When a “center government” Min. of Interior says the far right is “too soft on Islam”, islamophobia is indeed the center of gravity of French politics.
From the rush to Africa to the birth of the fifth Republic in 1958 following a pro Charles de Gaulle coup d’État, from the French Revolution in 1789 to the fall of the Vichy Regime in 1945, has France really distance herself from white supremacy?
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What does it say about a country when the current Minister of Interior Gerald Darmanin singles out the far right leader Marine Le Pen for being “too soft on Islam and in need of vitamines”?
When the far left leader Jean Luc Mélenchon has a forty year track record of supporting anti-Muslim controversies to the point of supporting Marine Le Pen when she refuses to cover her head in a Mosque in Beirut for: “No one tells French people what to wear”?
From Left to Right, the islamophobia consensus in france
Yasser Louati 00:00
You’re listening to Le breakdown. I’m your host, Yasser Louati speaking to you from the Paris Southside Banlieue, I’d like to first thank you for joining us for this new episode of this podcast. And I welcome our new listeners from wherever they are. Today the topic is again, unfortunately, France and its Muslim problem or I should say its manufactured Muslim problem. On social media, some people shared the the surreal debate between the current Minister of Interior Gerald Darmanin, who was facing the head of the far right party, Marine Le Pen. And one specific moment that captured people’s attention, it was Gerald Darmanin blaming, singling out Marine Le Pen for, quote “being too soft on Islam”. He did not say “too soft on Islamism” he said, “too soft on Islam”. So here we are today, in 2021, 14 months between, before the French presidential elections and the parliamentary elections that will take place a month after, the Minister of Interior, supposedly from a party that claims to be not from the right, nor from the left. And that Minister of Interior, pretending that he is tougher on Islam than Marine Le Pen. And in a smart move, Marine Le Pen positioned herself as a person who was not in a war against Islam and Muslims, and pretending that she was in favor of religious liberties. And that to her, Islam is not the problem, but the “ideology” derived from the Muslim faith. Now, of course, that is already shocking in and of itself, that the Minister of Interior in place; not, he’s not a former minister, he is still active, and he’s still in charge of our interior affairs, but on top of it, in France, the minister of interior is also the Minister of Religious Affairs. And this debate took place in the midst of the debates on a so called Islamist separatism that has led to the near adoption of the “Anti Separatism Bill”. Separatism, meaning French Muslims are organizing and taking their place in French society, participating in public debates and daring to say “no”, when the disagree already spoke about the anti the so called anti separatism bill in my last episodes, so please feel free to listen to them and share them in order for people to have a better glimpse over what’s happening in France today. Coming back to this debate between marine lepen and Jihad Dharma now we see that we have crossed another threshold. And this time, Jihad Dharma now is dwarfing marine lepen, the far right, the head of a party composed by Neo fascists and neo nazis, notorious anti Muslims and anti Semites that was set up by the people who collaborated with the Nazis during the Vichy era. The head of this president of this political party has been dwarfed by Emmanuel Macron, Minister of Interior. And this highlights once more that Islamophobia in France brings a politicians together, they may disagree on how you express Islamophobia or how have you frame it. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, they agree with the fact that Islam and Muslims are a problems. Besides this debate between marine lepen and Jihad Domino, a vote took place or a vote has been taking place in the halls of the National Assembly during the past week and a half and all parties All of them voted in favor of this law. And the very few who did not they just abstained from it. So, of course, people will say, How come? How come in France in 2021, we see such political consensus across the political spectrum, to further restrict the civil liberties of French Muslims, when we have to step back and look at our history in France. Again, the so called French Republic is nothing but a colonial Republic. And this is not an ideological statement or a slogan that I’m using to provoke people. But if we take a look at the past 200 plus years since the French Revolution, we see that since the proclamation of the First Republic in the aftermath of 1789, not once did the French Republic, distance herself from racism, the slave trade and its colonial ambitions. It never happened. And when the republic came back after the Napoleonic era, the colonization of Algeria was or Africa or the rush to Africa, accelerated. And a few years later, after 1848, we had the indigenous code implemented in the colonies. Where was the republic? Where were the values of the French Revolution were were was, or