The attacks in France show that its colonial past endures

The attack in Nice, in which 84 people were mown down by a French resident of Tunisian origin, has been a watershed in French politics. After the trauma of the killings, incidents of open, blatant, anti-Muslim hatred have sparked a new, worrying phase.

“Why France?” has been the question on many lips, as the nation recovers from its third mass-slaughter terror attack in 18 months.

Some point to the French republic’s specific brand of secularism – its model of laïcité (the prohibition of religious influence on anything that relates to the republic) inherited from the 1905 law separating church and state – which is often caricatured and misunderstood. Others point to France’s recent military interventionism in the Muslim world, from west Africa to Iraq. Yet more highlight the discrimination its Muslim minorities suffer. None of this can be ignored.

…. According to Le Maire, the enemy that must be “fought with utmost strength within France” is “political Islam”. He didn’t say “jihadi fundamentalism”. He defined political Islam as “Islam that criticises our culture” and “wants to make women invisible”. This is what French colonists thought about Muslims in general.

France’s republican model is not responsible for the terrorism it endures. But it is a European country that, unlike others struck by terrorism, still has to come to terms with its colonial past if it wants to build an inclusive, promising future for all its citizens. [342 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 811 votes] “if it wants to build an inclusive, promising future for all its citizens.”

It cannot build an “inclusive, promising future”, if some citizens do not accept the level playing field of secularism and do not accept (for example) the equality of women. It is not acceptable to permit men in some religious subcultures to silence and ‘keep invisible’ women who have the misfortune to be part of that subculture. Their rights as citizens should come first.

[2ND 572] Well, the British have a colonial past in India and Africa. We don’t see bombings here by Hindus or Black Africans.

At some stage soon Muslims are going to have to decide if they wish to live in non-Muslim societies. Period. Patience is running out.

[3RD 553] Yeah, definitely a colonialist problem. That’s why we have all those Hindu extremists committing massacres over here all the time.

Blaming the west is really beginning to wear thin, you know.

[4TH 432] I sometimes think that, with articles such as these, The Guardian has some unfathomable agenda to make me turn my back on my liberal principles and turn me into an EDL supporter.

[5TH 416] “The attack in Nice, in which 84 people were mown down by a French resident of Tunisian origin, has been a watershed in French politics. After the trauma of the killings, incidents of open, blatant, anti-Muslim hatred have sparked a new, worrying phase.”

What an utterly shameful opening paragraph. Anti-Muslim hatred is what’s worrying you, is it?

They are never ever going to admit how badly they have got this wrong are they? [Guardian Cif] Read more

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