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Anti-Semitism and Francophobic excesses are a daily routine

Bitter France

By David Dastych

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"What should the free world do while facing Islamist intimidation?" – wrote Robert Redeker, a French philosophy teacher and writer. His op-ed article, published by Le Figaro in Paris on September 19, 2006 resulted in many death-threats, directed at its author for his alleged "defamation of Islam and of Prophet Mohammed". These threats must have been serious, because two months after the publishing Redeker is still hiding in his own country, under the protection of security services.

A short time after leaving his home in Toulouse, Robert Redeker wrote this dramatic letter to his friend, a well-known philosopher and human rights activist – Andre Glucksmann:

"I am now in a catastrophic personal situation. Several death threats have been sent to me, and I have been sentenced to death by an organizations of the al-Qaeda movement. [...] On the websites condemning me to death there is a map showing how to get to my house to kill me, they have my photo, the places where I work, the telephone numbers, and the death pronouncement. [...] There is no safe place for me, I have to beg, two evenings here, two evenings there. [...] I am under the constant protection of the police. I must cancel all scheduled conferences. And the authorities urge me to keep moving. [...] All costs are at my own expense, including those of rents a month or two ahead, the costs of moving twice, legal expenses, etc. It's quite sad. I exercised my constitutional rights, and I am punished for it, even in the territory of the Republic. This affair is also an attack against national sovereignty – foreign rules, decided by criminally minded fanatics, punish me for having exercised a constitutional right, and I am subjected, even in France, to great injury."

His situation didn't change much after several weeks. Recently he wrote to his friends in Paris:

"I don't have the right to put my nose outside. And this continues for almost four weeks. The man, who was acknowledged to be the author of threats against me, has been set free, under legal control. And I, his victim, I live under conditions of quasi-detention. I don't have the right to leave, I am not free to do anything, except sending e-mails and telephoning. I do not even have the right to open the shutters. And one of the culprits is given freedom; he has the rights of which I have been deprived. It's horrible to live."

Pierre Rousselin, the editor in chief of Le Figaro, apologized on Al-Jazeera TV for the publication of the article. A number of Islamic countries, including Egypt, banned Le Figaro following the publication of Redeker's piece. Mr Rousselin said the publication of the op-ed was a mistake. He said the article did not express the paper's opinion. The article is no longer available on the Figaro website. But, ever since, it was reprinted, reposted or quoted in many countries, with positive or negative comments. We are posting herewith the full text of Mr. Redeker's op-ed published in Le Figaro, as a supplement (below this article), for our Readers to make their own judgments on it.

Should we tolerate fanaticism, once more?

The Ministry for National Education did not grant any support to Mr. Redeker, an appointed high-school teacher. How long a time can one hide in his own country because of a gang of fanaticized terrorists, pursuing a citizen who simply has expressed his concern, after a wave of Islamist excesses following the lecture of pope Benedict XVI? Even if Mr. Redeker sharply criticized Islam in his article, should he pay by his head for this offence? Is France of today a country where free speech can be punished – against the law - by death? It's absurd, but still true.

The case of Robert Redeker is not the first of its kind. Three years earlier, in September of 2003, Louis Chagnon, a Christian and a History teacher in the Georges Pompidou College in Courbevoie, became the object of harassment, and even of legal proceedings, following a lesson of history, when he dictated to his pupils the following words: "Mohammed changed into a robber and an assassin […] when he ordered the massacre of the third and last Jewish tribe of Medina, some 600 to 900 people of the Quaraizah, in May 627." The parents of some of these pupils demanded from the Ministry of Education to lay off the teacher. This was only the beginning of a long series of harassments and vexations, during which one did not hesitate to call upon the administration, justice and to launch a press campaign against the history lecturer.

Louis Chagnon received the support of several French organizations and their Web sites, such as: laic.info, Primo-Europe, UPJF.org, and also of one of the top journalists of Le Figaro – Ivan Rioufol. There were no death-threats against him, so far, contrary to the case of Robert Redeker.