where were the Enlightenment ideals. They were nowhere to be found, because enlightenment was for white people only, and more specifically for white men. And throughout the decades and centuries, we see that the colonial question was never addressed as a crime against humanity. And even a left wing figures like Georgia rise from the left, had first supported the idea of colonization, not, of course, to commit massacre massacres, but to bring civilization. famous writers like Victor Hugo spoke of the African continent as a continent without the history. And this again gives us a glimpse over how white supremacy permeated even humanist intellectuals. So Victor egos, ignorance was the benchmark. And because Victor Hugo knew nothing about Africa’s history. That meant Africa had no history. And that further legitimize the idea that Africans were not human beings, and that at best, they had to be brutally repressed or subdued in order to willingly receive France’s ideas of civilization. Now, of course, I don’t want to sound too anachronistic and to know to constantly bring back the past. But the idea here is to show how deeply rooted these ideas are in France, and that the arch was partisan. And they are not the monopoly of one side of the political spectrum in comparison, or in contrast to another. As a matter of fact, the colonial era, the colonial enterprise, I should say, the colonial massacres, were upheld by notorious left wing figures, like your family, the father of the French public public schooling system, when he said that there is a right for the superior racism to civilize the inferior racism. And that Declaration was made in the halls of Parliament, not somewhere in a coffee shop, or whatever that was in the heart of French democracy. If we fast forward, and we take a look at our contemporary history, the current political regime I repeat myself, I know for those who are familiar with my show, but it ought to be, you know, brought to the table again, in light of what’s happening today. The current political regime under which we live in France is called the Fifth Republic. And this Fifth Republic, came about after a coup d’etat in 1958 in favor of the genuine Charles the good, who, for a whole year conspired with his allies themselves allied with the former members of the Vichy administration, former fascist militants who had demonstrated in the streets of Paris, in the 1930s, notoriously 1936. And Charles de Gaulle welcomed their support in order to come back to power. And when General shores the goal became the first president of the Fifth Republic, he was crowned I should say, as the bloody massacres of Algeria were taking place. Which means when the Fifth Republic was born, the colonial the colonial era had not ended, it was still ongoing, and France was clinching to its colonial empire. Which means, at no point in time, even after the Second World War, after the Holocaust, after the so called fall of Nazi ism, the French Republic was still defending its colonial practices, its official apartheid regime in Algeria and the rest of the colonies across the African continent, Asia, and the overseas territories in the South Pacific and South Indian Ocean. The debates we saw between Shahada mana and marine lepen showed that not only is Islamophobia, a political consensus across parties, but also that the so called moderates, the so called pro Republican parties are themselves dwarfing the far right today. And of course, this accusation, you know, targets general demeanor, but the party in power today, like the bleak Amash, or the marching Republic, set up for and headed by formerly headed by Emmanuel Macron. Because the people inside that party did not call for his exclusion, for him to be sacked. I mean, we are talking again, you’d have to forgive me for reminding it. But yeah, Domino is not exactly the perfect republican person, republic in the in in France, meaning a person who is in favor, and I’m a firm believer in republican ideals. Liberty, Equality and brotherhood. I mean, we’re talking about a minister of interior, who is accused of sexual harassment, even rape, and for seeking sexual favors from poor working class women. And we have not approved that in order for him to support requests for public housing. Made by some isolated women, he demanded that they have sexual intercourse with him. And that person is today pretending to defend the Republic. And his own party today is just whisperwind Oh, this is not good. This is not right. You damn right? It’s not. But what are you doing about it? So the goal of this podcast is, of course, to use this exchange between Shahada mana and marine lepen to further highlight everything that is wrong with French politics. That the same way as Hannah Arendt wrote, in her book, The origins of totalitarianism, the same way that anti semitism represented a political consensus. Islamophobia today is representing a new political consensus, because we see that those opposing Islamophobia are extremely isolated political figures and that all parties I say all of them from the far left to the far right have been permeated by this toxic ideology. And they will begin by the most notorious of them in order to expose them the French left because yeah, you