August 6, 2014

August 8, Less than a week apart, two public figures have characterized French Muslims as being “too discreet in their denunciation of extremists that claim to be a part of Islam.” On July 28, Figaro journalist Natacha Polony published her article “Letter to a young Muslim compatriot” in which she says that she’s “hurting for her France.” On August 2, Jean d’Ormesson, also a journalist for the Figaro, called on French Muslims to explicitly denounce the Muslim state in Iraq.

Nils Sinkiewicz states that, “On the one hand, the difference between the good and bad Muslims is considered evidence in itself. On the other, the good Muslims are urged to say loudly and clearly that they disapprove of the bad ones. This is hardly consistent, but ‘There are things that are better when said,’ according to Polony.”

French Muslims are required to be both patriotic members of society and to assimilate, “leaving them no choice between the role of the terrorist…or the groveling alien eager to prove his loyalty.”

In the wake of an attack on a church in Alexandria, UMP member Bernard Carayon declared that “the Muslim organizations of France [must] declare a moderate Islam, they must prove that they are not satisfied with press statements that are moving and courteous, that they advocate as a whole against the violence of their fundamentalist coreligionists.”

Sinkiewicz asks, “And what if the advocates for peaceful coexistence have fed misconceptions instead of stopping them? The media attention focuses more on the corruption of the real Islam that it is held to be a religion ‘of love, of peace, and of tolerance.’ From this perspective, terrorist acts are a godsend for the cunning wrongdoers who otherwise couldn’t ask Muslims to ‘prove’ their loyalty without being reminded of the principles of this secularism that is so dear to them.”

In a 2013 IPSOS survey, 74% of Frenchmen found Islam to be “intolerant and incompatible with the ‘values of the French society.’” Beyond the convenient opposition between the good Muslim and brutal Islamist it is “time to admit that far from closing the debate about Muslims in France, the idealization of Islam has instead trapped Muslims and non-Muslims in a never-ending polemic on the moral obligation to condemn everything that moves away from the brochure. One small step for peaceful coexistence–a giant leap for the dialogue of the deaf.”

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