book Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire. Sarah Grey is a freelance writer, book editor, and indexer at Grey Editing in Philadelphia. Her work has been published in International Socialist Review, Monthly Review, GRID, Motivos, and 101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed US History, forthcoming from Haymarket Books.

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60 Responses

  1. marc b. on September 25, 2012, 2:34 pm

    Such racist hypocrisy is not new to the French left. For instance, the French Communist Party did not support the Algerian struggle for national liberation. Jean-Paul Sartre, in his preface to Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth, blasted his compatriots: “You who are so liberal, so humane, who take the love of culture to the point of affectation, you pretend to forget that you have colonies where massacres are committed in your name.”

    that’s an important piece in all of this ‘hypocrisy’ as sartre put it. france’s relationship to and exploitation of n. africa played a large part in muslim immigration to france. the relationship between algeria and france is somewhat analogous to the relationship between the US and mexico.

  2. Phil Perspective on September 25, 2012, 3:00 pm

    So Charlie Hebdo ran cartoons that were offensive to two religions? Have they always been this way? It’s not very left-ish of them to pull such stupid stunts.

    • on September 25, 2012, 3:46 pm

      “It’s not very left-ish of them to pull such stupid stunts.”

      I would suggest that it’s not to some culturally Anglo-Saxon people with no tradition of anticlericalism, of fight against religion and all the other things that are an inseparable part of the fight against Imperialism, Capitalism etc., to pontify about what is “Left” or not.

      Many of us are in this *because* we hate religion. Anticlericalism is what the thinking of what you are calling “Left” developed out of. Attacking the religious idiocy and any limits on free speech is in the best tradition, and Charlie Hebdo has consistently kept it alive longer than you have been around.

      One can sometimes consider alliances with religious people, but please keep to yourself your crazy concepts that turn history on its head. It is almost as bad as calling the Democrats “progressive” or the Zionists “democratic”.

      • marc b. on September 25, 2012, 7:59 pm

        Many of us are in this *because* we hate religion. Anticlericalism is what the thinking of what you are calling “Left” developed out of. Attacking the religious idiocy and any limits on free speech is in the best tradition, and Charlie Hebdo has consistently kept it alive longer than you have been around.

        yet the stupid french and their secular pseudo-socialist tendencies have exchanged the worship of god for the worship of ‘the state’, and so now ‘the state’ goes around establishing norms for appropriate conduct, banning this, prosecuting that.

      • on September 26, 2012, 1:15 am

        “…establishing norms for appropriate conduct” in the public sphere, not in private life.
        “Stupid?” For you, perhaps; you as an American or Britisher are very probably comfortable with a state that violates the establishment clause, and happy about it. Other people are not. It took hundreds of years to get gods and devils out of public space, no need to bring back the curse.
        [And don’t start mixing “socialism” with freedom from religion]

      • Woody Tanaka on September 26, 2012, 9:00 am

        ?”yet the stupid french and their secular pseudo-socialist tendencies have exchanged the worship of god for the worship of ‘the state’, and so now ‘the state’ goes around establishing norms for appropriate conduct, banning this, prosecuting that.”

        Well, given the choice between letting the people decide what should or should not be allowed in their society and letting priests and religious nuts do it, the former should be chosen over the latter by any reasoning person.

      • marc b. on September 26, 2012, 1:12 pm

        very probably comfortable with a state that violates the establishment clause, and happy about it.

        that’s not my point. i am not comfortable with ‘a state that violates the establishment clause.’ but on the other hand ‘secular’ doesn’t mean value neutral. the french are practising racism as they hide behind the skirt of secularism. secularists pretend that they are simply erasing an antiquated set of values, producing a liberated citizenry, and allowing ‘individualism’ and individual practice to fill the void, but in fact they are swapping in another set of values with very little debate over the substituted morality. if you’re french, go read your baudrillard or serres or whomever. they’ve gone over this issue from a variety of angles.

      • marc b. on September 26, 2012, 1:21 pm

        given the choice between letting the people decide what should or should not be allowed in their society and letting priests and religious nuts do it, the former should be chosen over the latter by any reasoning person.

        but woody, it’s not ‘the people’ who get to decide anything. it’s insurance companies and lawyers and codes of appropriate behavior as dreamt up by ad men.

      • Walid on September 27, 2012, 3:30 am

        “… the french are practising racism as they hide behind the skirt of secularism. secularists pretend that they are simply erasing an antiquated set of values, producing a liberated citizenry, and allowing ‘individualism’ and individual practice to fill the void… ” (marc b.)

        Not many countries aren’t practising some form of racism; hard for me to think of any at this moment. The French started the pretending in the 1790s supposedly as a step towards full national emancipation. Naturalizing the Jews back then and calling them “Israelites” to distance them from their customs and the word “Jew” was racist. They’ve been at it since but now their racist efforts are directed mainly against North-African Arabs. Ministre Valls has a problem with Muslims wearing veils but no problems with Jews wearing a kippah.

      • on September 27, 2012, 1:31 pm

        “Naturalizing the Jews back then and calling them “Israelites” to distance them from their customs and the word “Jew” was racist.”

        Naturalizing, i.e. defining people as citizens just as any others, is usually the diametral contrary of racism. I cannot imagine what non-linear logic you are following.

