File photo of French President Emmanuel Macron | Jasper Juinen | Bloomberg
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The last thing the world needs amid a resurgent pandemic is a clash of civilizations. Yet this is what French President Emmanuel Macron seems intent on fomenting. And, in many Muslim leaders, he has found willing and eager partners for his venture.

From all accounts, the Chechnya-born teenager who gruesomely murdered a schoolteacher in France this month represents yet another case of online radicalization — the same force that has fueled flash lynch mobs in India and right-wing militias in the United States.

But Macron chose to respond to the atrocity with an unprecedented crackdown on France’s Muslim community, accompanied by a vociferous critique of its religion — thereby “communalizing,” to use an Indian phrase, what is a widespread social pathology.

Having asserted that Islam is “in crisis all over the world today,” Macron has now gone further by proclaiming France’s staunch support for the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed that originally enraged the young murderer.

To put it soberingly: Macron has staked France’s global reputation on crude mockery of a figure revered by more than a billion Muslims.

Self-appointed paladins of Islam, who have lately been floundering, eagerly accepted the lifeline thrown to them by Macron. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, both beset by multiple crises, have ostentatiously attacked the French president.

Erdogan even questioned Macron’s mental health, provoking France to recall its ambassador to Turkey. The boycott of French goods demanded by Erdogan is already being administered in Kuwait and Qatar. Mass protests against Macron are emerging in a broad swathe of Muslim countries from Libya to Bangladesh.

In recent days, Islamophobia has surged at all levels of French society, from the interior minister, who accused halal food in supermarkets of fostering separatism, to the assailants who stabbed two Muslim women in headscarves near the Eiffel Tower.

Macron’s own strategy seems clear: to out-maneuver his far-right rival Marine Le Pen. His poor handling of the pandemic had already diminished his chances in the 2022 presidential election. Macron now hopes to bluster his way out of an existential crisis with appeals to France’s matchless grandeur.

He has a tradition of rousing rhetoric in this regard. Take, for instance, this declaration from Macron’s book “Révolution” in 2016: “In the spirit of France there is an aspiration to the universal that is at once an unceasing indignation at injustice and oppression, and a determination to tell others what we think of the world, here, now and on behalf of everyone.”

Macron doesn’t seem to have considered a basic problem: Most people in the world today do not much care what the French think of them. Assertions such as the 2007 claim by his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy that “the African has not fully entered history,” or Macron’s own remarks in 2017 that Africa had an intransigent “civilizational” problem, stemming from African women who breed “7 to 8 children,” have not given those people much reason to reconsider their disdain.

Taking up the white man’s burden abroad, Macron seems oblivious to a deepening problem at home: The old French model, which claimed to be universal and superior to all social systems, is disastrously unsuited to an increasingly multi-ethnic and multi-racial society.

Nor is the spirit of France immune to certain global trends. Social cohesion has been endangered across the world by uneven growth and extreme inequality, and the dwindling of trade unions, churches, local newspapers and other institutions that once helped foster civic participation and the responsibilities of citizenship. In almost every major country, members of a minority radicalized on the internet periodically disrupt public life with vicious acts of violence.

France seems particularly unprepared for these volatile realities because French leaders can still rally broad support for an outmoded national ideology of secularism. Such circling of wagons, however, can only further alienate disaffected minorities and delay necessary modifications to the country’s self-image and political, legal and educational systems.

Indeed, by endlessly eulogizing their country’s political and intellectual traditions, French leaders have made them as hidebound and resistant to the 21st century as the “originalist” interpretations of the U.S. constitution fetishized by right-wing Republicans.

Invoking Voltaire’s maxims, and other greatest hits of the French Enlightenment, may gratify diehard secularists. But many more people around the world are now grappling with the long-term consequences of what Voltaire, among many other past luminaries, said about black people (evidently, animal-like in their stupidity) and Jews (all born fanatics).

