The trading of insults between Macron and Erdogan is, of course, a political rather than a religious rivalry. As for the offensive drawings, they are merely the tip of the iceberg between the French and Turkish presidents.
Luckily, the battle is public this time, so that the French and the entire world can see firsthand how neither all Muslims are extremists, nor are most Arab governments like Turkey and Qatar. It is the Turks, Iranians, and Qataris who tried to stir up public opinion, but failed this time. As for the slaughter of the French teacher by a Muslim boy, it is only further proof that incitement within Paris is as dangerous as joining terrorist organizations in Raqqa and Kabul.
The question is, what will Macron and his government do to protect his Muslim citizens and the rest of the French from the rising tide of radicalism in France? Will he respond to the increasing calls for the closure of extremist and Muslim Brotherhood associated organizations that target hundreds of thousands of Muslims?
France clearly lacks a rigorous strategy to counter the spread of radicalism within its society, whether by severing ties with the outside or by drying up resources inside. Such organizations, which are allowed in France, are banned in most Islamic countries after spending 40 years building cadres and appointing leaders to direct social and political environments toward religious extremism. Such organizations have been finally banned in Egypt and Sudan, and previously in Algeria and Mauritania, causing a decline in violence and in the number of terrorist organizations’ members in the region. Arabs and Muslims have declared their war against extremist organizations and groups, and Europe must do its part instead of accusing Islam and Muslims.
Europeans, who are always up in arms about Muslim extremists, do not want to do anything to clean up these swamps. They simply let security services pursue criminals after they’ve committed their crimes, after it is too late to stop the likes of the killer boy. What is ironic and emphasizes the French government’s lack of seriousness, is its talk about the expulsion of 231 foreign extremists. Knowing that there are 180 of them in prison for different cases, this means that the French government will arrest and deport only 51 foreign extremists!
Last year, two French journalists, Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, detailed how 138 projects in Europe - most of which are linked to Muslim Brotherhood associated organizations - isolate Muslims from the rest of society and fuel a sense of rejection and hatred among them.
Organizations are a political weapon used by extremist groups and by states to exert their influence abroad, taking advantage of European legislation allowing civil action.
Many French activists have raised their voices in the past two years warning of the dangers of extremist ideologies infiltrating the Muslim community in France, and the French authorities have done little to stop it. As long as these extremist groups have powerful friends with a lot of influence on politicians in Paris, I do not believe the authorities will do much to stop them.
This piece was originally published in, and translated from, Asharq al-Awsat
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