        As for the term “Israelite”, it was expressly requested by practically the entire Jewish community because “Jew” was an expression of extreme contempt.

        As for customs, what “customs” except for religious liturgy in the case of religious individuals?

      • aiman on September 26, 2012, 1:57 am

        “Many of us are in this *because* we hate religion. Anticlericalism is what the thinking of what you are calling “Left” developed out of. Attacking the religious idiocy and any limits on free speech is in the best tradition, and Charlie Hebdo has consistently kept it alive longer than you have been around. ”

        Yes but one must ask if you are equally comfortable with religious people who hate you for being an atheist. Anticlericalism does not equate to antipathy toward a belief. This goes both ways. Hating anyone based on his worldview is silly. The largest religious corruptions of the 20th/21st century have come through the state as have anti-religious corruptions like Pol Pot’s communism. The state should be founded on egalitarian equality for all citizens and not interfere in what people choose to believe. Provincial French arguments should be kept inside France just as provincial fundamentalist arguments should be kept to a “religious” state. I don’t want to be told by religious and secular fundamentalists, whose fundamentalism is derived from a callous subjectivity, how the world should be run outside.

      • on September 26, 2012, 9:03 pm

        “The state should be founded on egalitarian equality for all citizens and not interfere in what people choose to believe”
        That’s exactly why all religious symbols are to be kept strictly in private life. Allowin any on public property is a violation of the establishment clause. Now, of course this is provincial, i.e. interior to each European country, but it will have serious repercussions reaching Palestine and the solidarity movement.

      • aiman on September 27, 2012, 2:36 am

        “That’s exactly why all religious symbols are to be kept strictly in private life. Allowin any on public property is a violation of the establishment clause. Now, of course this is provincial, i.e. interior to each European country, but it will have serious repercussions reaching Palestine and the solidarity movement.”

        Why just religious symbols? As Hannah Arendt put it: “The defiance of established authority, religious and secular, social and political, as a world-wide phenomenon may well one day be accounted the outstanding event of the last decade.” The provincial French argument overlooks the fact that it is established authority that is the problem, not religious symbols. Chomsky’s disciples will repeat the provincial refrain of their guru that the state is like religion, which is an absolute joke. The state is the state. It is the established authority, whether religious or secular, that is the problem.

      • on September 27, 2012, 9:26 pm

        “The state is the state. It is the established authority, whether religious or secular, that is the problem.”
        Sure, anytime. But before getting there, make sure that there is no violation of the establishment clause because that, with war of aggression and the ritual murder of humans called “death penalty”, is one of my three criteria in order to know if I am in a relatively civilized country or not. May be different for you.

  3. piotr on September 25, 2012, 3:18 pm

    AFP. A POLICE helicopter and 60 riot police deployed in central Marseille to prevent any protests about anti-Islam cartoons, but only a single demonstrator turned out.

    Around 30 journalists were also on hand to witness the man’s attempt to defy an official ban on protests about a French magazine that published cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.

    “I may be the only one today but I am the spokesman of a silent majority,” Omar Djellil, whose request to hold a legal demo was turned down by police, told reporters as he harangued passers-by from atop a concrete block.

    Mr Djellil proceeded to stick posters on nearby walls in the southern port city that read “Hebdo Pigs” and “French Muslims don’t need authorisation to defend their rights”.

    “Hebdo Pigs” was a reference to the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which on Wednesday published cartoons of a naked Prophet Mohammed.
    FREE 28 Day Trial last Chance

    A police source said there was no question of arresting Mr Djellil, especially as he was on his own.

    French Interior Minister Manuel Valls had said he would not sanction any protests this weekend on the grounds they would inevitably represent a threat to public order.

    Riot police were deployed in several areas of Paris to enforce the ban on protests over the cartoons and over a film mocking the Prophet Mohammed that has enraged Muslims around the world.

    By mid-afternoon, there were no reports of anyone trying to protest in the capital.

    • Woody Tanaka on September 25, 2012, 3:42 pm

      I thought that we in the West are supposed to be so protective of our freedoms. I have one question: isn’t the freedom peaceably to assemble as important a right as freedom of speech? Why is it so horrible to curb free speech, but not to curb freedom of assembly?

      • ColinWright on September 25, 2012, 4:52 pm

        Woody Tanaka says: ” Why is it so horrible to curb free speech, but not to curb freedom of assembly?”

        That’s a silly-ass question. It’s because in this case, it’s the Islamophobes who want to engage in free speech, but it’s the Muslims who want to assemble.

      • on September 26, 2012, 1:23 am

        “Why is it so horrible to curb free speech, but not to curb freedom of assembly?”
        Because the new French government is so eager to surpass the former one in fascist emulation -just like Obama and Blair. Next thing Hollande will be kissing ass in Jerusalem…

      • EscapeVelocity on September 26, 2012, 1:56 am

        Indeed, Mr. Tanaka.

  4. moshen on September 25, 2012, 5:28 pm

    I agree with most of what Kumar said and share his views on French politics. But I disagree when he writes that the bigoted politics target solely or mainly Islam and Judaism. Christianity is equally being openly dragged through the mire in the name of free speech or secularism albeit not as much as Islam (yet, in my opinion, more than Judaism which can be explained by the persisting feelings of guilt for WW2).
    As to Charlie Hebdo, I wouldn’t even say it is an anti-religious act. I think the magazine mainly wants to challenge those who dare to challenge absolute free speech. And according to them the best way to do so is through childish provocations.