know, conservatives and the right you know, they are islamophobes Okay, you who we know about that we are accustomed to it, and they are in their role when they express anti muslim sentiment and legitimize the repression of Muslims. But as Malcolm X taught us decades ago, we ought not to be wary of the open adversary the person who tells you that he doesn’t like you, we have to be wary of the person who pretends to be your ally, while at the same time digging a hole to bury you. I will begin with the vote on this. So on the separatism between quotation marks, felony and all political parties voted in favor of it. And laugh hos assuming the party of jolly menasha who many in the US compare him to Bernie Sanders, which is not true. Or in the UK, some compare him to Jeremy Corbyn, which is absolutely not true. The party of Lincoln also abstain their abstained and did not go did not rise to vote against it. Same thing for the French Communist Party. The same communist party that initially refused the very idea of an Algerian independence. And for people of my generation. One of the reasons we never got involved in the 90s. And in the early 2000s, we never got involved with political parties is because we grew up with the corruption of the Communist Party, where I come from the Waldemar which is on the south side of Paris, what we call in, you know, the 94th department. The Communist Party was notorious for its corruption, for its racism, for its opposition of grassroots organizations that did not suck up to it. The French Communist Party was notorious for its opposition to the building of mosques to Muslim organizations, because it was a staunch adherent, a staunch believer in the idea that if you speak of racism, if you speak of Islamophobia, you are dividing the working class. And that is the belief of most leftists, unfortunately today, and the Communist Party. For many of us coming from an African descent to what it was like was difference between the Communist Party in the far right, give me a break, both of them will disempower us, both of them will fight against us. And both of them agree on this anti muslim narrative. And we don’t see the difference between many members of Parliament’s who were from the French communist party who set up the various commissions that led to the prohibition of the Muslim veil in public schools. Anyways, I was once asked by Mr. Goodman on Democracy Now some two or three years ago, if not more, about jolly menasha and I had to correct her even though she opened the door for it, to be said, that Sheldrick menasha is not as barry sanders or as Jeremy Corbyn. But also he has a 40 year long track record of supporting anti muslim rhetoric, and that anytime there was an anti muslim controversy, he, as we say in French, yet with the world’s mini that he took part in it, and singled out muslims for daring to spark and controversy as if they chose for those controversies to be sparked. Many use v. march against Islamophobia that took place a year and a half ago, in which Gianluca no show had participated in order for them to say, or to whitewash exotic men or show and say that he is no longer at islamaphobe his position has evolved. I mean, how naive Do you have to be when a politician switches positions? And does that a couple of months before a major election? Come on. Sonic metal show started calling out the singling out of Muslims, you know, late 2019 because his party was running for the municipal elections that took place in 2020. And that were no deeply disturbed by the COVID-19 crisis. And people were like cheering that Jonathan offshore. Although rich fusing to use the word Islamophobia, at least has made a substantial change. Well, let me break it down for my dear listeners. So you can show in 2010 when he was interviewed by a notorious anti muslim weekly called Marianna in 2010, which is 11 years ago, he said that, well, those Muslims, by wearing the headscarf are choosing to self exclude from French society. And he went on to say that yes, there is a battle to be waged against Muslim fundamentalism, and that he was opposed to the visibility of Muslims in public schools. Furthermore, we remember that in 2003, as the jack shear hockey administration, headed by Jean Pierre hahahaha, his prime minister, were preparing the grounds to ban the Muslim headscarf left wing parties, among them on email or show and his cronies were staunchly battling in favor of such prohibition. And what we see today is that john Mueller show has been trying so hard to whitewash himself, because we are today 14 months before the presidential election, and that he has already announced that he’s running for election, even though he’s a deeply divisive figure within the left, not because of Islamophobia, but because of his perceived authoritarianism. And because of his, you know, decade long war with the rest of the left Nordic national head of the party called love hos Assamese, the unsub missive, France, also singled out the head of the major Students Union u and e. f. unif. In French. Her name is Amalia Cousteau, and when she was singled out for wearing the headscarf and we had a violent campaign and a very smear campaign waged by left wing and right wing islamophobes against her, her crime.
