Monday, October 19, 2020

A Beheading in France


Another chapter in Islam's slow war on France.

You need to take time today to read a critically important article by John Lichfield. Below I will pull extensively from it, but you need to read the whole thing.

On October 6, Mr Paty, 47, a much-liked history and geography teacher in a dull Paris suburb, produced for his middle school civics class a pair of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed which provoked the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine five years ago.

Cartoons. History. A significance moment in their nation’s history. That is the job of a teacher. A secular teacher in a secular republic.

What happens when that republic allows, and indeed encourages, the growth of an imported culture that is contrary to those same values?

How can publishing such cartoons be justified, he asked the teenagers, if they offend people of the Islamic faith? Where does the freedom of expression end and respect for others’ feelings begin?

These questions are not easy, Mr Paty explained. That is why fundamental principles exist in democratic states such as France to help people of different faiths and opinions to get along without murdering one another (as they have in not-so-distant parts of French history). The complexities are the lesson. But this lesson cost Mr Paty his life. Ten days later he was dead – decapitated by a 19-year-old Chechen refugee to France as he walked home from school.

One of the pupils, a 13-year-old Muslim girl, had given her father a misleadingly lurid account of the lesson – from which she was absent. The father, with the help of a radical imam, started a campaign on the internet to have the teacher sacked. The lesson – or a false and inflammatory account of the lesson – became a cause celèbre on radical Islamic sites on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Parents at the school received as many as 10 messages day, some from Algeria and other Islamic countries, calling Mr Paty a “criminal”, a “thug” and a “paedophile” and demanding that he should be sacked.

The murderer, Abdullakh Anzorov, was a Chechen Muslim, born in Moscow 19 years ago. He did not know Mr Paty or the school. He lived in Evreux in Normandy, 60 miles away.  It is likely — but not certain — that he acted alone, enraged by the lies that he had read on the web.

Anzorov followed Mr Paty as he left the Collège du Bois d’Aulne in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, north west of Paris last Friday evening. He attacked him with a 12-inch butcher’s knife, stabbing him in the arms and abdomen and then beheading him. Anzorov was shot dead by police a few minutes later.

Twelve people have been arrested, including his father, grandfather and brother and the parent and imam (apparently unknown to Anzorov) who started the hysterical hue and cry online.

France once again starts to protest … but besides talk, what does their ruling class do?

In the grim litany of islamist terror attacks in France in recent years, the killing of one teacher may seem relatively unimportant. It will soon be the five-year anniversary of the Bataclan and associated attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 which killed 130 people. Nine months earlier, in February 2015, 17 people died in the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Hypercacher supermarket – for which 12 alleged associates of the terrorists are currently on trial.

But forget the numbers. Mr Paty’s lone murder has struck a raw and angry nerve in France – and not just because of the appalling manner of his death. Tens of thousands of people turned out to mourn and honour the teacher in demonstrations in Paris and other French cities on Sunday.

If this sounds familiar, it should. The French ruling class and its people spoke this after every attack … and yet, what happens?

Secularism is France’s state religion, the soil in which French democracy grows. The state guarantees a freedom to believe, and a freedom not to believe. It must otherwise be neutral on all religious questions. Teachers in state schools, though poorly paid and often criticised, are regarded as a front-line infantry, or secular priesthood, which passes on these Republican values of tolerance, freedom of expression and secularism to new generations.

The fact that Mr Paty was brutally murdered precisely for trying to explain these principles has made him into a kind of Republican martyr. There is talk of him being buried in the Panthéon, the secular cathedral on the Paris left bank which is the last resting place of great French men and women.

This is the challenge.

Mr Paty, though, was not the only target of last Friday’s attack. Anzorov also left a garbled message for the President, posted moments after the murder: “To Macron, leader of the infidels, I have executed one of your dogs of hell…Calm down others like him or we will inflict on you a severe punishment.”

Is freedom of speech worth it? That is the wrong question. To even ask it is to advertise you don’t understand the challenge. Freedom of speech is the fundamental liberty that allows all the others to freely exist. It is a concept not just worth civil war, but general war on a global scale. 

Embedded deep in the West, and not just France, are those who have other plans than enjoying the fruits of The Enlightenment.

They see the game in full.

Don’t forget, modern day Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, much of Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco were once Christian areas. There is a history here. Know it as they do. Act on it as they do. Spain was once part of an Islamic empire and wars were fought to hold off further invasion deep in to France and modern Austria. 

As I am wont to say; history is sticky.

Back to today’s challenge. The policies of previous decades have not been successful, and things have gotten worse. To continue to do the same but expect a different result is just folly. Fixing the problem will be more challenging now than earlier, but the French Republic must stand up firm to the challenge of its own creation.

