February 24, 2021

THERE'S NOTHING MORE FRENCH THAN TRUMPISM:

France's Fight Against Islamism Becomes Another Cynical Crackdown (BILL WIRTZ, 2/24/21, American Conservative)

In a recent TV debate on France's public broadcaster France2, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin accused Marine Le Pen of being too soft on Islam. "You'll need to take some vitamins, I don't find you tough enough on these issues," Macron's minister said. He continued: "If I understand this correctly, you are not even ready to legislate on religion, and seem to believe that Islam is not a problem. This will disappoint many of your voters. ...Madame Le Pen says it's not a problem of religion, it's a problem of ideology." The National Rally (formerly the National Front) leader appeared stunned: "I am not going to attack Islam," she said, "it's a religion like any other. I am fundamentally attached to our French values, so I will completely defend their right to organize and to practice their religion. That's my opinion."

Following the broadcast, both the prime minister's office and the Elysée Palace were forced to backpedal the minister's statements, but it's become very clear that Macron is not confident about his chances of reelection next year. That is, unless he convinces France's nationalist voters that they don't need to worry about his management of security issues. Darmanin in particular has become a hardliner on the question of religion, creating ambiguity about what exactly France's relationship with secularism is. 

The interpretation of "laïcité" (secularism) has been a pervasive problem in France. In an effort to fight extremism, the right wing has for many years used it as a premise to demand the absence of religion, as opposed to the separation of church and state. Mayors in the south of France have long attempted to ban the so-called "burkini" (a female swimsuit that covers the whole body, in accordance with the desire to not be revealing). In primary and secondary schools, the use of the headscarf is against the law. Emmanuel Macron is now joining this tradition.



Posted by at February 24, 2021 12:00 AM

  

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