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After Teacher’s Decapitation, France Unleashes a Broad Crackdown on ‘the Enemy Within’

6 min read
After Teacher’s Decapitation, France Unleashes a Broad Crackdown on ‘the Enemy Within’


PARIS — France on Monday unleashed a broad crackdown on Muslims accused of extremism, carrying out dozens of raids, vowing to shut down help groups and threatening to expel foreigners as anger swept the place subsequent the decapitation of a middle university instructor for exhibiting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in course.

A lot of of those people swept up in raids were already in law enforcement data files for displaying “signals” of likely radicalization, like preaching radicalized sermons or sharing detest messages on social networks, govt officers said. Extra than 200 other people — the bulk presently in jail — were being threatened with a scarce mass expulsion.

But other groups specific in the raids incorporated Muslim associations formerly supplied government subsidies for their do the job marketing improved civic relations, and only 15 of the folks arrested experienced any relationship to the ugly assault on Friday.

The scope of the response was a evaluate of how the killing of Samuel Paty, a teacher in a suburb north of Paris, had reopened aged wounds in France. The country stays traumatized by terrorist assaults by Muslim extremists that killed scores in 2015, beginning with the editorial workplaces of the satirical Charlie Hebdo journal — whose cartoons the instructor experienced shown.

As significantly as the Charlie Hebdo killings, the beheading of Mr. Paty has struck deep within the French psyche as an assault on a principal pillar of the French republic — the secular community faculty procedure — as well as the nation’s devotion to liberty of speech.

Countless numbers of folks took to the streets in cities close to France in excess of the weekend to reveal their horror at the killing on Friday. And politicians, specifically on the ideal, jostled to audio the alarm towards “the enemy inside,” as the tricky-line inside minister, Gérald Darmanin, place it in a radio job interview, referring to so-identified as radicalized Muslims.

Some voices were being elevated against the breadth of the government’s raids, but in basic the tone was established by President Emmanuel Macron’s most likely principal challenger in 2022, the considerably suitable leader Marine Le Pen, whose get together has qualified Muslims and immigrants for just about 50 decades.

“This condition calls for a method of reconquest,” Ms. Le Pen stated Monday. “Islamism is a bellicose ideology whose indicates of conquest is terrorism.”

Even ahead of the attack on Mr. Paty, Mr. Macron, hunting to consolidate a proper-leaning voters that is his only strong base heading into the 2022 election, had embarked on a campaign versus what he referred to as “Islamist separatism” in a speech before this thirty day period.

The speech reinforced the strategy, existing on France’s ideal, that there is a significant and hostile Muslim contingent waiting in the wings — the country’s suburbs — to tear down French values. Mr. Macron vowed to finish home-schooling as well as the exercise of bringing in international imams.

On Monday, the police started their work at 6 in the morning, likely following “numerous” Muslims in several raids, Mr. Darmanin reported. “Important law enforcement operations have been carried out starting up this morning, concentrating on radicalized persons,” Mr. Macron’s key minister, Jean Castex, mentioned in a speech Monday.

“Other steps will adhere to,” Mr. Castex promised, in opposition to “networks and persons who are attacking our fundamental values and the Republican excellent.”

Some 51 Muslim aid organizations will also be focused by the law enforcement this 7 days, the interior minister explained, some of which would be dissolved at Mr. Macron’s request. Mr. Darmanin known as the most outstanding of them, Collective From Islamophobia, the C.C.I.F., which compiles a sign up of anti-Muslim functions, “an enemy of the republic.”

Its former president, Marwan Muhammad, 1 of the most outstanding of France’s Muslim activists, said the C.C.I.F. “didn’t have the slightest involvement” in the killing of Mr. Paty.

Previously, 15 folks have been arrested, which includes spouse and children associates of the suspect, an 18-yr-aged Chechen refugee named Abdullakh Anzorov, who was shot lifeless by the police Friday night time following the killing. Also in custody is the father of a university student at the school who experienced denounced Mr. Paty on line for displaying the caricatures and had demanded his dismissal. The movie circulated broadly on social media.

The inside minister announced that it would expel 231 overseas citizens determined for their radicalism, together with 180 who had been presently in jail. Individuals not imprisoned would before long be arrested, officials claimed. At situations, the French authorities has expelled international Muslims it accuses of currently being radicalized. But a mass expulsion like the just one at this time envisioned is unconventional.

By day’s end it was not crystal clear how numerous arrests had resulted from the police raids. Some of the country’s well known Muslim preachers defended the government’s actions. “When the war has presently been declared, what you require is a wartime federal government,” reported Hassen Chalghoumi, president of the French Imams’ Congress.

But a couple Muslim students elevated concerns — not just about the raids, but also about Mr. Paty’s use of the Muhammad caricatures in course.

On Monday’s raids, some claimed politics appeared to be successful out in excess of great sense. “I’m worried that there has been a hurry into a specified amount of decisions,” claimed Rachid Benzine, a political scientist. “It’s, ‘We’re likely to do these raids’ — and then they have absolutely nothing to do with the true investigation. It appears like these are punitive expeditions, form of score-settling.”

“And of training course there is a possibility that the courts will at some point reject all of this,” Mr. Benzine included.

Mr. Macron will supply a solemn eulogy to Mr. Paty on Wednesday at the Sorbonne. He has currently been hailed as a martyr of the French Republic. The emotion of 1000’s who turned out for him throughout France was real. A huge accumulating at the Put de la Republique in Paris recalled the kinds held immediately after the assaults of 2015.

But a number of wondered about what had transpired in Mr. Paty’s class.

“I come to feel like it is incredibly tricky to use these cartoons for strictly instructional uses,” reported Farhad Khosrokhavar, a sociologist at the Faculty for Sophisticated Research in the Social Sciences, EHESS, in Paris.

“Secularists feel that it is their correct, for the reason that of the law that allows blasphemy and any variety of mockery of faith. But on the other hand, there is the emotion that in doing so, it is the Muslims who are despised, not the prophet,” he mentioned.

“By working with cartoons to teach freedom of expression, we do not realize that we offend persons,” Mr. Khosrokhavar mentioned. “There are a thousand methods to specific independence of expression, so why select this 1?”

Françoise Lorcerie, an schooling skilled at the Nationwide Centre for Scientific Study, mentioned she had never ever read of using the caricatures of the prophet in a classroom placing for students of that age. And she was essential of Mr. Paty’s invitation to Muslim pupils that they depart the class to stay away from being offended.

“Obviously these caricatures are wounding for Muslims,” explained Ms. Lorcerie. “I’m not so sure about presenting these caricatures, without the need of some type of justification,” she mentioned.

From the standpoint of the absolute benefit of secularism, “it does not conform to his obligation to be neutral,” Ms. Lorcerie claimed. “There must be a reflection on all of this.”

Regular Meheut and Antonella Francini contributed reporting.



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