Having spoken on national television, to explain a student movement at less Auburn University. She didn’t even speak about Islam or Muslims. She was doing her job as a union leader to comment on the students mobilization. And the only thing people saw the only thing people heard, oh, we have a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf. She’s the head of a union. And her singling out brought again together, the left and the right. And very few people stood for her show leafminer show singled her out. And in a famous debate organized by the radio station RT n FTL. In French. He said Oh, that’s a provocation is as if I come and show up with a huge across. Why is it that a person exotic men are sure can make Come on. It’s not like you’re going to lose voters if you keep your mouth shut on the topic. That he felt the urge to say that means that he’s deeply rooted beliefs kept him from being smart enough to be quiet during those anti muslim controversies, which in turn means that john Luke may not show was trying to score political points among right wing voters. I’m going to open a declaration of this topic. We have to take a look at the meetings set up by Lavasa soumis angelic Minato and how the visuals have dramatically changed. And that did not happen out of a coincidence.
15-20 years ago, Lichtman offshore would have his meetings in front of, you know, oceans of red flags. Today, the red flags have been replaced by the French flag. This has been the fruit of the efforts of a woman called the shuttle move who is jolly Milan shows gray matter he is a thinker and She is known for her work on you know class struggles and political theory. Nevertheless, she urged jhalak manantial to Quote, he’s rhetoric on the glasses struggles with French nationalism. And that is why we see now the red flags having been replaced by French flags. But on top of it, the so called rise of left wing populism. I close this digression in order to further show the complexity of what’s taking place in France today, in terms of how political actors are positioning themselves, but how also, regardless of their strategic choices, they always come back to the common denominator, which is Islamophobia.
Is it a coincidence that in the summer 2016, as the burqini hysteria that made a name for France and ridiculed the country in the face of the rest of the world, during that controversy, Joe Luqman our show, instead of positioning himself in opposition to people who were singling out Muslim women on the beach for wearing bikinis for calling the police on them, in order for the police to find them in rather than opposing them, that horrendous picture that we saw three white police officers surrounding a Muslim woman and asking her to remove her burqini. And on top of that, we saw people cheering and clapping for the police when they came after Muslim women on the beach. Even so, police officers on their small zodiacs looking for Muslim mothers on the beach in order to find them, angelic mulatto was with them. And when he was asked about that, he said, quote unquote, we are facing an Islamic operation. And we are not stupid.
Yasser Louati 27:15
So how can we today pretend that jolly men are shown, like many of his left wing comrades is not a problem for Muslims. And the reason why I insisted on the case of George equinoctial, is because many in the US, I can remember Danny Glover, with all due respect for him and his career and his political courage. Praise that is all human are sure thinking that he was a revolutionary. He absolutely is. And he is not. He’s a Freemason, a staunch believer in secular fundamentalism. And the fact that Jordan Miller show is a national figure further makes him dangerous.
Now, many will use the argument that I have seen on social media, while john Ehrlichman also gave such a tremendous speech in the National Assembly against the law criminalizing separatism. But that’s, that’s the problem. Because that’s exactly what jhalak menasha is. He gives you a speech, people clap. But if you take a look at his track record, he’s always siding with a powerful, at least when it comes to the race question. Now, of course, this is not happening in a vacuum we do in France that the French left has a problem with race. The French left is still a firm believer in the idea that if you bring in the racial question, you are dividing the working class and the proletariat, etc. Unfortunately, France, France is left has not evolved the same way its American or British counterparts have to some extent. But this is further supported, or made more problematic.
When we take a look at other left wing organizations like for example, the CGT COVID Yasuo genealogy tavai, the mother of all unions in France, which is over 100 years old, and its current president Phillip Martinez, to show you how Islamophobia has deeply permeated the minds of people in power today, whether they are or the head of public institutions, or major political or social institutions. Phillip Martinez, the head of the CGT declared in the aftermath of his loss during the union elections of December 2015. Rather than blaming himself for his organizations, and extend Explaining the shortcomings that made this defeat possible, quote, unquote, he went to lupa. He’s here. The Paris based daily and said, if we lost is because of the Islamists who have gained grained the airport because the loss of the decision took place at the Hershey airport.