This was obviously influenced by the furious response in parts of the Islamic world to a speech Macron had given in Les Mureaux two weeks ago. Les Mureaux is a more troubled, multi-racial, outer suburb of Paris in the Seine valley 20 kilometres west of Conflans. In the speech, the President proposed new action to prevent French Muslims from becoming a separate community who give their allegiance wholly to the Koran rather than French laws or values.

He promised a law on “secularity and liberty” to combat extremist Islamist indoctrination by forbidding the teaching of children at home after the age of three and by ending the “importation” of foreign-financed imams. Mosques will be placed under greater surveillance. State funding will be available to mosques which sign a charter on secularism and democracy.

Does anyone here think this will fix anything? Does this point you down the narrow path, or simply delay the inevitable off ramp to a deeper and more dangerous abyss? 

Islam is not structured like Christianity and Judaism. To pretend it is only plays in to the ignorance that got you here. There are some Islamic sects that are not a threat to a free republic, but the sects that are driving the violence in France are on the rise and are not of that confession.

Sad it is here, but this is the natural result of decades of clearly self-destructive policies of mass immigration without assimilation from cultures that are now fully embedded and well pass the critical mass to be self-sustaining. 

Again, just look at what started this latest skirmish.

One of the pupils, a 13-year-old Muslim girl, had given her father a misleadingly lurid account of the lesson – from which she was absent. The father, with the help of a radical imam, started a campaign on the internet to have the teacher sacked. The lesson – or a false and inflammatory account of the lesson – became a cause celèbre on radical Islamic sites on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Parents at the school received as many as 10 messages day, some from Algeria and other Islamic countries, calling Mr Paty a “criminal”, a “thug” and a “paedophile” and demanding that he should be sacked.

That is home grown.

The present situation is not sustainable and yet, as the murderer of the teacher shows, the present policies are doing nothing to stop it from getting worse.

France has, proportionally, the largest Muslim population in Europe – between five and six million, or just under tenth of its people. Many – probably as many as a half – are non-practising. The great majority are law-abiding and accept the primacy of national laws. But there has been a shift in the last 20 years, even among moderate muslims, towards a more overt expression of their faith and sense of Islamic identity.

I’ll repeat myself to emphasize the critical points; this was all known for decades. The path to today was well marked out and visible, but the ruling class pretended they did not see it. I have been warning in this venue for a decade and a half – but it has been obvious since the last few decades of the 20th Century that this crisis was coming. 

As previous generations of the ruling class failed to do their job, it is up to the present-day leaders and citizenship to fix the problem. As we are well past critical mass, the best path is now a narrow one – surrounded on one side by a gapping maw of the destruction of their nations as founded, and on the other being forced to become something they don’t want to be to defend it.

If the ruling classes won’t fix it, then the people will rise up – that is stepping through a door in to a dark room no well meaning person would like to see, but that is where it is heading.

Macron’s speech, clumsily worded in places, offered no snap solution. It offered a long-term strategy to create a barrier between the majority of the French Muslim population and a minority of extremists. This approach has been attacked, in the wake of Paty’s murder, by the Right and Far Right in France as a feeble response to the Islamist threat. Marine Le Pen of Rassemblement National called for a “real war against the poison of radical Islam…a real war to eradicate it finally”. Bruno Retailleau of the centre right Les Républicains said that “Islamism” must be “thrown out of the country by force”.

These are largely meaningless words. What sort of force exactly? What kind of real war? Most of France’s muslims are French and French born. They are not going anywhere. Any violent attempt to isolate an extremist but often submerged minority could prove disastrous.


But simple-sounding responses and explanations, whether offered by French politicians or by radical Muslim intellectuals, are not the solution. They are part of the problem. We should heed Mr Paty’s lecture to the 13 and 14-year-olds of Collège du Bois d’Aulne at Conflans-Saint Honorine.We should cling to the principles of tolerance and freedom which western societies have evolved from their own dark centuries of intolerance and violence. The principles are often muddled and confusing. But that is the lesson. Complexity is the lesson.

Exactly. What the ruling class needs to do is, as we say in NASCARistan, turn in to the skid. 

- Macron should publicly display the cartoons the teacher died for.

- All schools should do the same and while they are at it, pick a few scenes from “Life of Brian” that equally poke fun at Christianity and Judaism.

- Every newspaper should publish the cartoons.

- Saturate the intellectual marketplace to make a point.

You will be called names – but isn’t Paris worth a few idiots calling you names? Muslims and Islam can live just fine in the West, but not the kind that is causing the trouble in France.

Cowardice in the face of name calling and extremism brought on this crisis. If the French Republic, and the West for that matter, is a culture worth defending – then defend it.

Do that or lose it and accept what replaces it. What are you afraid of - being called names? 

Knives and Kalashnikovs may kill you, but words will never hurt you.

Stand or submit. Those are your options, and because of the errors of previous generations, you/we are running out of time to do it the easy way. 

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