    • EscapeVelocity on September 26, 2012, 2:03 am

      moshen said: Christianity is equally being openly dragged through the mire in the name of free speech or secularism albeit not as much as Islam.

      Partner, Christianity has taken the brunt of the hostility, slander, ridicule, mocking, criticism from the Western Left for the last 2 centuries….rapidly accelerating since the 1960s.

      In fact it is still perfectly acceptable under Political Correctness to do so…..where Islam is protected by the Doctrine of Political Correctness.

      • ColinWright on September 26, 2012, 2:36 am

        Escape Velocity: “moshen said: Christianity is equally being openly dragged through the mire in the name of free speech or secularism albeit not as much as Islam.

        Partner, Christianity has taken the brunt of the hostility, slander, ridicule, mocking, criticism from the Western Left for the last 2 centuries….rapidly accelerating since the 1960s.

        In fact it is still perfectly acceptable under Political Correctness to do so…..where Islam is protected by the Doctrine of Political Correctness.”

        That’s not really relevant. People are forever trying to convert me to Christianity — although over the years I’ve perfected a look of stony disinterest that seems to stop them in their tracks pretty good.

        No one’s ever tried to convert me to Islam. If all the Christians were as far away as all the Muslims were, they could have at it, and I would be equally admiring, tolerant, and prepared to concede the merits of their faith.

        I’d be even more sympathetic if it appeared to me that the Christians were the target of a concerted campaign of vitriolic hatred organized by a lot of incipient Nazis with access to nuclear weapons.

      • EscapeVelocity on September 26, 2012, 3:38 am

        I tried to reply, but sometimes my comments are censored.

        Here is the quick version.

        Persuasion and marketing are part of a free society. That extends to people promoting and selling Christianity.

        Cold War….look into it.

      • HemiFaulk on September 26, 2012, 12:28 pm

        You may have hit a nerve there, running the danger of damaging the central nervous system of those who see all religion as evil, which may result in mildly schizophrenic reactions.

        By the same token many Popes and other alleged Christian leaders displayed delusional perceptions as they hijacked their beloved religion and fomented war and other unrest in their pursuit of political power and riches. Such as the Fourth Crusade, created more out of boredom and lack of available jobs than any religious purpose, but they got detoured by the Venetians who got paid off by Muslims to keep them out of Jerusalem, so after the Venetians stopped in a few places and robbed-raped-pillaged, much to the chagrin of Crusaders who were along for the ride, they sailed to Constantinople where they came up with the bright idea to attack and assail the walls of Eastern Christianity. See Schism for earlier details.

        As the new regime took over after much death and battle and abuse, they installed themselves in churches and other establishments they had stolen and it morphed into orgies and continuous violence, power struggles, and embarrassment for a Pope who wanted the spoils of the illicit battle and seemed to not care much for his Eastern Brethren. Anyway that is one example of hijacking religion which resulted not in schizophrenia, but actual fear and disrespect of the Faith. Muslims attack each other as do Jews, see world history for details. During the 20th century many of the legal attacks on Christianity are tainted with the stain of Marxism and though I see your point, the non-Marxist criticisms are not completely without merit.

        I have this fantasy… If Muslims, Christians and Jews practiced their Faiths as detailed in their accompanying literature, without being hijacked by those who have ulterior motives and desires for great riches and\or political power, whether they be Rabbis-Priests-Imams-kings-queens-politicos’, then we can all get out of the business of fear of others that results in constant warfare and enter a new age of peace. Like I said, I have this fantasy…

      • Walid on September 27, 2012, 1:39 am

        “… Such as the Fourth Crusade, created more out of boredom and lack of available jobs than any religious purpose, but they got detoured by the Venetians who got paid off by Muslims to keep them out of Jerusalem, so after the Venetians stopped in a few places and robbed-raped-pillaged, much to the chagrin of Crusaders who were along for the ride, they sailed to Constantinople where they came up with the bright idea to attack and assail the walls of Eastern Christianity. ” (HemiFaulk)

        Hemi, you’re already fantasizing in pinning the sack of Constantinople on the Muslims. It happened when the Venetians didn’t get paid by Crusaders for the ships they had spent a year building for them. The Crusaders decided to loot Constantinople and a few other places to pay for the ships and to settle an old grievance they had with the Greeks and to get rich in the process.

      • HemiFaulk on October 11, 2012, 9:57 pm

        I am suggesting there was influence that may have been indirectly financial that benefited the Venetians and that this influence came from financial interests in Muslims lands and dealt more with North Africa and exploitation of resources there. Such as cooperate and keep them Christians out of Jerusalem and receive a benefit on some trade elsewhere, but I could not recall those details off the top of my head.

        I did not intend to imply Islam or the Muslims were directly responsible for the Fourth Crusade, my apologies.

  5. kma on September 25, 2012, 11:22 pm

    if France were serious about oppression of its citizens, it would ban the nuclear power plants and nuclear sewage that is sending so many children to the cancer wards. maybe that’s covered in their classes on French citizenship.

    we could also “ban the oppression” of people of color by lightening their skin. in any case, who are we to throw stones? I like the article a lot.