Ignoring France’s irrevocably diverse population and fragile security situation, as well as a highly unstable international climate, Macron has taken to peddling an unsustainable idea of French glory in his bid for re-election. The dangers of his opportunism include greater polarization at home and broader, more intense conflicts abroad. They should not be underestimated. –Bloomberg


Also read: Middle East calls for boycott of French products after Macron’s remarks on cartoons on Prophet


 

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36 Comments Share Your Views

36 COMMENTS

  1. All Indians commenting here will not say anything on lynching of Muslim and three star policeman on mere suspicion of consumption of beef. The 1984 Anti-Sikh riots were Sikhs were killed by Hindu majority. The 1992 masjid demolition and Godhra and Delhi riots by Hindu majority. There are numerous instances where FIR were filed on Facebook post so called insulting majority community. People were shaved, beaten and forced to chant Jay Shri Ram.
    Question to Indian – Will they tolerate a photo Brahma Vishnu Mahesh or with a bomb in their hand or Manu killing lower caste people pasted on all government buildings just like they did in France to justify freedom of Speech.

  2. While playing the game of hide and seek, a child thinks he has hidden himself from others by closing his eyes. The intellect of leftists is same of a child. The proof is the current article by this author.

  3. After reading this article i am sure this leftist propegenda machine the print is getting funding from congress, pakistan and saudi arabia. Only a sold journalist can write these kind of biased article… This retard even didnt critisize those beheader who beheaded innocent peoples who didnt had anything to do with those cartoons…the print editorial team want us to donate them continue with their leftist jihadist propgenda to weaken democratic values…

  4. Any religion claims to be beautiful, peaceful and above all perfect. Any criticism to religion is deemed to be straight forward heresy. Free speech is out there is order to protect that heresy, else what is the point?! The very reason we invented free speech is not that I can praise you all day and give every one of you a trophy. The reason we have laws to protect speech is that so I can criticize Muslims, Jews, Jesus, Communists, Socialists, Allah and anything I want to criticize. The reason we have freedom of speech is so I can say things which you don’t like without you being able to block me.

  5. Highly illogical article. Why “The Print” publishes this type of article because author and this journal get lots of donations from Islamic sects to get this type of article.

  6. Islam is a big threat to civilization. It needs to be reformed by the islamic sects. However, why islamic sects will do this. In our times Islam became the only religion and ideology in the world which enjoys to be immune, unapproachable and invincible to criticism. No fascist totalitarian ideology ever achieved this amount of immunity both in east and west; if you criticize Islam in the east you will be executed but if you criticize in the west you will be murdered then shamed in the media for being a racist.

  7. Islam needs to be more tolerant before expecting others to understand it better.

    What liberals dont get is that Muslims are not interested in secularism. Liberals think that societies and democracies need to be more secular and more tolerant. As if the fault lies with non-muslims. They want Muslims to be given special treatment by showing more acceptance to their faith – ignoring in particular the tenants of islam which by definition abhor secularism.

    They want everyone else to ignore islamic teachings rather than telling muslims to be more secular. They go further to divide muslims into innocent “non-radical” muslims and radical muslims. Assumption here being that non-radical muslims want to be secular hence should be given a benefit of doubt. And therein lies their biggest faux-pas.

    What is clear is that no muslims want to be secular. ALL muslims firmly believe in Kuran which says Allah is the only god and every non-believer is a kafir. Mere suggestion to moderate muslims to question this, or challenge any teaching of Kuran, scares them.

    One may say that the societal, family and peer pressure is so high in islam that the most moderate muslims will never express their doubts in open. And this group within moderate muslims need to be protected.

    In a way, one can compare this to social acceptance of homo-sexuality. LGBT can openly express themselves only if the society accepts them for who they are and gives them the space to come forward. So, therefore, first the muslim Ummah needs to accept the moderates and give them space to openly endorse secularism. No matter how open and tolerant are the liberals and non-muslims, the ones we are trying to protect can only be protected by muslims themselves.

