Paris attacks: This is a war of ideas

…. Some will also call for a combined operation in the Middle East – a debatable option in itself, but a fantasy in any case today, since none of our allies and friends in the region would be ready to follow at this point.

Others, on the contrary, will call for soul-searching and revisiting our policies in the Middle East. The choices made by France in the past decade were clear: build on traditional ties with Saudi Arabia, support state-building in Lebanon, break with the Assad regime, continue to beware of Iran.

It is a legitimate policy. It is not about choosing the Sunni versus the Shia world: the old secular country that Voltaire embodies does not care about such religion-based affinities. It’s about recognising that the old order in the Middle East is gone for good, that the Syrian and Iranian governments have been more trouble-makers than stability-builders, and that Damascus as well as Baghdad – and Tehran – had a role in the rise of Isis over the past two years.

But the military component of the fight is only part of the picture. The war will be won at home. It is a war of ideas, which will get uglier in the coming weeks and months: this time Marine Le Pen may be better placed to capitalise on the current events than she was after the January attacks. The French government cannot ask every foreigner, every member of a minority, to be a Voltaire. But there is still a chance to save our model of integration and to be faithful to his ideals of tolerance and freedom. [1210 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 355 votes] “The French government cannot ask every foreigner, every member of a minority, to be a Voltaire”

Yes it can, and it damn’ well should. Everyone should be told that if they want their voices to be heard so they must let others speak, even if they don’t like the message, and that violence is not acceptable, will be met with state violence and WILL be stopped. And if they don’t like it, they can go and live in a country more in tune with their 7th century ideals – nobody is stopping them.

[3ND 290] Spot on. We live in a country where women are treated as equals, we have freedom of speech, we have gay marriage and we can worship/or not as we please and this is something to be proud of. Personally I’d get rid of single faith schools so that muslim kids have to mix with kids of other faiths/beliefs.

[4TH 253] “Personally I’d get rid of single faith schools so that muslim kids have to mix with kids of other faiths/beliefs.”

We live in a secular country – Britain is one of the least religious nations in the world, and I’d like to keep it that way.

I have no problem with religious education, but I do think religious instruction including acts of worship of whatever creed should be strictly prohibited in schools. I also think religious organisations should be prohibited from owning, running, funding or in any way and to any extent, however small, managing schools. Religion should have precisely zero influence over education.

[6TH 239] Paris attacks: This is a war of ideas

Agreed, I’d also insert values into the above. What we have here is a bunch of religious bigots who feel that that they are right and everybody else is wrong and are willing to show everybody the error of their ways by the bullet and the bomb rather than the ballot box.

[5TH 248] And no shortage of gullible westerners ready to make excuses for them. [Guardian Cif] Read more

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