At the end of his Le Figaro article, Redeker concluded:

"As in the Cold War, where violence and intimidation were the methods used by an ideology hell bent on hegemony, so today Islam tries to put its leaden mantel all over the world. Benedict XVI's cruel experience is testimony to this. Nowadays, as in these times, the West has to be called the "free world" in comparison to the Muslim world; likewise, the enemies of the "free world", the zealous bureaucrats of the Koran's vision, who swarm in the very center of the "free world", should be called by their true name."

One couldn't say it better. Salman Rushdie, the Indian writer, against whom the Ayatollah Khomeini pronounced his death sentence in 1989, because of his novel "The Satanic Verses" – flees the assassins after seventeen years. In September of 2006, he came to visit Poland. At a press-conference in Warsaw, Rushdie joked: "I don't wish anybody to be condemned to death by Khomeini. This said, I am still alive, which is not any more the case of Khomeini. Beware of the writers!" In October of this year, at an event organized by the Center for Inquiry in New York, Salman Rushdie spoke frankly on the ongoing debate in America and Western Europe over Islam and terrorism. Rushdie called for a reform movement in Islam including a re-interpretation of the Koran to take it away from the ‘literalists'.

"Douce France"

[1]

In a modest 18th District [18e Arrondissement] of Paris, located not far from La Porte de la Chapelle, near a subway station of the same name, there's still a high building, a banal communal house, called by local people "The Babel Tower". In the early 1990s, it was cohabited by Frenchmen of various origins, religions and different colors of skin. On the ground floor, there was also a kind of club, which accommodated everyone. Not a poor man's house, this Tower. The 18th district was also multicultural, populated by ordinary people, with many Arab and Chinese restaurants, Vietnamese shops, and a local market, from which emanated exotic fragrances.

"Douce France" [Sweet France] and its republican ideals: Freedom-Equality-Fraternity always attracted the immigrants from the whole world. The oldest among them, the Jews, completely integrated, regard themselves as French. The integration of the Moslems, mainly from North Africa, although they declare the French nationality, proceeds much more slowly, sometimes in opposition to the society and with feelings of alienation. Not every one of them had the chance of Zidane, and many of young Moslems yield to the influence of radical ideas. This brings about primitive reactions, like violence and vandalism ("I will burn Paris!"), sometimes extending to criminal actions. France of today lives through a difficult period of conflicts, witnessing the return of racialism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and also the birth of…Francophobia. Strange but true, some French citizens are anti-French!

When looked at from abroad, these inter-ethnic conflicts and the absence of the integration of certain part of the French population is really astonishing.

This is France, where the Church is separated from the State by the laws of 1905, still valid, recently amended in 2001 and 2004, and prohibiting any discrimination on religious grounds, this France does not manage to observe her own laws. Today the population of France nears 63 million, of which only 12 per cent practice religion regularly. 64.3 per cent of Frenchmen are considered Catholic (but only 8 per cent of them are practicing), 27 per cent do not identify themselves with any religion, and 8.7 per cent are the believers of other religions. This last group is made up from 49.4 per cent of Moslems, and only 7 per cent of Jews (the statistics of 2004). In absolute figures, the French Moslems amount to 5 to 10 million [no exact figures are available] and the French Jews number about 600 thousand (60 per cent of them are the believers, but avoid religious practices). [2]

The religious demography of France does not provide any base for the explanation of conflicts between the Moslems and the Jews. The authorities try to make popular the mutual respect of the citizens of various origins and religions. The laws repress the racialist aggression, as well as the public negation of the crimes against humanity, such as the Shoah. When in March of 2004 the ostentatious wearing of religious symbols (as the Islamic scarf for women, the Jewish kippa, and the large Christian crosses) was interdicted in the country's schools, only one religious group openly protested. There were protests of Moslem school-girls, but the action seemed to stop there. The media reported that, on 13 million of children and teenagers in the French schools, only 1,200 pupils (girls) were still wearing the Moslem scarf in school.

