In a recent interview following the Carcassonne and Trèbes attacks, Manuel Valls stated: “I think we must take a strong, political, symbolic act, a ban on Salafism.”
His statements prompted swift reactions from other politicians. “I am astonished that Manuel Valls, who had had the opportunity, in his previous functions, to say that a certain number of measures were not possible, either materially or legally, proposes them today,” said Boris Vallaud, the spokesperson for the Socialist deputies.
National Front president Marine Le Pen also responded: “It amuses me to see Manuel Valls asking to ban Salafism, while he regularly treats us as Islamophobes or xenophobes.” In the same interview, Le Pen called for the dissolution of the “Union of Islamic Organizations of France” (now called “Muslims of France”), as well as any organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Prime Minister Édouard Philippe praised “a real question on the fight for civilization (and) the cultural counterinsurgency that we must carry out so that republican values prevail.” Quoting Article 10 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, he stated, however, that “one can not forbid an idea” but rather “punish the behavior it entails if it is contrary to public order, the laws of the Republic, and the minimum requirements of life in society “.
Rachid Temal, a senator from Val-d’Oise, also responded to the comments, saying: “We need a symbol, but a realistic symbol. Is it seriously thought that decreeing the prohibition of such or such school of thought–as condemnable as it is–will address the problem?”