On Thursday an assailant killed three people with a knife near the Church of Notre Dame in the French port city of Nice. Let there be no doubt that this brutal attack terrified the Muslim population the most and for this there are two reasons:
The first of which is that they wonder how a person who committed such a heinous crime could be considered a Muslim when they believe in a religion whose holy book says, “Whoever kills a person unjustly, it is as though he has killed all of mankind.” And the second reason is because they know that even though they committed no wrong, they will more than ever become the target of hate speech and crimes.
No one expected French President Macron to come out and address the Muslims who are citizens of his country, who make up ten percent of France’s population, and say, “You are not responsible for what happened, so do not worry.” On the contrary, we have even seen him use the term "Islamic terrorism" in his statements at the scene in Nice. And he also said, "Our nation, together with its Catholic citizens, is facing an Islamic attack. “Our country has been subjected to an "Islamic terror" attack. We dispatched 7,000 soldiers to ensure security."
The leader of the racist right-wing movement in France, Marine Le Pen, used phrases that were not so different from Macron’s, except for some nuances, when she said, “Islamism is an ideology that has declared war on us. It is necessary to eliminate all associations, structures, men and women that spread and support this ideology.”
As we can see, making statements without making a distinction between Islam and Muslims and between terrorism and holding Islam responsible for everything that happens has become a sport among politicians in France.
Here are two examples:
First example: During the course of a talk show on a national local channel, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin described the halal food aisles in supermarket chains across the country as something that "encourages separatism.”
Second example: Former French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn criticized sportswear bran Decathlon after it produced a headscarf suitable for jogging, saying, "I would not like for a French brand to manufacture such a product."
These opinions are two that categorically accuse even Muslims who are not devout and have no connection to radicalism of terrorism, violence and fundamentalism.
If not racism then what can it be?
A few weeks ago, in the area surrounding the Eiffel Tower in capital Paris an attack was committed by two perpetrators who stabbed two other Muslim women as they shouted at them saying, "You filthy Arabs!" The health condition of one of these women is serious. Meanwhile, both the state and society in France portrayed the perpetrators of this crime as people who were "unable to control their nerves."
And what can we expect in a climate of complete hysteria? They can no longer tolerate even a Muslim country expressing solidarity with what is happening.
You may remember the incident after Charlie Hebdo published these offensive cartoons whereby some of its employees were attacked. The whole world rushed to Paris to show sympathy and solidarity. This time, however, it seems that Paris has become arrogant, as if it is saying, "We no longer need anyone's solidarity." Thankfully, there are still some leaders, even if they are far and few in between, who can address Macron by saying, "You are not going about it the right way, Mr. Macron."
Among them is Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who commented on the Nice attack by saying, "The terrorists who carried out these attacks were killers who did so in cold blood and do not represent Islam." These words reminded me of what former British Prime Minister Cameron said after a similar attack in 2013 when he said, "It would be unfair to hold Muslims responsible for this attack while they live in peace. Muslims are the ones who have suffered the most and are impacted by terrorism. Our police and intelligence services are working around the clock. Britain will always stand up to terrorism. "
If you are able to remember these words even after seven years, then there is absolutely no doubt that the Muslims of Britain have never forgotten them. Cameron had adopted a similar attitude after the killing of a British citizen who was beheaded by Daesh in 2014 when he addressed the Muslims of his country, saying, "They are killing thousands of Muslim and Christian minorities in Syria and Iraq and claiming to do so in the name of Islam. This is nonsense. Islam is a religion of peace, so these are not Muslims, they are monsters. "
Unfortunately, Europe has recently been deprived of leaders who possess this wisdom. After the statements issued by European foreign ministers which endorse France's stance, it appears that the situation has changed a lot even in Britain after seven years. Racism is beginning to take hold even in “mainstream” parties across Europe.
Macron's current position threatens the lives of a large number of French citizens, for whose security he bears responsibility as their president. The epidemic of hate is spreading faster than the Black Death did in Europe in the Middle Ages.