In July of 2004, the National Assembly passed a bill [3], authorizing the repression of the people exhibiting "deliberated acts of discrimination, hatred or violence directed against a definite individual or group of persons." On the basis of this resolution, the imam Abdelkader Bouziane could be expelled from France, in October 2004, for having preached that husbands have the right to beat their wives. The same imam was known for cheating the French social aid office and pocketing over Euro 5,000 per month for his alleged children and divorced wives.

"I've killed a Jew, I will go to the Paradise!"

Until the mid-1990s, the Moslem anti-Semitism in France was a phenomenon either rare, or dissimulated. But the first in many years anti-Semitic crime, perpetrated on October 19, 2003, was really horrible. Sebastien Sellam, 21, an appreciated disc-jockey of a chic Paris club in the Champs-Elisees, the "Queen", left his apartment and went down to the garage to take his car out and to drive to work. At this point, he was brutally attacked by his neighbor, a Moslem youth. The attacker sliced his throat with a knife and gouged out his eyes with a fork. Then he went up the steps to his door, his hands in blood, shouting: "Mum, I killed a Jew, I will go to Paradise!" The family of the assassin was already known for their anti-Jewish opinions. The close relatives of the victim already had been already finding on the threshold of their door, cocks with their throat sliced – a traditional warning of assassination. The day of the crime, another Moslem, Mohammed Grib, assaulted Mrs. Chantal Piekolek (a 53 year-old French woman, married to a Jew), larding her with some 27 blows of a knife into her chest and neck. Except for a popular tabloid Le Parisien, these two horrible crimes did not draw any attention of the mainstream French media. The Police advised Sebastien's family not to tell anybody that the crime was an anti-Semitic act.

It was only the second such crime, also committed against a Jew and discovered on February 13, 2006, which "deserved" the attention on the first pages of the print media, and which shocked the public opinion in France and in Europe. On this day, a woman found a Jewish youth, Ilan Halimi, atrociously mutilated and in agony, in a Southern suburb of Paris - Bagneux. He had been dropped close to the railway tracks. Soon after, he died.

Let's recall the facts: about January 20, 2006, when a young woman invited Ilan to a rendez-vous. It was an ambush. The young man was kidnapped and then cruelly tortured during three weeks by an Arab-Black gang, calling itself "The Barbarians". Their motives were presented as criminal: they held Ilan's family to a Euro 1.0 million ransom. But it was just a pretext to avoid the accusation of an anti-Semite hate crime. The whole body of the victim was burned with cigarettes, with acid and was larded by blows of the knife. The leader of the group, Youssef Fofana, was caught by Police on the Ivory Coast, after having fled from France. When arrested, he tried to justify his crime by telling the Police officers: "We caught him, because he was a Jew, and the Jews are rich" – a typical excuse, using an anti-Semitic stereotype. The Court of Justice finally confirmed the anti-Semitic motive of the crime. Twenty-three members of the "Barbarians" were arrested and brought to justice. Several high officials of the French Government attended the burial ceremony of Ilan Halimi in the Synagogue de la Victoire in Paris, together with representatives of Christian and Moslem religious communities. On February 23, 2006, a procession of over 100,000 people was formed in Paris, in homage to Ilan, and to express the protest against racialism and anti-Semitism. The family of the victim complained that the Police acted too slowly and that the anti-Semitic motives of the crime hardly found their way to be openly expressed. [4] Later on, the parents of the victim had been tormented by allegations of MRAP, a tendentious organization, which organized legal processes against many Jews and against the people who defended them. They also organized legal help to the assassins, in an abject way, with no respect to the parents of Ilan, who opposed them.

Islam buys the media

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the President of OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) found a suitable way to counter the alleged anti-Islam campaign in the Western media. At a recent meeting of the OIC in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia, he proposed: "The Moslem investors should invest money in the big international media organizations, which often generate sizable profits, in order to be able to influence their policy through the boards of directors."