  6. HemiFaulk on September 26, 2012, 11:23 am

    “true international solidarity”

    Are we fellow travelers, no and thats as much a joke as the above article. French interior minister Manuel Valls is preventing further violence and the likely ensuing backlash that would result from allowing a tiny minority to have anti-U.S. protest; see past decade of Muslim unrest, car burning and violence:

    “Valls said that among the roughly 250 protesters on Saturday there were some groups that “advocate radical Islam, but they were not representative of the moderate Islam practised by most Muslims in France…,”

    5% of 4 million Muslims in France would be 200,000. The present numbers of so called radical protesters are tiny, micro groups of youth who are basically irrelevant and to throw out the Islamaphobic cry over and over is inaccurate and will only promote actual fear of Islam. If you want to help their situation try creating some jobs for the 98% of peaceful French Muslims instead of promoting what has the ring of a Marxist tune.

    The deaths of Embassy personnel in Libya was due to a planned attack which had absolutely nothing to do with a film. The media and small time writers have hijacked this story making it sound as though the Muslim hoards are ready for War, while the Right does the same for their own purposes. They also promoted a terrible excuse for film, along with complete ignorance from Obama and an at best confused State Dept., all resulting in more confusion, which seems part of the plan for some groups, whether they be left or right, its like the hell with the facts, my mind is made up.

    Yes Radical Islam is dangerous, but its actual power or percentage representation in the greater Islamic world has been exaggerated to the point of creating some paranoia, or the newly popular term Islamaphobe, my personal favorite. Immigrants to France will struggle as all immigrants have in every country thruout history. They will be discriminated against and challenged on every front, but its more about competition for a limited number of jobs and the process of assimilation rather than actual racial or religious hatred.

    This is the 1st piece I have read on Mondoweiss that does not seem to fit the bill. Then again this is about “The War of Ideas in the Middle East.”

    • Walid on September 26, 2012, 12:30 pm

      “National Front fascist Marine Le Pen, who won nearly 18 percent of the vote in the first round of presidential elections earlier this year, called publicly this week for a ban on yarmulkes on the public streets, stating that it was an “obvious” logical extension of the ban on Muslim veils.”

      Hemi left out the part about the Interior Minister Valls being Jewish and an Israel-firster. The Minister is against hate speech and against the veil, but sees nothing wrong in the wearing of a yarmulke or in the anti-Muslim movie.

      About the skullcap brouhaha raised by Le Pen, European Jewish Press reported on Sunday :

      “PARIS (AFP)—The Jews of France “can proudly wear their yarmulke!”, said forcefully Sunday Interior Minister Manuel Valls, slaying the “hate speech and rejection” as worn by him the National Front and its president Marine Le Pen.

      Acclaimed, he himself was wearing a kippa to participate in the traditional ceremony of greetings to the Jewish community of France, held at the Great Synagogue de la Victoire in Paris.

      At the beginning of his speech, the minister, who is in charge of religion, wanted to support a “friendly, warm, secular and republican Shana Tova” (Happy New Year in Hebrew). Jews came in the year 5773 on their calendar.

      The day before, Mr. Valls attended in the cathedral of Troyes the beatification of a Catholic priest. Sunday, “I’m here with you,” he said, “and on Thursday, I will attend the inauguration of the new Grand Mosque of Strasbourg. “That’s France”, said.

      France “must eat to diversity and tolerance” and “secularism is a frame for it,” continued Manuel Valls.

      Secularism, he insisted, “is made to soothe, protect, not to throw against each other or to deny the religious.”

      “The Republic recognizes no religion and at the same time accept it,” said the minister, defending “freedom of religious practice.”

      So “Yes, the Jews of France, as is now the Minister of the Interior, can proudly wear their yarmulke!” He said.

      “Hate speech, rejection can not be accepted, and returns that are Ms Le Pen and the National Front, a party that is very far away, so far, the values ​​of the Republic,” said Valls…

      http://www.ejpress.org/article/61860

    • EscapeVelocity on September 26, 2012, 1:29 pm

      I think you are building straw men to know down.

      The problem is much bigger in the Muslim population. So called Islamism, Muslim/Islamic supremacy, death for apostasy, inferior status of women and non Muslims, persecution of homosexuals, shariah law…..is widely supported amongst the Muslim populations in the West and in their homelands, as we can see from elections and the resulting governments and legal frameworks being promoted throughout the Muslim world. These are supported by the majority of Muslims. The true tiny minority of Muslims are the liberals and Leftists.

      The problem isnt a tiny minority of Muslims, but the majority of Muslims who are following their guidebook. The problem isnt Islamism, but rather Conservative Islam of various stripes.

      • philweiss on September 26, 2012, 4:07 pm

        There is a Zionist collective. Majority of Jews support it. Collective blame for Jews?

      • ColinWright on September 27, 2012, 5:39 pm

        Phillip Weiss says: “There is a Zionist collective. Majority of Jews support it. Collective blame for Jews?”

        I wonder if it’s reasonable to find something analogous in the attitude of most Jews towards Israel and that of most Muslims towards Islam?

        I’ve argued that most Jews support Israel more out of a sense of obligation than anything else. You just don’t join the lynch mob calling for the hanging of brother Bill. In fact, you think about what you can do to take the heat off and maybe hire him a lawyer — even if you don’t think much of what he did.