  8. This article is bullshit, by author’s logic if tomorrow someone from Hindu right murders him then the issue that needs to be discussed is not the radicalization of Hindus but his own article?

  9. Few criminals think that they can kill everyone who says against their religion , mind you another Christchurch can happen , if you don’t mend your ways ,

  10. This author is biased , French gave us democracy , secularism and there immigrants ( especially muslims) are causing problems , charlie hebdo incident .

  11. The beheading is wrong, it is a brutal crime that must be punished. It is completely unacceptable for any reason. No doubt it is clearly evil.

    If you want to see a truly respectable liberal country, see New Zealand. All can co-exist. All can respect each other. Clearly France’s model of confrontations and state imposed repression of Islam do not work. It will give rise to more extremists. Dialogues and seeking mutual understanding are key.

    Funny how most of the people commenting here, if not all, are clearly also biased while they accused the author as biased.

    Extremism is wrong no matter which side you are on. Would these same commenters condemn the violence initiated by the white extremists and Indian extremists as well? Remember the NZ massacre? What about the oppression faced by the Uyghur Muslim community in China? Would the commenters who hated this article keen to fight these as well? I bet they won’t. Double standard.

  12. What a crap article! Does the author even understand the situation? Freedom of expression is supreme and must be defended at all costs! Everything should be subject to scrutiny and mockery. Religion is no exception. Instead of talking about banning evil practices in Islam, the author wants to silence the only person in Europe who has the guts to stand up to islamic fascism. How can you justify murdering of innocent civilians just for drawing a cartoon? Islam can never live peacefully with advanced civilizations.

  13. Islamists and Leftists have always been in cahoots
    This article from Mr. Pankaj Mishra, an avowed Leftist, proves that again.
    The Left freely criticizes, mocks and caricatures all religions and religious figures except for Islam and Prophet Mohammad. The Left is vociferous about the freedom of expression as long as this freedom is used to attack other faiths. When this basic and sacrosanct freedom os directed at Islam, the Left changes colours like a chameleon.
    Thanks to The Print for publishing this article from a so called reputed Leftist intellectual. It once again demonstrates the “commitment” of the Left to free speech and other lofty ideals.

  14. This article once again proves why the Leftists are even more of a threat to the civilized world than Islamists.
    People like Mr. Pankaj Mishra will go to any lengths and stoop to any lows in order to justify the bigotry, violence and intolerance of Islamists.
    If the perpetrators of the crimes had been Hindus linked with the RSS/Bajrang Dal, would Mr. Mishra have been of the same opinion? Would he have held Mr. Macron responsible for this and laid the blame at the door of ” the structure of French society”?
    Shameless and pathetic!!

  15. Wow, I wonder what religion the journalist is?

    Clearly biased, poorly written article that looks to put Macron in bad light, even though he is the only one standing up to this. Do I have to include all the senseless violence France has endured in recent years?

    You should definitely be sacked, or at least left to reflect on this article and how you should have written it.

    I hope you like the cartoons, I heard they are nearly as good as Da Vinci himself 🙂

  16. The Leftists like this authors are more dangerous then a Islamic Jihadi, remember in 1946 these Leftists and communists supported the idea of Islamic nation Pakistan, can you see any Leftist& communists in Pakistan or any other Islamic nations, Big NO, why !!!

  17. The author should have mentioned that Islam need reform otherwise they will destroy themselves and many others in this world. The Print is useless, and biased.

  18. Pathetic disgusting very partial article. Not sure if it’s print’s or Bloomberg’s. What’s wrong with these people. Why do they support such atrocious acts. I’m so angry right now. Maybe they will understand when their own people are beheaded. I wasn’t expecting this from print. Very misguided article lol.

  19. Rubbish article. Obnoxious justification for islamic terrorism. Desperate trial to shut down the bold voices of truth by twisting explanations.

    Glorification of the “peaceful religious ideology” by liberals and leftists is the reason the whole world is bleeding and terrorism never stops. The leftist/liberal mainstream media wants to handicap world leaders and their fight against islamic terrorism and give ammo to jihadists. Such media platforms are the softcore supporters of jihad, anti-india, anti-west and anti-humanity voices.