At the time of globalization and freedom of capital movement, it is not difficult to invest in the media. The Arab capital, particularly of the Saudis, has for a long time been present in the West, and France is one of these countries, where the Gulf States invest readily. The network of the interests between the Moslem countries and France is very vast. It includes many fields of commerce and industry. The question is thus: up to what point the Arab and Moslem investments in the media can influence and endanger the traditional French moderation, tolerance and the respect for the free expression of opinions? In Paris there are rumors circulating according to which 45 per cent of the shares of the biggest French news service, the AFP, could already be in the hands of Saudi investors. In spite of its serious reputation, which AFP enjoys in the international media world, its information policy sometimes evokes suspicion [5]. For example, until recently, AFP avoided calling terrorists…by their true name: "terrorists", inventing such euphemisms as "combatants", "partisans" or "resistance movement". One journalists told us the following anecdote: Some time ago, on a display boards in the corridors of the Agency, appeared a note authorizing the use of the word "terrorist". But for how long? The press, particularly on the Left, shows much "comprehension" and sympathy toward the Islamists, while severely attacking the United States, Israel, liberalism and capitalism. At the head of the list of such papers is the much respected daily Le Monde… It could eventually become Liberation, for which sales have dropped and which looks for ways to save itself. Caroline Fourest, a journalist of a popular satirical weekly Charlie-Hebdo (the newspaper which published the Danish caricatures and is facing legal action by Islamist organizations), expressed a concern that the financial contributions of Arab investors might influence the political direction of the French media. She remarked ironically [6]: "One thinks of a new Libe, a mix of Al-Manar and Islamo-gauchism". As for the difficult financial standing of some papers – she added – it could be better to let them to collapse, than to yield to the diktats of the Gulf Countries.

Is the situation of the French media really so bad, that they would be ready to sell their freedom of expression for the Arab dinars? It is difficult to answer this question definitively, because the information about the Moslem financing of some French media generally remains secret [7]. On the other hand, there are no problems with the financial flow on the industrial markets, including the aeronautic and military ones. Recently, Mrs. Michele Alliot-Marie, the French Minister of Defense, signed a preliminary contract with Saudi Arabia for a nice amount of Euro 2.5 billion. France will deliver to Saudi Arabia 30 Fennec combat helicopters, ten NH-90 transport helicopters for the Navy, and at least two air-tankers Airbus A330-200. In 2007, there a new large sales contract for weapons and military equipment, worth Euro 4.0 billion is expected. When Ares speaks, the Muses keep silent! [8]

In an American cultural magazine Telos, one can read an article by Russell Berman, entitled: Freedom of Expression Disappears: France and Its New Repressions" [9]. In conclusion, the author wrote:

"Beyond a doubt, there is certainly a real and dangerous enemy of the West, ready to hijack planes and explode trains; but there is another enemy, a logic of fear and repression, which uses Islam as a pretext to develop a new culture of control. This is the retreat of the West: unless it becomes willing to defend its freedoms at home, it will surely not fight for them against an external enemy in the East because: liberty is indivisible."

Not so "douce", France

Probably thinking of his compatriots, General de Gaulle [10] said one day: "In general, intelligent people are not courageous, the courageous people are not intelligent." "Douce France" [Sweet France] this ideal of the country, which attracted oppressed people from the whole world, does not exist any more. Perhaps, it never existed?