        So take your average Muslim — to whatever extent there is such a thing. Does he actually want a new Caliphate? I doubt it. He wants a car. He probably feels better about himself if he prays five times a day, and he thinks his daughter should remain a virgin until she’s married — but he’s not possessed with dreams of recovering Cordoba.

        It is, to some extent, the same thing. Similar, anyway. The fanatics acquire a spurious legitimacy. Nobody really feels quite right about denouncing them.

      • on September 27, 2012, 8:14 pm

        “I wonder if it’s reasonable to find something analogous in the attitude of most Jews towards Israel and that of most Muslims towards Islam?”

        No. There can’t be any comparison at all.
        This is a non-existing thing being compared to an existing one.
        The non-existing is a figment of ignorant and malignant American journalists: “the Muslims” in the sense of people from a certain area.
        What immortal bullshit. Islam is a religion, not an absurd racial-national construct. Just like “Catholic”, “Orthodox”, “Buddhist”. Whoever does not believe in it is definitely NOT a Moslem, and a very large number of people with names in Arabic are not. What are these retards thinking, that calling “Moslem / religious fanatic” people who oppose Zionism will do the trick to alienate them? As for the “Jews”, they too were a figment of the imagination until recently enough (while now they are the extreme textbook example of the nationalist cancer in the absence of any “nation”.)
        The whole discussion, in summary, is nothing but a sick projection of their own pathology by the Ashkenaze (because, face it, Zionism is an exclusively Ashkenaze disease born together with Prussian nationalism.)

      • ColinWright on September 26, 2012, 4:42 pm

        EscapeVelocity says: “The problem is much bigger in the Muslim population. So called Islamism, Muslim/Islamic supremacy, death for apostasy, inferior status of women and non Muslims, persecution of homosexuals, shariah law…..is widely supported amongst the Muslim populations in the West …”

        This would appear to be simple blind bigotry — ‘hate speech,’ in fact.

        I refer you to http://www.irtiqa-blog.com/2011/08/survey-of-french-muslim-attitudes.html No doubt you can continue to research the matter — but I’m confident what the results will be. Most people from a Muslim background in the West probably don’t adhere to Islam rigorously at all — and I doubt if the majority of even those who do believe in ‘death for apostasy,’ etc.

        It is curious. If I posted a screed similar to yours about Jews, it would be the most obvious raving anti-semitism. Yet you can post a remark like the above about Muslims, and it’s quite acceptable.

        However, I don’t think anyone should be banned, and I won’t say you should. But that’s purely a function of my rather doctrinaire insistence on an unqualified right to free speech.

      • Walid on September 27, 2012, 12:29 am

        “The problem isnt a tiny minority of Muslims, but the majority of Muslims who are following their guidebook. The problem isnt Islamism, but rather Conservative Islam of various stripes.”

        EscapeVelocity, you evidently know very little about Muslims and their problems and the little you know is wrong. Either read up on it or stay out of it completely.

      • ColinWright on September 27, 2012, 5:46 pm

        Walid says: “EscapeVelocity, you evidently know very little about Muslims and their problems and the little you know is wrong. Either read up on it or stay out of it completely.”

        It’s considerably worse than that. I know fairly little about Muslims — but it’s easy enough to check basic facts.

        Escape posts his silly-ass claim about the attitude of most Muslims in the West — and I check. ‘Nope, doesn’t actually seem to snow much in Nigeria.’ Not hard. Took five minutes. Everybody and their brother has been anxiously polling Muslims for the last twenty years. The data’s out there — to put it mildly.

        Escape’s claims reflect a deliberate refusal to ascertain the truth, a positive preference for bigoted cant. He wants Muslims to be a dire threat — and he’ll carefully avoid finding anything out that might lead him to suspect otherwise.

      • EscapeVelocity on September 27, 2012, 7:21 pm

        No, the data is really sketchy.

        When you drill down to ask specific questions like say, the proper punishment for apostasy, you will find some very disturbing information.

        But since Im being censored, Ill leave it at that.

      • aiman on September 28, 2012, 1:35 am

        “When you drill down to ask specific questions like say, the proper punishment for apostasy, you will find some very disturbing information.”

        A number of theologians and independent-minded Muslims have questioned any punishment for apostasy. I don’t form my views on the meaning of any religion or society by the rabble, so neither should you form your opinion of Islam by reading the most morally obtuse Muslim thinkers. There is enough for me to disagree with to fill up entire books but there is a lot of work by Muslim women and men in scholarship, including interpretation of the Shariah, that is exemplary and champions human freedom and equality. Check this site on apostasy, even the early Muslim thinkers were against any punishment. I also have freedom to disagree with them on the specifics of such matters. For example, the whole idea of missionary work is rightly frowned upon today.

        http://apostasyandislam.blogspot.com.au/

      • HemiFaulk on September 27, 2012, 2:40 pm

        As recently as last year I felt the same as my personal views on Muslims and Islam were shaped mainly by events since 9-11-01. I can easily roll off a couple thousand words on the extremely violent and fragmented early history of Islam, or tell you that before the Mosque in Mecca they had the Kaaba stone where travelers paid homage, early details on the life of Mohammad and on and on. My personal views on many Islamic customs are similar to the negative views you hold, yet I would disagree about the majority of Muslims following their guidebook, because I worked with some of them recently at an Islamic Cultural center and found my client to be just like any other business man; he wanted a good price and service, and to work with someone who would be honest with him and not treat him any differently than any other client. (There are other factors and books that changed my mind.)