And CGT was no longer the main union within the Air France workforce. For the more he doubled down and said, there are Islamists conspiracies taking place in at Air Force and the Paris transportation company. And this organization is supposed to stand for all workers. Well, I’m going to come back to the 1970s. And the city actually stood against a union collective God movement did have the movement for Arab worker isn’t that hard to organize as a collective? Because unions in France did not take the question of police brutality. Seriously. We are talking about the 1970s, which means eight years after the official end of the war in Nigeria, and when the soldiers came back from Nigeria, what did they do? They became, you know, peacemakers. No, they got hired by the police. They got hired by the Gendarmerie. And they brought with them their thirst of revenge against Arabs. And that’s why throughout the 1970s, we had racist killings of Arabic gangsterism on a weekly basis almost. And the MTA was organized, was set up because unions on the left did not care about police brutality targeting Arab workers. Unions did not care about discrimination faced by Arab workers did not care about an equal pay and equal access to promotions and equal access to training. And once those Arab workers organized, because they had no other choice, they were violently opposed and boycotted by the CGT. Why once more, because you are dividing the proletariat.
And that is a deeply held belief even today among left wing intellectuals. How about the Communist Party? Well, the Communist Party again, just like love hoarseness means a Milan show, abstained from voting. But if you think that because the French Communist Party abstained from voting in favor of that law that minimizes the problem, at least for the French Communist Party. Well, we have to remember that the French Communist Party wage the brutal assault throughout French public schools, through its allied organizations and unions, in order to campaign in favor of the banning of the Muslim headscarf legitimizing the idea that there was an Islamic assault against public schools, that Islamists are integrating into the public schooling system in order to promote already back then. separatists ideologies. I can, for example, even cool, its former president, Maharaja ditthi, who asked for a thorough application of ICT, not in the French context, when you say a firm application of ICT, it does not mean you’re asking for a firm application of the right to practice your religion. But when you say a firm application of ICT, that means you are adopting the new definition of ICT, which is not a secular law that strictly separates religion and politics, state and church and then gives a total freedom to religions to organize and for their followers to practice as they wish. But to reinterpret like ICT and make it a tool of domination, of discrimination, of exclusion, in the name of promoting equality. My job’s beefy once more, was opposed to female football or soccer players for you Americans listening to me. soccer players who decided to wear a headscarf? And of course she did that in the name of promoting equality. How about that? So you’re promoting equality by asking for some players to be singled out because they decide to wear a headscarf in order for them to practice their religion. When in 2003, I come back again to that in order to show you the continuum of French left wing Islamophobia.
A person called low Holly v who was the father of two high school students who got expelled from their high school. The day they decided to wear a headscarf and that person lolly V is also a notorious communist in France and Munich. He is the son of a member of the friendship as he stalls and he his whole life. He’s been part of the Communist Party. And he wrote a book to tell his story and share the grief he felt when his own comrades from the left wing parties unions, the French Communist Party, the revolutionary Communist League, and the list goes on how they fought against him and his daughters, and demanded that his kids get expired, because they decided not only to convert to Islam, but also to wear a headscarf and the year 2003 2004.
For my generation was a year of maybe a traumatic experience, because there was such a consensus that it was difficult to see who was still sane enough to say, Where are we going? Where are we taking this country with these anti muslim conspiracies? How come in 1989 the Council of the state which is the highest Administrative Court in France publishes a decision that says yes, Muslim girls have the right to wear the headscarf in public schools, because they are users of public services.
The headscarf is prohibited for agents for public servants, not for those using public services. And less than 15 years later, we had the left campaigning to single out French Muslims. And the Pandora box was opened the day it was it became acceptable. to ban Muslims from school the day they decide to put a piece of cloth over their heads. What these events tell us about the left is that Muslims cannot rely on the left since the rush to Africa. The French left was at the vanguard of France’s racist ideologies. And that is ingrained in history books. It is not an analysis. It is the core facts of how the French left has been part of the problem we call racism today and yesterday. Speaking of today, marine lepen is leading in the polls today.
Of course me like Paul doesn’t mean nothing, especially 14 months before the election. But it says a lot that Gone are the days when her father Shama healer, pain was on the fringe of French politics. Today mahila pain is almost guaranteed to be at the second round. And Emmanuel Macron is making sure that she gets there in order to position himself as more moderate than her but that is already failing, because he is Minister of Interior gehele de hermana positioned himself as more extreme than marine lepen when it came not to Islamism, political Islam, radical Islam, whatever, to Islam, which means to Muslim Islam, to the people who follow that religion to the people. I identify themselves as Muslims, regardless of whether they are practicing or not, it does not matter because Islamophobia targets you, the day we identify you as Muslim. Regardless of whether you are practicing or it doesn’t matter, I was more if you were labeled Muslim, and if you happen to be a woman what you’re facing is a social death sentence.