Another famous Frenchman, this time from the Left – Jean Paul Sartre, wrote: "No need for grill: the Hell is other people" [11]. Today, it is an other Left, still alive and naïve, which is filled with enthusiasm for this "infernal alternative of Islam", Islamism, just like before they were filled with admiration for "the true" communism of Stalin. And the extreme Right, that of Le Pen – or to the right from Le Pen – revives the nostalgia of Vichy and of Marshall Petain. Between these two extremes, there live the normal, not so intelligent and not fairly courageous Frenchmen; those who fill the streets in protest against the miseries of France and of the contemporary world: racism, anti-Semitism, terrorism. It is they who still have the capacity to win the war against "The Caliphate" [12], proposed to them [or rather imposed on them], in France and in Europe, by bin Laden and other Jihadists. Oriana Fallaci [13] did not fear to denounce, high and strong, the violence, which imposes on our civilization the nostalgic fanatics, reborn from the distant Middle Ages. This is, perhaps the example for us to follow:He who retreats, will be defeated.

David Dastych (The article written with collaboration of Ms. Irena Elster (Paris).

Supplement Robert Redeker's article, published by Le Figaro, September 19, 2006

The orginal title: Face aux intimidations islamistes, que doit faire le monde libre ?

(The English translation)

What should the free world do while facing Islamist intimidation?

By Robert Redeker

The reactions caused by Benedict XVI's analysis of Islam and violence highlight the underhanded maneuver carried out by Islam to stifle what the West values more than anything, and which does not exist in any Moslem country: freedom of thought and expression.

Islam tries to impose its rules on Europe: opening of public swimming pools at certain hours reserved exclusively for women, ban on caricaturing this religion, demands for special diets for Muslim children in school cafeterias, struggle to impose the veil at school, accusations of Islamophobia against free spirits.

How can one explain the ban on the wearing thongs on Paris-Beaches (Paris-plages) this summer? The reasoning put forth was bizarre: women wearing thongs would risk "disturbing the peace". Did this mean that bands of frustrated youths would become violent while being offended by displays of beauty? Or were the authorities scared of Islamist demonstrations by "virtue squads" near Paris-Beaches?

However, the authorization of the veil on the street is more disturbing to public peace than wearing a thong, because it invites complaints against the upholding the oppression of women .This ban represents an Islamization of sensibilities in France, a more or less conscious submission to the diktats of Islam. At the very least it is the result of the insidious Muslim pressure on the minds: even those who protested the introduction of a "Jean Paul II Square" in Paris would not be opposed to the construction of mosques. Islam is trying to force Europe to yield to its vision of humanity.

As in the past with Communism, the West finds itself under ideological watch. Islam presents itself, like defunct Communism, as an alternative to the Western world. In the way of Communism before it, Islam, to conquer spirits, plays on a sensitive string. It prides itself on a legitimacy which troubles Western conscience, which is attentive to others: it claims to be the voice of the oppressed of the planet. Yesterday, the voice of the poor supposedly came from Moscow, today it originates in Mecca! Again, today, western intellectuals incarnate the eye of the Koran, as they have incarnated the eye of Moscow. They now excommunicate people because of Islamophobia, as they did before because of anti-communism.

This opening to others, specific to the West, is a secularization of Christianity that can be summarized thus: the other person must come before me. The Westerner, heir to Christianity, is that who exposes his soul bare. He runs the risk of being seen as weak. With the same ardor as Communism, Islam treats generosity, broadmindedness, tolerance, gentleness, women's liberty and freedom of manners, democratic values, as marks of decadence. They are weaknesses that it seeks to exploit, by means of useful idiots, self-righteous consciences drowning in nice feelings, in order to impose the Koranic order on the Western world itself.

The Koran is a book of unparalleled violence. Maxime Rodinson states, in Encyclopedia Universalis, some truths that in France are as significant as they are taboo. On one hand: "Mohammed revealed in Medina unsuspected qualities as political leader and military chief (…) He resorted to private war, by then a prevalent custom in Arabia (….) Mohammed soon sent small groups of partisans to attack the Meccan caravans, thus punishing his unbelieving compatriots and simultaneously acquiring the booty of a wealthy man."