        I had just finished The Bin Ladens by Steve Coll who described who the Bin Laden family is, the Patriarch father who came from a hell hole in Yemen to Saudi Arabia, worked as a block-brick layer and went on to create one of the greatest fortunes in the Middle East not directly related to petroleum; his charisma was such that he was well respected and Saudi royalty hired him to build numerous large scale projects. I was reading this book expecting to find how his financial success had financed the terrorist attacks, learned a lot about this strange world of Islam, strange to me because it is not my world, then found out Osama and his minions had no direct relationship with the Bin Laden family and they had other extreme views such as removing the Saudi King who many conservative Muslims see as inherently corrupt.

        CIA, FBI, and various committees searched with rigor to connect the family with the extremists, but there is no connection between the family and their half brother as the evidence proves. They in fact cut him off from all money and family relations due to his militant activism many years before.

        It’s a great read, try it, but for me I began to wonder, actually while sitting outside of this Muslim Cultural center, thinking are these the people that want to destroy western civilization and my culture, my family. I entered by an open door, noting there is a separate entrance for men and women, men garbed in white robes eyed me suspiciously as I kept a blank face, the building is a large former multi-plex theatre converted for their use. We transacted our business, later facilitating some services for the center, got paid, end of story. During a conversation with my client that day, and I eased into the topic after seeing the book he was reading and I mentioned Coll’s work and the effect it had on me, I went so far as admit I was trying to see Islam in a new light and how difficult it was due to all that had gone before. He put his hand on my shoulder and admitted that is was difficult for American Muslims also. Wish I had something more moving, but this guy is running a business like any other American, and donates his time to support his Faith, and I began to see that most of the fears of all things Islamic are not based on anything other than fear of extremist violence and lack of knowledge that Islam is much broader and fragmented than our media will take the time to report.

        I don’t like most of the Islamic tenants and oppression of their peoples because I don’t believe as they do, its not my faith. In America as long as they worship and keep to their Faith without interfering with our laws and customs there should be no problem. This country was created from people escaping the madness of Europe, finding here a place to worship as they saw fit. So while I am not an Islamic apologist, I suggest we leave them be and if that includes getting out of their world in the Middle East, then leave the power vacuums and let them do what they need to do to determine what government best fits them and their beliefs.

        Somebody will say what about Fort Hood and I say that guy will get the death penalty, plus its one man who killed and injured 36 people. Had it been a particular Mosque or assault by a group of Muslims I would not hold the views I do today, but there have not been any incidents of that nature here in America. Can anyone imagine the level of retaliatory violence that such a broader Islamic incident would cause in America?

        I am convinced that as long as we allow petroleum and U.S corporations to determine State Policy, not to mention constant interference from Israel, we will continue the pattern of entering into worlds where we are not wanted. When these areas are the world of Islam it will continue to stir and add fire to the cauldrons of extremism. Much of the Muslim anger is as much at their own rulers who are seen as corrupted by Western cash, whether that be Petro dollars or aid, and also pervasive poverty which always leads to extreme behavior, whether those impoverished are extremist or being acted upon by extremist, see Darfur.

        The American Way is the best way, for me it is, but I have come to see that forcing that view on others outside of our country does not work well, anymore than someone going into a church and trying to change their beliefs or the church trying to go out and tell the everyone how they should believe; the conversion to a faith or form of government works best by the principle of attraction rather than promotion. To boil it all down, there is a prevalence in media that wants to connect the broader Islamic world with extremism while failing to note that fragmentation thruout Islamic history is as ongoing as it is in Christianity or Judaism.

        I hear somebody saying but Christians and Jews are not attacking anyone and I agree that the those true to their Faith are not, but neither are Faithful Muslims. Israel does attack, like every single day, they never take a day off, but don’t draw the conclusion that its Jews attacking, which many sadly do, no its militant Zionism not much different from extreme Islam, though certainly on a more limited basis(I hope anyway). The Christian image is destroyed because we are viewed as a Christian nation, spare the written abuses please, its viewed as Christian by those in the Muslim world, so every time the U.S. ventures forth into strange lands, even with the best of intent, its viewed as hostility by the Islamic world. So when we enter Iraq and Afghanistan, or install a Shah in Iran, add in further examples at your leisure, but the repercussions of these actions continue to reverberate like a shock wave from a thermonuclear blast.

        I love my country and I give it my full support, regardless of who the president is or will be, but if we don’t get some real wisdom instilled into the defunct State Department and White House(this goes back at least 20 years, pick a number that suits your tastes) and begin to find solutions for the global problems we all face, then I fear the near future will include a shock wave of epic proportions.

        Albert Einstein once said “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Iran has as much chance of developing and using a large scale nuclear weapon as I do for getting on my lawnmower and flying to Kansas City tonight; it’s a push mower by the way.

      • Cliff on September 27, 2012, 6:04 pm

        What about the Ka’ba stone? Those pagans were quite violent themselves and the war against Mohammed and his followers was initiated by the Meccan ruling class.

        Mecca’s trade was dependent on the religious climate of the city itself and they viewed Mohammed and his indivisible God as a threat to that prosperity. They instigated the conflict. Most people who turned to Islam did so on their own volition. It’s simply untrue that Islam spread by the sword (initially).

