Valls said: “We must say all of this is not Islam. The hate speech, anti-Semitism that hides behind anti-Zionism and hate for Israel… the self-proclaimed imams in our neighbourhoods and our prisons who are promoting violence and terrorism.” He also said: “Yet Islam is here to stay in France.”
The Islamic State, al-Qaeda, those “self-proclaimed imams” in France, and a host of others insist that their hatred, anti-Semitism, violence and terrorism are not only Islamic, but quintessentially Islamic. Could they be right? This question is not allowed to be discussed in the West — even raising it brings charges of “racism,” “bigotry” and “Islamophobia,” as if it were an obviously settled question that jihad terrorism, Islamic anti-Semitism, and Islamic supremacism had nothing to do with Islam. Yet it is not at all settled as far as the jihadis are concerned, and they continue to make recruits among young Muslims in France and elsewhere in the West by claiming Islamic authenticity.
So Valls is staking the future of France on what is, at best, an unproven proposition: that the violence done in Islam’s name is not Islamic and is rejected by the vast majority of Muslims in France and elsewhere.
Is that wise?
“Hate and extremism ‘not Islam’: French PM,” by Joshua Melvin, AFP, June 15, 2015:
Paris (AFP) – French Prime Minister Manuel Valls stressed on Monday there was no link between extremism and Islam, as he opened a conference aimed at improving ties with France’s large Muslim community.
“We must say all of this is not Islam,” said Valls. “The hate speech, anti-Semitism that hides behind anti-Zionism and hate for Israel… the self-proclaimed imams in our neighbourhoods and our prisons who are promoting violence and terrorism.”
Five months after the jihadist attacks in Paris that killed 17 people and shocked the world, the government plans to hold a series of meetings with top officials from the roughly five million-strong Muslim community, the largest in Europe.
The first forum — expected to be attended by between 120-150 Muslim community leaders as well as top government officials and ministers — will debate security at religious sites, the image of Islam in the media and the building of new mosques.
There are about 2,500 mosques in France, with another 300 projects under way, but creating new Muslim places of worship has sometimes prompted fierce opposition from local residents….
Radicalisation, however, is not on the agenda for the half-day gathering at France’s interior ministry, which said putting it on the table would be “a bad message to the French and to the Muslim community.”
The gathering is a tricky exercise for the government because it is seeking an improved dialogue with the Muslim community while trying to avoid looking like it is singling it out….
“Islam still provokes misunderstandings, prejudices, and is rejected by some citizens,” the prime minister said.”Yet Islam is here to stay in France. It’s the second largest religious group in our country.”