Remember that if you’re a Muslim woman in France wearing a headscarf you stand a 1% chance of getting a job. It is already impossible for a Muslim, female to attend school while wearing a headscarf and today there are debating its prohibition in universities. Today for Muslim women wearing a headscarf who take the self employment road and become entrepreneurs, and work as nannies are denied contracts the day they are audited, and the auditors see any sign of adhering to Islam, whether a headscarf whether a poster with Arabic scripture is or a picture of Mecca or a Quran. Many women have lost their last hope of getting decent income, the day they were audited by the state. And of course, that is made legal because just if you put radical Islam Islamist political Islam, it’s game over for you because you don’t have to make a case. Just say it. And that’s it. Now a step for Muslims again. Well, I think Muslims today are not only the barometer of whatever is left of democracy, the rule of law, human rights, liberal values in France. But they also have on their shoulders to responsibilities or to stand for the oppression they are facing on a daily basis. But also, and this may speak to non Muslims, maybe it is Muslim Islam, that will say the France from a second suicide in less than a century. Because everybody knows. Islamophobia is profitable, if I can say because it is not the case. If you target other religious minorities, but everybody knows deep inside, after Muslims, it is the rest of the population. And they are targeting Muslims today because it is acceptable. But make no mistake about it.
Political marketing may make people feel safe, don’t worry about it. It’s only against those, you know, problematic Muslims. Yeah, maybe. So they say but once a law is passed, is going to apply to everybody. And we know that if Muslims lose or for today, other communities are going to feel the heat. But at the end of the day, once the dynamic of fascist ideology, fascist legislation is launched, there are no breaks. It does not stop there and we saw it in the 1940s with the Vichy government. Philip pitner pretended to defend the France from the Jewish problem. Judeo Bolshevism. Yeah, he ended up shaking Hitler’s hand and sold out to the invader. Now, of course, again, I don’t want to sound too anachronistic, and I’m not making you know, parallels between problems that have their own dynamics. But what we know for sure is that France is again a victim of her own demons. And her demons are not listening to her demons are white, as white as jr Domino, marine lepen Emmanuel Macron. And this is where Muslims have historic responsibility, and they are facing tremendous odds. Their own so called representative organizations have sold out to white supremacy.
As I explained it in a previous podcasts when it comes to the Grand Mosque of Paris, the French Council of the Muslim faith and its support for the anti separatism bill, the charter of Imams and for it, playing the role of pacifiers to make sure that Muslims do not organize Which means French Muslims have to battle not only against the French state, as it has taken a sharp turn towards the far right, but also against French Muslim institutions, the ones sanctioned by the government that are playing the role played by the collaborators of colonization in the last century. In turn, Emmanuel Macron is only further confirming that the French Republic as we know it, since 1958, is crumbling.
The way the French Republic is functioning is unsustainable. And it was already dead, the day it was born, you cannot have a sustainable Republic built from the ashes of a colonial enterprise that killed millions of people and exploited the survivors. And that has legitimized racism at its core that has allowed the recycling of racist ideologies that already brought France to her knees during the Vichy era. In return, this might be an opportunity for Muslims as the regime crumbles.
What will they do? I don’t know. It is their decision. And we know that many things attend to seem impossible until they happen. And I sincerely wish that French Muslims organize and deal with Islamophobia in a more effective manner. Nobody will save the French Muslims but French listeners. They have a few allies on the left, but they are allies, and they cannot fight Islamophobia in place of Muslims themselves. And if Muslims are asked to adhere to French values, as if they don’t? Well, yes, I’ll welcome that. lead. French Muslims adhere to the values that sparked the uprising of the French commune in 1871. That led to the French Resistance that led to the revolutionary movements throughout the past two and a half centuries.
Yes, those are the French values to be embraced by Muslims.
This was Yasser Louati speaking to you from the Paris Southside Banlieue.
Thanks again for listening. We’ll talk to you soon. If you happen to feel that this podcast has been helpful, useful and worthy of your support. Please make a donation on CJL.ONG/DONATION.