        So thrill us with your acumen, newbie.

      • Cliff on September 27, 2012, 6:07 pm

        HemiFalk:

        This country was created from people escaping the madness of Europe, finding here a place to worship as they saw fit.

        ————

        LOL

        Oh my science, are you daffy? America was created as a religious utopia of understanding?

        The intolerant religious fanatics who escaped persecution in Europe wanted freedom of religion for themselves and themselves alone.

        Have you ever taken US Formative or pre-Civil War American history? Get real hasbarat. Maybe you’re not a Zionist, but you sure are an ignoramus.

      • ColinWright on September 27, 2012, 6:18 pm

        Good piece. It’s nice to read something where someone says what they actually think.

      • Walid on September 27, 2012, 9:56 pm

        “In America as long as they worship and keep to their Faith without interfering with our laws and customs there should be no problem. ”

        I agree, Hemi, and that was an overall good assessment.

      • EscapeVelocity on September 27, 2012, 11:17 pm

        In America, Muslims as citizens make the laws. This is the conundrum.

        If there is little to worry about with Islam, then you wouldnt make such statements about not “interfering with our laws and customs.”

        You obviously see the conflict of Islam with “our laws and customs.”

        But wishing that they will not look to their religion for guidance in making laws and influencing policies, is a pipe dream. As Geert Wilders put so succinctly, “More Islam = Less Freedom.”

        Muslim immigration to the West should be prohibited yesterday. The agents of Islam are a threat to our way of life, our security, our liberty, and our well being.

      • EscapeVelocity on September 28, 2012, 12:23 am

        Refreshing hearing a Leftwinger acknowledge that the US was created by Christians as a confederacy of Christian states.

      • aiman on September 28, 2012, 1:18 am

        The only people I find threatening are the fundamentalists that ooze out of the unclotted sores of their traditions. For e.g. you. Richard Webster has noted that both Muslim extremism and white racialism are very similar, these people feel wounded in some way. Your own white racialism is congruent to what you oppose, so sorry I cannot sympathise with you. Also immigration is a byproduct of capitalism. Also you clearly have little knowledge of Islam. True, a fundamentalist trend is present currently, but it is no different from the fundamentalist trends in Judaism and Hinduism and in your very own European right circle. The only advice to you is ‘read, just read’.

      • aiman on September 28, 2012, 1:28 am

        “The agents of Islam are a threat to our way of life, our security, our liberty, and our well being.”

        By using such language, you are only empowering and legitimising fundamentalists who ought to have been charged with heresy and shunned from both Muslim and non-Muslim public spheres. By calling them “agents of Islam” you are not just promoting your own right-wing ideology but also that of the Muslim right-wing. Good on you for legitimising fundamentalism. If by “agents of Islam” you are referring to every Muslim man, woman and child, then I am sorry that I even replied to you.

      • Woody Tanaka on September 28, 2012, 7:38 am

        “Refreshing hearing a Leftwinger acknowledge that the US was created by Christians as a confederacy of Christian states.”

        Nope. Typical dumb lie spread by typical dumb conservatives. The US was formed by Christians, Deists and non-religious as a secular state.

      • Woody Tanaka on September 28, 2012, 7:40 am

        “Muslim immigration to the West should be prohibited yesterday. The agents of Islam are a threat to our way of life, our security, our liberty, and our well being.”

        LMAO. You forgot to warn that “they’re comin’ after our white wimmin-folk” and forgot to express proper concern for “our precious bodily fluids.”

      • EscapeVelocity on September 28, 2012, 11:17 am

        Yes they should be shunned by both the Muslim majority and Western Leftists. Neither has happened. In fact the Western Left is the enabler of Conservative Islam as a subaltern voice of authenticity in contradistinction to European Christendom. The more loud and obnoxious, and in your face Anti-Western the better.

        No one ever should be charged with heresy. You comment regarding that is telling of your totalitarian leanings.

      • EscapeVelocity on September 28, 2012, 11:27 am

        Honey, if it was only a tiny minority of violent fundamentalists, who are shunned by the wider Muslim community, we wouldnt have a serious existential threat inside our democracies. The Arab Spring would have turned out much differently in the elections.

        Im not saying that the Muslim population is majority fundamentalist, but rather that they are majority supporters of the mainstream interpretations of Shairah, which means, Muslim supremacism, harsh punishment for apostasy, women as subservient and second class citizens, non-Mulsims as 2nd class citizens, and a whole host of other egregious violations of liberty and human rights. You can hold these positions, whilst looking like a clean shaven modern dressed personable neighbor who runs an honest business in the neighborhood.

      • EscapeVelocity on September 28, 2012, 5:58 pm

        Wrong, read the state constitutions. The states were the primary sovereigns, existing before the defense pact confederation. The Establishment Clause is a Federalist provision, not a general principle of government. The Establishment Clause was a restraint on the Federal Government, not the states.