There is more: "Mohammed profited from this success by eradicating the Jewish tribe which resided in Medina, the Quarayza, whom he accused of suspect behavior." And: "After the death of Khadija, he married a widow, a good housewife, called Sawda, and in addition to the little Aisha, barely ten years old. His erotic predilections, held in check for a long time, led him to ten simultaneous marriages."

A merciless war chief, plunderer, slaughterer of Jews and a polygamist, such is the man revealed through the Koran.

Oh, the Catholic Church is not above reproach. Its history is strewn with dark pages, for which it has officially repented. The Inquisition, the hounding of witches, the execution of the philosophers Giordano Bruno and Vanini, those wrong-thinking Epicureans, in the 18th century the execution of the knight of La Barre for impiety, do not plead in the church's favor. But what differentiates Christianity from Islam is obvious: it is always possible to go back to true evangelical values, the peaceful character of Jesus as opposed to the deviations of the Church.

None of the faults of the Church have their roots in the Gospel. Jesus is non-violent. Going back to Jesus is akin to forswear the excesses of the Church. Going back to Mahomet, to the contrary, reinforces hate and violence. Jesus is a master of love, Mahomet is a master of hatred.

The stoning of Satan, each year in Mecca, is not only an obsolete superstition. It not only sets the stage for a hysterical crowd flirting with barbarity. Its imports anthropological. Here is a rite, which each Muslim is invited to submit to, that emphasizes violence as a sacred duty in the very heart of the believer.

This stoning, accompanied each year by the accidental trampling to death of some of the believers, sometimes up to several hundreds, is a rite that feeds archaic violence.

Instead of getting rid of this archaic violence, and thus imitating Judaism and Christianity (Judaism starts when it abandons human sacrifice, and enters civilization; Christianity transforms sacrifice through the Eucharist), Islam builds a nest for this violence, where it will incubate. Whereas Judaism and Christianity are religions whose rites spurn violence, by de-legitimizing it, Islam is a religion that exalts violence and hatred in its everyday rites and sacred book.

Hatred and violence dwell in the book with which every Muslim is brought up, the Koran. As in the Cold War, where violence and intimidation were the methods used by an ideology hell bent on hegemony, so today Islam tries to put its leaden mantel all over the world. Benedict XVI's cruel experience is testimony to this. Nowadays, the West has to be called the "free world" in comparison to the Muslim world; likewise, the enemies of the "free world", the zealous bureaucrats of the Koran's vision, swarm in the very center of the free World.


Footnotes to the article "Bitter France":
  • [1] An allusion to a once famous song «Douce France» [Sweet France], composed in 1943 by Charles Trenet. The title of this article « Bitter France» is also a bitter irony .
  • [2] International Religious Freedom Report, 2006, Released by the US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour.
  • [3] The Bill of July 28, 2004: Loi du 28 juillet 2004 "Apart from the behavior contrary to the basic interests of the State, or linked to terrorist activity, or consisting of clear and deliberated acts of discrimination, hatred or violence directed against a definite individual or group of persons – nobody can be made the object of expulsion, also in view of hypotheses mentioned in the last verse of Article 25."
  • [4]. See the book: Ilan Halimi, le canari dans la mine, éd. Yago/ Primo-Europe, 2006.
  • [5]. See a publication of the research by Atlantis Institute, of November 17, 2005, published by Proche-Orient.info «Le Paysage télévisuel arabe et sa diffusion par satellite».
  • [6] See Caroline Fourest La tentation obscurantiste, Grasset, 2005.
  • [7] See, among others :"L'AFP occulte certaines informations, heureusement, l'Associated Press est là !" (Medias-Ratings).
  • [8] Ares, the god of war dieu de la guerre, according to Greco-Roman mythology .
  • [9] Russell Berman, "Free Speech Fades Away: France and the New Repression".
  • [10] See: Ch. de Gaulle, Citations
  • [11]. In J.P. Sartre's "Huis clos".
  • [12] See: Caliphate, Highbeam Encyclopedia:
  • [13] Oriana Fallaci, see Wikipedia: