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French Muslims continue to struggle with unemployment, social immobility and systemic racism, in spite of the French government’s calls for integration, which runs into deep-founded racism with every turn.

A young Muslim man of North African descent leans against a graffiti-filled wall in Felix Pyat, Marseille’s poorest and third quarter. With a loosely-held cigarette in hand, his shaved head and worn leather jacket are entirely at odds with his education: a biotechnology engineer, graduating fifth in his class. “I got fifth because I was too smart for my own good,” jests Mohammed with a pained smile. “Not smart enough to remember that I’m Arab, and there’s no point to school.”  Mohammed Laarbi, whose last name has been changed due to his request for anonymity, has been on the hunt for a job for three years to no avail. The reason? 

“Discrimination,” he claims. “When they hear your last name, you can see the interviewer’s face change. Sometimes they’re extra-polite, in an unnatural way. But you can see in their eyes they’re not interested in an Arab,” he adds.

Laarbi’s situation is hardly unique. Muslim immigrants in France, some third- and fourth-generation, have yet to integrate into a country that doesn’t really want them. One of the most famous Algerian folk songs ‘Ya Rayah’ (Oh departing one), encapsulates the feeling of entire generations of disenchanted Algerians who arrived for France for employment, only to find despair in diaspora.

Oh departing one, wherever you go, you’ll only tire and return... How many developed countries and barren lands will you see? How much time have you wasted, and how much will you still lose? Oh absent one, in the country of others How tired can you be and still run? Why is your heart so sad? And why is the miserable one like this? Hardship will end, but days don't last, and neither will my youth, just like yours
Dahmane Harrachi, "Ya Rayah"

Kamel Messoudi, another classic Algerian folk singer laments in one song: "Oh strangeness in the land of others / Whoever sees me, says he's is a 'foreigner' / After once being silver, today I revert to copper."

But since the release of these songs in the 1970's, circumstances remain highly similar.

“Modern France and Colonial France haven’t really changed”, says Dr Hamed Benseddik, a professor of Decolonial Studies who spoke to TRT World.

Benseddik believes that modern France “continues to struggle with the failed integration and assimilation of Muslims, largely due to its own internal contradictions”.

“How does a country that allegedly stands for liberty, equality and fraternity reconcile itself with internal racist undercurrents that deny the liberty of religion, generate inequality, and regard Arabs and Muslims as second-class citizens?” asks Benseddik. 

“It can’t, because it would have to first acknowledge its white saviour’s complex, the genocide of millions, its nuclear testing in colonies, systemic racism, rape, torture, muder and its industrialisation at the expense of entire nations and peoples in the name of Mother France and all that she stands for. That’s not going to happen anytime soon.”

France has always had a ‘Muslim’ problem

Once known as Francia, the Frankish Empire was Europe’s foremost imperial power and the first and largest barbarian kingdom to emerge from the Dark Ages following Rome’s fall. The same empire would one day give birth to France and Germany.  Charles Martel, one of France’s oldest heroes had his moment of glory unifying Francia in a fight against Andalusian Muslims, when he defeated them in the crushing battle of Tours which many Europeans see as the continent’s first repulsion of Islam.

With tens of thousands dead, Andalusian history mournfully describes the battle as ‘the Court of Martyrs’. Historian John Henry Haaren describes it as, “One of the decisive battles of the world. It decided that Christians and not Muslims should be the ruling power in Europe.” His sentiment is widely shared.

But this was only the beginning of France’s story. Martel was thrust into the spotlight of heroism for his victory, gaining notoriety and immense power for having saved Christendom from the Moors. His grandson, Charlemagne was idolised not just in France but throughout Europe as the first pan-European figure, becoming the first self-proclaimed Holy Roman Emperor of Western Europe after waging countless wars against the Arab Saracens and Moors. 

The actions of Martel and his grandson gave rise to France, and a perception of Islam as a threat since the nation’s conception. This propagated worldview would guide France’s colonial wars, and the consequent colonisation of the Middle East itself.

Forgotten history, whitewashed crimes

In France today, the name of the game is integration. French Muslims are often the subject of heated debates and simplifications overlooking religious and cultural diversity. The common cry remains that Muslims in France have not adopted French ways, culture and norms. Instead, the very meaning of what it means to be French is portrayed at risk by pundits, right-wing politicians and patriots alike. But few question the reason for Muslims’ lack of integration, or the ‘mere history’ of racism, colonialism and social factors, which are often dismissed by the mainstream. Abdelmalak Sayad, renowned Algerian-French sociologist and author of the The Suffering of Immigrants describes multiple reasons Muslims are marginalised in France, particularly North Africans.

Bitter legacies

“At the forefront is France’s laissez-faire attitude and unapologetic stance towards its bloody role as a colonial power and brutal subjugator of peoples,” says Sayad. “This included dehumanisation, torture, rape, exploitation and outright genocide, as in the case of over 5,000,000 Algerians killed throughout 132 years of French colonial rule.”  To the present day, France has yet to formally acknowledge its use of widescale torture, population cleansing, nuclear testing or the exploitation of resources in Algeria.  Often lost on many modern pundits and analysts, France’s exploitative colonial history left a bitter legacy for many Muslims. 

In Algeria for instance, settlers took control of cities, vast tracts of the best arable agricultural land, and often rented out plots to Algerians at prohibitive rates. By the Third Republic, there were no limitations left on settler activity in Algeria. In one of the largest land-rushes recorded in history, Algeria’s structures, wealth and society were effectively eradicated. Algerians were not provided with education, given the likelihood it would lead to resistance or demands for higher wages.

For many North African Muslims, the ultimate hypocrisy was that France did not adhere to the very principles of the ‘Rights of Man’ it created as far back as 1789.  But Algerian Muslims were nominally French citizens. If anything, that didn’t grant them more freedoms. It presented more burdens. Muslims paid heavier taxes, had little to no rights, and nearly no legal protection according to the infamous ‘Code of Indigenes’. To acquire French citizenship, one had to give up their ‘Muslim status’ through an intentionally difficult process. Most Algerians were officially legally identified as ‘Muslims’. To this day, immigrant Algerians in France continue to identify as Muslims, rather than give up their faith and adopt a French identity.   

“To put it simply,” says Benseddik. “France’s republican ideals were permanently tarnished in the eyes of people who knew its truth.”

Muslims quickly became an undercaste in Algeria itself, in spite of being the largest majority. Algerian Jews were granted speedy citizenship under the Cremieux decree, and given every right a citizen of the French republic enjoyed. 

Stranded without hope

It wasn’t long before Algerians would seek out France for temporary work, remittances being the only means by which they could save entire villages from ruin and abject poverty. France in turn, was in need of unskilled industrial labourers, and was already accustomed to using North African indentured conscripts on its front lines throughout World War I and II. By the 1970s, Algerian migration for work was no longer a phenomena, but a reality. With the end of industrialisation, unemployment soared in France. Labour was no longer an upwards path to integration in French society, leaving many stranded.

This wasn’t to last. France was already in the process of shifting into a post-industrial economy, leaving many Muslim immigrants out of a job, lacking education or other skills and leaving them economically marginalised and stranded on the wrong side of the the social ladder. This wasn’t all too long ago. The French Institute for Demographic Studies reports that unemployment only worsened in minorities as discrimination increased. Among the first wave of immigrants, 15 percent of male Algerians, 11 percent of Moroccans and Tunisians, and 10 percent of Turks were unemployed. By the second generation, unemployment had gone from bad to worse.   Among Algerians, Moroccans and Tunisians unemployment had risen to 17 percent. For Turks, it nearly doubled to 19 percent. Immigrant unemployment was much higher than the native French average.

Housing for the masses

Soon after World War II, France implemented mass low-cost public housing development projects. To indigenous French citizens, they were described as ‘shoddily-built, uniform and aesthetically unappealing’. 

But to Muslim immigrants, they were a blessing compared to housing lacking heat, water, private and bathrooms. They would soon discover the new cites were isolated from public transportation, social areas, and presented difficulties getting to work. 

With the lack of a better alternative, the enclaves were predominantly lived in by immigrants, as the socially-mobile French moved into better neighbourhoods. In time, they would become ghettos. Rising immigrant rates meant most working-age immigrants relied on some form of welfare. Schools filled with immigrants became less and less a means to social mobility, as the dream of ‘making-it’ died out. 

Dead dreams

Second and third-generation immigrants became more susceptible to gangs, drugs, and antisocial behaviour; reducing prospects for immigrants as a whole to dig themselves out of poverty and squalor.  In a vicious cycle, French social welfare ensured the ghetto’s marginalised and isolated survived. Disenfranchisement would rise further, as ghetto culture and mannerisms became the perfect targets for police crackdowns. “Prison populations jumped significantly with this ghettoisation. More than half of the French prison population is Muslim,” says Marouane Mohammed, former director of the Muslim Association for Islam in France, speaking to TRT World.  “They don’t feel alive. They live in purgatory. No parks. No cafes. Their jobs don’t pay enough for them to feel like they are real jobs. Even if you are academically successful, you’re not likely to go far. Discrimination based on your name and area code is the norm,” says Mohammed.

Collapsing centre 

But this is no longer limited to France’s Muslims. The gilet jaune (yellow vest) movement reflects growing discontent with pervasive economic insecurity. As with the disruptive end of the industrial era, the rise of the knowledge economy put industrial and post-industrial jobs in dire conditions. With a new economy reliant on global financial instruments, technology and specialized skills; the beneficiaries are few, at the expense of the many. 

With rising costs of living, housing and a shrinking middle class, Muslim immigrants and the indigneous French alike face the same challenges. For second and third-generation Muslim immigrants in the banlieues, this serves as yet another confirmation that the path upwards and out is blocked. Denied a necessary middle class, Muslim immigrants are socially immobilised, cash-strapped, and discriminated against. French calls for creating a 'French Islam', is seen with widespread suspicion given France’s legacy of using religion as a means of social control in colonial territories. 

Colonial France promoted pacifist religion to minimise resistance,  while nearly eradicating the practice and memory of Islam by cracking down on schools and religious instruction. If it weren't for the efforts of reformist scholars such as Abdelhamid bin Badis over more than a century who collectively struggled to keep religion and literacy alive; it's likely Algerians would speak only French today and know nothing of Islam.

Meanwhile, genuine efforts at engaging Muslims have long since collapsed. Under French President Sarkozy’s term, authorities created the French Council of the Muslim Faith in 2003, which would represent major immigrant groups (Algerian, Moroccan and Turkish) as well as Islamic organizations. With low credibility to begin with, the council has developed the reputation of being an arena of rivalries and in-fighting between ideological factions.  

While some Muslim immigrants are making their way into the middle class, an uphill battle remains where they must not only prove themselves, but feature their ‘Frenchness’. For North Africans who witness firsthand how ‘Frenchness’ treats them daily, or recall the tales of deprivation and bloodlust their forefathers paid for; the price is a bitter one for survival. For the majority still in the ghettos, there is no path ahead for the taking: just bleak, second-class existence.


[/url]The Australian who carried out the terrorist attack in Christchurch was influenced by French Islamophobes, but just how far back does the country’s antipathy towards Islam go? More than two weeks have passed since the terrorist attack in the New Zealand, which killed at least 51 people, and topics such as white supremacy and Islamophobia have found themselves in the media limelight. Acts of terror are committed by individuals actings under a range of influences but in the weeks following the attacks, it has become clear the attacker drew inspiration from the European far-right, particularly the Identitarian movement, and the ideas of French far-right author, Renaud Camus.

A number of analysts have zeroed in one country that seems to
have played an important role in nurturing such ideologies: France. Camus’ book Le Grand Remplacement (The Great Replacement) became an inspiration for the Australian terrorist to such an extent that his own 72-page manifesto had the same title. The French influence on the white supremacist terrorist is far from limited to just one racist thinker. France’s New Right or Nouvelle Droite (ND), a post WWII far-right movement, became an  inspiration for Austria’s Identitarian movements with whom the Australian terrorist had close contact and financial links.

Today’s Identitarians have found a huge support base in France, where they have become closely linked to the far-right Front National (FN), one of the countries main opposition parties. The Australian who carried out the terrorist attack in Christchurch was influenced by French Islamophobes, but just how far back does the country’s antipathy towards Islam go?

A recent history of anti-Muslim hatred in France
“France has had a hostile attitude towards Muslims and Islam since the first headscarf cases started in France in 1989,” Abdelaziz Chaambi, President and Founder of Coordination against Racism and Islamophobia (CRI) in France, told TRT WorldSince the 9/11 attacks, senior officials, including the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, and other politicians have not shied away from labeling Muslims as a 5th Column (Cinquième Colonne). Invectives against Muslims over their religious attire, eating habits, and supposed inability to integrate are commonplace in mainstream media, as well as in political discourse.

And it’s not just limited to words. The country banned headscarves in public schools in 2004, followed by a ban in private schools. More bans followed with former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s controversial Niqab ban in 2011. And municipal bans on burkini swimwear designed for Muslim women. The controversial move was supported by then Prime Minister Manuel Valls. “2004 was the opening of the Pandora Box when Islamophobia became a legal form of discrimination and not just an opinion,” Yasser Louati, a French human rights and civil liberties activist, told 

Colonial roots of French Islamophobia
Such policies are not a recent phenomenon, according to the activists, but instead are intimately tied to France’s history of empire.  France’s colonial past determines how French elite and a large group of natives regard Muslims,” said Chaambi.  “The perception of Muslims as second-class citizens like in the days of French Algeria is still significantly dominant,” he added. According to Louati, it was France’s Algerian experience that helped define its approach to Islam today. For much of the 20th century, France was a colonial power, which occupied largely Muslim-majority lands in Africa and the Middle East. While most of these lands were ruled as colonial territories, Algeria was integrated into the French state as a constituent part of the country.

The rights of citizenship of that state though rarely extended to its Muslim Algerian subjects. Muslims were seen as too attached to their religion and unqualified to participate in a state built on strict adherence to an ideology built on the separation of state and church, known as laicite. French occupiers urged a detachment from symbols of Islamic culture and religion, which entailed sometimes forcible campaigns urging women to unveil, and the relegation of the Arabic language to the private sphere.

This was also the period during which the foundations of the modern French state were set in stone. “The current Fifth Republic was proclaimed with the 1958 constitution, in the midst of the bloody repression in Algeria and while France was still dreaming of keeping its grip on its colonies”, Louati said. The impact of such thought continues to this day, he explained. In 2005, Sarkozy attempted to pass a law changing the school curriculum to “recognise the positive role of the French presence overseas”. Though the legislation was since cancelled following academic opposition, according to Louati, it demonstrates the continuing post-colonial mentality of many politicians and the elite in France. “The end of colonialism brought no assessment of what had gone wrong and what lessons needed to be learned,” Louati said, describing the present French Republic as the ‘Colonial Republic’. “Rather, the country entered into voluntary amnesia without addressing this poisonous legacy.”

The ‘anti-colonial’ struggle continues in France
Algerians are one of the largest diaspora communities with up to four million Algerians or French citizens with Algerian roots living in the country. The total number of Muslims is estimated at between six and seven million. Muslims have been more assertive in protesting for their rights given the France’s reputation for  labour discrimination, police brutality, and hate crimes against, mainly, Muslim Arab and African migrants. But, for Chaambi and other activists the idea of France’s imperial ‘Civilisation Mission’ continues, laying the soil for more extremist thoughts, such as Camus’.  The latest attempt by President Emmanuel Macron to launch his French Islam initiative, in which he and his government take on state-appointed representatives of the French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM) as primary counterparts, is not including but excluding local Muslims.


French President Emmanuel Macron has advocated for a ‘French Islam’, a controversial term that was also used by former presidents. We spoke to French Muslim activist Abdelaziz Chaambi, on how words politicians use impact everyday life for Muslims. French President Emmanuel Macron has advocated for a “French Islam” to address the issues of radicalisation and extremism in the country. But the plan has drawn immediate controversy, with French Muslims at the forefront of the criticism.
But the use of the term is not new and previous French leaders have also announced plans for an indigenous Islam.
We spoke to Abdelaziz Chaambi, the president and founder of Coordination against Racism and Islamophobia (la Coordination contre le Racisme et l’Islamophobie), also known by the acronym, CRI. He spoke  about the problem with government-led initiatives to redefine Islam, and how current policies towards French Muslims have helped contribute towards anti-Muslim attitudes. 
What role have politicians and the media played in the ‘demonisation’ of Muslims and Islam in France? 
ABDELAZIZ CHAAMBI: In France there is a category of journalists, politicians and intellectuals who are real arsonists: they are people who position themselves against our own country, who position themselves against France by demonising Muslims, and who sabotage peace and civil harmony. Some people hate Muslims and want to raise people against each other by presenting Muslims as a threat to the country's identity and culture. They consider them a  fifth column, as the devil himself. (People) who would have come for the great replacement or who have a secret plan to destabilise the Republic, impose their way of life and impose polygamy, etc.

All these delusions and slander have no basis since Muslims have been (in France) for decades, even centuries, and have never sought to impose their way of life or their culture or tradition on anyone. In France, there is indeed a category of influential men of opinion makers who are arsonists who are people who light fires to endanger civil peace.

What are your thoughts about the term ‘French Islam’?
AC: Islam is unique, it is not French or German or Turkish or Russian or English: Islam is Islam. There are indeed specificities, there are social, historical, and traditional characteristics. When you live in Senegal, when you live in France, Russia, or the United States, these are different contexts.   So French Islam lives well in a context and we take that into account. We were the first in Lyon at the UJM (Union des Jeunes Musulmans) to fight for a ‘contextualised’ Islam that takes into account social relations and the specificities of the country in which we live.
For example, we imposed the French language in religious instruction courses, we asked that the Friday sermon be translated into French, we asked that the speakers at the conferences be able to speak in French, so that the young people of this country could understand the message we have to convey to them and the message of Islam. We have started working on unions with Christians, with atheists, with people of different political tendencies to say we are together in a society called French society and we will try to improve it all together. Islam is also about thinking about the public interest and the common interest, not about selfishness and individualism. 

French President, Mr Macron, uses the formula of ‘French Islam’, but it is not in the same terms that we hear them at all. When we talk about French Islam, we are talking about a committed, free, independent Islam that can enable Muslims to organise themselves as they wish, to talk about the problems that interest them, that concern them. Whereas Mr Macron in his intention, when he talks about French Islam, he means effectively controlling, guiding, and directing Islam and Muslims as he wishes by trying to put them in a mould.

Mr Macron is no exception to the rule, since he is like his predecessors; Mr (Jean-Pierre) Chevenement, Mr (Nicolas) Sarkozy, or Mr (Francois) Holland, who all had to control Islam, to impose spokespersons who speak on behalf of Muslims though they have never been elected. It is the reproduction of the colonial pattern when docile and helpful people were designated as the representatives of Muslims. And not much has changed since the colonial period; in the 1920s there was the Interministerial Commission for Muslim Affairs which included soldiers, politicians, people representing the Muslim faith and appointed by the colonial forces. They were supposed to speak on behalf of Algerian Muslims: so we had the same thing with Mr Sarkozy in 2003 with the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM).

With Mr Sarkozy, we were entitled to the CFCM in which there were people appointed by the government, to the detriment of secularism, which prevents it from interfering in religious affairs. Also to the detriment of democracy, which encourages citizens to vote to appoint their representatives. So there is indeed political control on the issue of Islam in France.
How can politicians and Muslims cooperate more closely? What do Muslims expect from politics? 
AC: Policies will only be able to take Muslims into account when they are organised or engaged at the very least, that is, when Muslims become citizens who fulfil their duties by voting, electing representatives, applying for positions of responsibility themselves, and getting elected. To become a political strike force so that the political class respects them. Otherwise they will remain instruments in the hands of politicians; Muslims have every interest in occupying the political field, because for the time being, they are only objects of manipulation, demonisation, and political exploitation. There is no way for us other than taking responsibility.

What is missing in politics to offer constructive solutions to key problems? What role does the culture of secularism play in this question?
AC: What is missing in politics in order to offer constructive solutions is that the people concerned, the groups concerned, are involved in the search for solutions, that they are involved in the reflection, are considered as people capable of providing solutions.

The current problem is that the problems are hidden by society and the media, when you talk to a girl wearing a headscarf, for example, a veiled Muslim woman, she will tell you about the difficulties she faces in school, university, work, commerce, on the street, public services, and when you hear her you discover things you don't think about because you don't belong there. I think if you want to solve these difficulties, you have to involve the actors. 

The book La laïcité dévoyée ou l’identité comme principe d’exclusion, (Secularism corrupted or identity as a principle of exclusion), written by Jean Bauberot, sheds light very well on this manipulation used by politicians, journalists, and intellectuals to transform a political and social legal framework into a prison for Muslims. Secularism is the neutrality of politics vis-à-vis the religious and vice versa, and it is freedom of conscience and freedom of worship, yet these things are not respected when it comes to Muslims.  While lawfulness means respect for belief and non-belief, and the possibility of living one's religion without being disturbed in public in private, individually and collectively, this is confirmed by the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.

What can Muslims and Islamic organisations do to master the policies linked to establish a ‘French Islam’? 
AC: Muslims must become actors in the French political arena with their organisations, this is the only method that can enable them to influence what is called ‘French Islam’. There are more than 2,500 mosques or places of worship, there are also thousands of Muslim associations, there are between five and six million Muslims in France and they can have a decisive influence in political life in this country if they ever get involved.

They must also take a stand against and express themselves against radicalisation, extremism and terrorism, so that they can have clear positions to explain that Islam is not a concern and that Islam refuses radicalisation, extremism and terrorism. They must do a lot of teaching to explain to the population what Islam really is, which remains very little known in this society.


If Tariq Ramadan can not get due process, then there is no hope for other Muslims living in France. The case of Professor Tariq Ramadan, who faces rape charges in France, ceased to be a normal case several months ago. The dire treatment of Ramadan has led to an outpouring of support for the accused. Whether it’s because of the lack of due process, the absence of an impartial judicial framework, the skewed media coverage led by the same French media and cultural ‘icons’ who spearheaded smear campaigns against Ramadan over the past two decades, and above all the inhumane treatment – there is every reason to believe now that the case against Ramadan is politically motivated.

From the outset, a string of judicial irregularities occurred including: the complete isolation of Ramadan during the first 45 days of detention without even granting him access to family members; denying him access to his own court records; denying him the right of a presumption of innocence; the court's failure to provide him with appropriate medical treatment as he suffers from multiple-sclerosis according to several medical reports, including that of the prison’s chief-doctor, and the judges’ refusal to question the credibility of the plaintiffs’ shaky version of events.

The first plaintiff‘s case (Henda Ayari) is a flagrant example since she [url=]changed her version of the alleged events twice and failed to provide an exact date and place of the alleged rape. In the second case, the plaintiff Paule-Emma A. (designated as Christelle) hasn’t been able to prove any of her allegations against Tariq Ramadan. As for the third case, Mounia Rabbouj, the court dropped the charges against Ramadan after the plaintiff failed to provide credible evidence. 

To make matters worse, the French court continues to dismiss all requests for bail submitted by Ramadan's lawyer, under the pretext that he could either flee abroad or put pressure on plaintiffs and witnesses. These factors cast serious doubt on the credibility of the investigation and the impartiality of the judges in charge of the case.

This begs the question, if this is not an attempt of political assassination conducted by the French intelligentsia, judiciary and the state against Ramadan, what could it be then?
Another equally important question is: why Tariq Ramadan? And who stands to benefit from keeping him in detention and thus silencing him?

Why Tariq Ramadan?
Ramadan represents a school of intellectual thought that challenges and dismantles the anti-Islam discourse propagated by the Islamophobic French elite. One of the key characteristics of Ramadan's doctrine is to encourage French and European Muslims to act as full citizens, to question their governments on socioeconomic policies, to refuse injustice and discrimination, and to demand social equality. He also calls on governments to pursue policies of social equality and adopt anti-discrimination laws.

In his book, “Islamic Ethics: A Very Short Introduction”, Ramadan highlights the need to initiate interfaith and intercultural dialogues with regard to common moral values in order to question the role of religion, the state and economy in dealing with issues surrounding social and economic inequality. With the exception of a few fine minds like the prominent French sociologist Edgar Morin or the writer Alain Gresh, French media and the intellectual corpus oscillated between ignoring Ramadan, to publicly questioning his role as a Muslim in the public sphere.  

Those who benefit from keeping Ramadan in detention
For almost two decades now, a number of French politicians and media pundits have tried to undermine Ramadan's discourse by accusing him of ambiguity, demagoguery, doublespeak and anti-Semitism. They have strived to keep his intellectual contribution to the public debate in France limited to only matters pertaining Islam. Framed as the ‘Muslim intellectual’ by most French media outlets, the aim being not only to alienate his French audience but also to distort Ramadan’s image and weaken his intellectual credibility and narrative.

Apart from the French far right party (Le Front National), which upholds racist and Islamophobic views, the overwhelming majority of those who systematically oppose Ramadan’s ideas, and who regularly carry out smear campaigns against him whenever he takes a stand for the rights of France’s discriminated Muslim citizens or condemn Israeli crimes against Palestinians, happen to be close to pro-Israel circles in France.

They include figures such as Bernard-Henri Levy, Alain Finkielkraut, Eric Zemmour, Frederic Encel, Gilles Kepel, Jean-Pierre Elkabache and many others. Some, like the journalist Caroline Fourest, who for years has been leading a smear campaign against Ramadan, are directly involved in the case against him. Since the beginning of the affair, she has been actively promoting the plaintiffs’ version of events on media platforms. Another media pundit who played a key role, among others, in demonising Ramadan is the French-Israeli paparazzi journalist Jean-Claude ElFassi who closely collaborates with the French magazine l’Express. He went so far as to threaten the third plaintiff’s brother in the event he provides to the court exculpatory elements in favour of Tariq Ramadan.

It is worth pointing out here that l’Express is among the most widely circulated publications and is owned by French-Israeli Patrick Drahi, also the owner of a media empire, including the Israeli TV channel “i24”, French newspaper “Liberation”, “RMC” radio and “BFM” TV channel. These outlets have relentlessly been promoting the plaintiffs’ allegations and attacking Ramadan.

Accordingly, keeping Ramadan in detention, and therefore silencing him, is serving the very interests of those who for years struggled to shut him out and discredit his reputation among his audience. The reason being; during countless debates, media encounters and interviews, Ramadan was cleverly able to expose their hypocrisy and double standards towards France’s Muslim citizens and the Palestinian cause. Therefore, Ramadan’s absence allows them to have a free reign to spew their Islamophobic, racist and anti-Palestinian narratives, since Ramadan is almost the only intellectual who dares questioning and dismantling their lies and propaganda.

However, the way Ramadan’s case has been handled – or rather mishandled- by the French judiciary will likely have serious consequences for the justice system in France. By embracing, or being influenced by, the anti-Ramadan narrative propagated by the anti-Ramadan lobby, French justice risks losing its credibility. Ramadan’s case proved that the principle of impartiality, intrinsic to any judicial institution, is at stake in France today due to attempts to politicise the justice system or allowing political considerations to override the need to uphold justice.

This might result in a loss of confidence in how the French justice system operates, in the short, medium and long term, especially among French citizens of Muslim faith. Muslims will no doubt wonder, if justice can be withheld for someone so high profile as Tariq Ramadan, what chance do they have? Is France aware that the case against Ramadan may result in a serious social crisis as a segment of French society, already facing discrimination, may feel that even the justice team may one day work against them. Many could not help but compare Ramadan’s case with that of the two ministers Darmanin and Hulot, both accused of sexual assault and yet remained in office.

Going forward the serious lack of due process in Ramadan’s case opens the door to a dangerous era in French history. In a so-called free democracy, which France prides itself on, the justice system has began to appear flawed and politicised. The court of well funded media campaigns trumps the court of law. A dangerous precedent with far reaching consequences.

Will France be able to put an end to this farce that has become Ramadan’s case? 
The answer to this question depends almost exclusively on the political mindset that runs France today, and that does not seem to be aware of the disastrous long-term social consequences that this affair might leave behind. 

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RE: HOW GLOBAL ANTI-MUSLIM BIGOTRY BECAME ACCEPTABLE - by globalvision2000administrator - 02-22-2020, 12:04 PM

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