        But alas…

      • aiman on September 28, 2012, 7:37 pm

        Interesting that you first blame all Muslims and now veer into “Conservative Islam”, typical right-wing tactic. As for the charge of heresy against those that kill innocent people and spread hatred, I was channeling Chris Hedges: “Our mainstream churches have been as complacent in fighting heretics as have the mainstream mosques and religious scholars in the Middle East. Demented forms of Christianity and Islam have largely supplanted genuine and more open forms of religious expression. And they have done so because liberal elites were cowed into silence.”

        http://www.truthdig.com/report/page/20090928_the_war_on_language/P600/

      • EscapeVelocity on September 29, 2012, 2:04 pm

        That is the conundrum isnt it? Are we going to enforce social norms are are we going to embrace diversity, moral and cultural relativism?

        I say we enforce social norms. Of course I will be denounced as a White European Christian supremacist theocrat totalitarian for doing so.

        It is clear that Islam broke the Peace of Westphalia in Europe, should be interesting the fall out.

      • HemiFaulk on October 3, 2012, 1:09 am

        “I can easily roll off a couple thousand words on the extremely violent and fragmented early history of Islam…..”

        To do so only causes more acrimony, but by the way he arrived in Mecca for the 2nd or 3rd time with about 10,000 men, 2 years into a decade long truce, they surrendered without opposing him, a wise choice for all concerned. He came to Mecca, battles were fought outside earlier, its a complex history and I know a little, but maybe you should try some older books, like not written in the last 25 years as newer histories have become less apolitical and more about being divisive.

      • HemiFaulk on October 3, 2012, 2:12 am

        I don’t recall using the term utopia. Were the early settlers wrong in their desire for religious self determination, whether they be Jew or Gentile? Have we or any other country ever been free of discrimination? No only in academic minds does that utopia exists, so now we reflect back and attempt to change actual history to show what bad people we were and continue to be, unless we all bend over in some leftist fantasy touched in the head with Marxism and at least a tad bit of socialism, and hey we got to have some of that(socialism not Marxism dam nit) I agree, just not to point of turning over healthcare to government mandate, see bankrupt British program for info.

        You probably have a well worn copy of the major POS history by Zinn, pages you relish as you ignite your hatred of all things religious or smelling ever so sweetly of conservatism or tradition, roiling in a pool of turgid leftist angst. The left and the right are so far off, as are you, I think they may come together in the near future in a cosmic explosion of ultra stupidity with me caught in the middle.

        All religion includes a degree of intolerance, some more so than others, but the real ignorance is the intellectuals thinking they will some how stamp out all beliefs-Faith in anything other than the intellect, that is the really stupid part of it.
        Übermensch fantasy I say!

        I come to the site, newbie as you, to decrease my ignorance not increase it, but thanks for your concern.

  7. Walid on September 27, 2012, 5:53 am

    France’s Israel-firster Interior Minister Valls, inaugurating a mega mosque in Strasbourg today said he would not hestitate to expel Muslims that present a serious threat to public order in not abiding by the “laws” and the “values” of the republic:

    “Le ministre de l’Intérieur Manuel Valls a affirmé aujourd’hui à Strasbourg qu’il n’hésitera pas “à faire expulser ceux qui se réclament de l’islam et représentent une menace grave pour l’ordre public” en ne respectant pas les “lois” et les “valeurs” de la République. ”

    http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/2012/09/27/97001-20120927FILWWW00491-islam-valls-expulsera-ceux-qui-menacent-l-ordre-public.php

    The guy sure sounds like Netanyahu and Bush in speaking about their shared values.

    • EscapeVelocity on September 27, 2012, 7:35 pm

      Most Muslim neighbors are personable people, like the guy who runs the corner shop down the street.

      The problem is the underlying ideology of Islam. These folks will cast secret ballots when they reach demographic strength for the implementation of Shariah law, Muslim Supremacy, blasphemy laws, and death for apostasy…..in other words for Islamist parties (most so called Islamists are not violent BTW).

      I know quite a bit about Islam and the ways of the world.

      Islam and Muslims are a threat to non-Muslims. I like you are fine with a policy of containment, let them live however they want in the areas that they have already conquered and colonized. They will have to do without Israel, they have plenty of land, nearly 1/6th of the worlds landmass….for the 1/6th of the worlds population. Form the OFEC, the Organization of Food Exporting Countries and pressue the hungry Muslims to negotiate on the price of oil. Im all for supporting the Muslim liberals inside Musseldom, as well as feminists, women’s rights, minority rights, and secularists….though this will no doubt anger the majority of Muslims.

      • Walid on September 30, 2012, 2:07 am

        “Islam and Muslims are a threat to non-Muslims. ”

        You have learned your lesson well, Velocity. You also said another absurdity, “The problem is the underlying ideology of Islam”. It would be just as absurd to be saying that the underlying ideology of Judaism is a threat to the world because of what the Jews of Israel are doing to the Palestinians. I wish you’d rethink slowly what you said in your post to realize with what trash you have been inculcated.

  8. Mayhem on September 27, 2012, 8:11 pm

    In practice, though, it appears that “measuring one’s words” applies more to Kate Middleton’s topless photos than to racist bigotry. A French judge issued an injunction against further publication of the Middleton photos in the interest of decency, while no such consideration was given to the decency of publishing openly racist imagery.

     Kumar and Grey have uttered a logic disconnect.
    The Kate Middleton issue is clearly one of invasion of privacy.
    Jews and Christians have been mocked time and time again but they don’t rush to the streets like madmen screaming death to the infidels.
    And yes this is a political rather than a purely religious issue because islam is not merely a religion – it is fundamentally a political system.

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