  20. Rubbish article. Obnoxious justification for islamic terrorism. Desperate trial to shut down the bold voices of truth by twisting explanations.

    Such glorification of the “peaceful religious ideology” by liberals and leftists is the reason the whole world is bleeding and terrorism never stops. The leftist/liberal mainstream media wants to handicap world leaders and their fight against islamic terrorism and give ammo to jihadists. Such media platforms are the softcore supporters of jihad, anti-india, anti-west and anti-humanity voices.

  21. The situation in India may be different where there are rules against lampooning of religious figures or saints.
    Most persons in India work within such limits . But France does not define such limits and anyone who does not like
    a cartoon or comment is free to object or write a rebuttal, but cannot take to the gun or knife.
    Islamic people who have taken residence in France have not understood the basic French political and social system, in spite of living there for decades.
    If they want the democracy , freedom and security of EU, then it’s time for them to conform, or seriously consider a relocation to Middle east.

  22. Gandhian and Nehruian age appeasement of violent Muslims will not work in this day and age. Indian leftist ideology is sickening and stupid.

  23. Dear author ,just go threw comments please.
    And watch video of jakir abba’s final order on what will happen to people like you after whole world is islamist.

  24. Utterly biased and blot on journalism.
    How is The Print asking for support from readers and giving space for such articles ?
    This columnist is making mockery of constitutional values and laws of a sovereign state like France. This is just unacceptable on so many levels.
    How did this article even got passed by editors and moderators ? Such sad state of affairs at The Print.

    PS : This is an ex Muslim this side if it matters for The print moderators.

  25. The author is sick to write such an article when the country faces radicalization leading to terrorism. When France gave them shelter, they knew the culture of the land. And there’s nothing wrong in following freedom of speech. A harmless cartoon is nothing compared to Samuel Paty’s and 3 women’s head. Really sick article. Nonsense…

  26. Not a single word for “peaceful” religion and instead author is blaming French civilization which is considered most liberal society around the world. Why across the world when something terrible happens it’s always one particular peaceful religion involved?

    • These Islamo-leftist fascists will never change!!

      What about the Muslim leaders (Erdogan, Imran Khan, Mahatir Mohammad..) who are directly & indirectly calling for killing of Non Muslims??

      Does it not prove that terrorist culture & killing ideology has been cultivated to perpetrate animal style violence against non Muslims??!!

  27. Don’t see how depicting a cartoon can be seen so offensive as to murder somebody. Islamists and their apologists need to learn that if this affects their religious sensibilities then possibly they need to modify their sensibilities rather than expecting others to defer to them. Plain terrorism is being supported in this article

  28. This is a highly biased article, that blurs the distinction between Islam and Islamism. While Islam is the faith of 1.4 billion people, Islamism is not a form of the Muslim faith or an expression of Muslim piety. Rather, it is a militant political ideology that strives to derive legitimacy from Islam. And they have a global propaganda and recruitment network facilitated by the Dark Web that goes from China to North Africa to Europe and are rapidly radicalizing vulnerable Muslim populations, esp. disenfranchised youngsters, inciting them to terrorist acts. This is the real, global issue…

  29. I salute to French Liberalism. A simple point: Can you question or say anything against Holocaust in France? If you cannot offend 10 million regular Jews, who has given power to any one and any country on earth to offend about 3 Billions world Muslims by ridiculing its beloved Prophet?
    (SG: your YT channel Hide my all comments. Please UNHIDE them. Thanks.)

  30. “To put it soberingly: Macron has staked France’s global reputation on crude mockery of a figure revered by more than a billion Muslims.”
    So what “qualifiers” do you put on free speech and freedom of expression? What limits are you in favour of? You have not made that clear.

  31. Very senseless article. Writer failed to mention the bold steps taken by Emmanuel Macron to wipe out the terrorists and the criminals.

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