“Through its history and its geography—open as it is to the Mediterranean and Africa, and through its immigration, France maintains very strong ties with Islam,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, wrote in a lengthy article in the Journal du Dimanche Sunday. “This is the second-largest religion in our country. Millions of French Muslims live here without necessarily identifying themselves as an Arab-Muslim culture.”
“It is for these very specifically French conditions, in addition to our old Christian roots, the long Jewish presence, the important role of Freemasons, and because our country was the inventor of secularism, that France has become the target of the Islamic State,” Valls argues.
Further down the piece, Valls suggests that “all is not so bad … but all is not well either. This period requires, more than ever, a lucidity of having to face the rise of global Islamism and jihadism with its apocalyptic vision.”
“A terrible poison is spreading,” he cautions. “Slowly, insidiously, against the background of influences from abroad and rising communalism, developed against a model of society which contradicts the Republic and its values. Many Muslims in France are taken hostage by the fundamentalist Salafism, the Muslim Brotherhood, who use their worship as a banner, a weapon against others.”
“It is a mechanism of confinement, intimidation, infantilism, which targets very often, but not only the vulnerable populations. And in the end, it’s a mechanism of radicalization, made up of violence and death, compounded by the Internet and social networks. Because we cannot develop a literal and rigid vision that ignores the diversity and richness of Islam, but [our recognition of Islam’s good values] should not lead to [ignoring some Muslims’] rejection of democracy and their fight against its values,” Valls continues.
He declares that the “fight against radicalization requires an unprecedented mobilization of public authorities in prevention and de-radicalization programs, to support individuals, particularly in suitable structures that will be centers of rehabilitation and good citizenship. We need a general mobilization of all public and civil society as a whole. But beyond that, we envision the [reconstruction] of Islam in France, in which Muslims have a huge responsibility.”
In his conclusion, Valls writes: “We must beware of paternalism, but must have the lucidity to recognize that it is urgent to help Islam in France get rid of those that undermine it from within. For this, it behooves us to build a true pact with Islam in France, giving this foundation a central place. As the fathers of the law of December 9, 1905 [on the Separation of the Church and State], we must invent a balance with Islam in France under which the Republic offers a guarantee of free exercise of religion. If Islam is not helping the Republic to fight against those who undermine public freedoms, it will be increasingly hard for the Republic to guarantee this freedom of worship.”
Valls ends his very aggressive essay with an optimistic note: “The war against terrorism will be won, and it will further strengthen the foundations of our society, so that the poison of radicalization be forever neutralized. This is the challenge facing our generation.”
Those who have warned that radical Islam would eventually lead to the creation of concentration camps across Europe might find an echo of those expectations in Valls’s call for “rehabilitation centers,” which are only a shade away from those infamous Vietnamese “re-education camps” that sprouted after the fall of Saigon.
In renegotiating Islam’s place in a secular France, Valls will also do well to look into early Muslim history, specifically the 10-year truce Muhammad signed at Hudaybiyyah with the tribes of Mecca, a truce he broke two years later, attacking and conquering the poor fools. Indeed, back in 2013, PA Minister of Religious Affairs Al-Habbash, with Mahmoud Abbas listening, compared PA agreements with Israel to that ancient pact that led not to peace but to victory over his peace partners. “This is the example and this is the model to emulate,” Al-Habbash recommended.