Macron and Mosques!


  • Editorial comments
  • The government should take action against mosques which have become the hotbeds for extremist activities !
  • Why should society tolerate religious fanaticism in the name of freedom of expression ?
Mosque closed down in northern France

The French Government of President Emmanuel Macron has closed a mosque in northern France for spreading anti-Christian and anti-Jewish propaganda. Currently, there are more than 2,600 mosques in France. Out of which, the activities of about 100 mosques are being thoroughly investigated. Following the above inquiry, 22 mosques have been closed so far. They have been shut down for a wide variety of reasons, including promoting extremism, advocating jihad, and slandering French citizens. After realising that anti-national activities were taking place in the country’s mosques, Macron introduced the Anti-Separatist Act. This law gives the administration the power to take action against mosques. France is a country that advocates freedom of expression. The country is known for being the home of the great 16th century writer Francois Voltaire. Voltaire advocated for the freedom of all individuals. He sharply criticised Christianity, the clergy and the church. He inculcated the spirit of freedom of expression and freedom of speech in French society. Because of this, the French community did not hesitate to accommodate the Muslim refugees from Syria and other Islamic countries. In 2011, France topped the list of tolerant countries. So what has happened now, that there is such a huge rise in Islamophobia (contempt towards Islam) ?

Since Macron began to fan the flames of radical fanaticism in the region, the media abroad and in the Arab world have portrayed him as a “man choking the individual freedom of citizens” and “hammering the religious freedom of others.” Is it proper to endanger the religious freedom of the rest of the majority just to protect the religious freedom of a particular community ? Just because a certain community is in minority, we cannot act tolerant for appeasement. It is not just the majority community’s responsibility to accommodate the minority community, but the minority community on its part should also act to get itself assimilated wholeheartedly. But that is always not the case. Hence, not just in India, but also in Muslim communities around the world, this religious fanaticism is causing unrest in society. Hence criticising someone who is openly trying to stop them is ridiculous !

Freedom of Expression or Nationalism ?

According to a survey, 60% of French citizens think that “we are in danger from Muslims.” What is the reason behind this ? In the last few days, two mosques in France have been attacked. There is a growing sense of Islamophobia among its citizens. Is the freedom of expression in France, (which was once considered the very source for the term freedom of expression) declining ? This question must be answered. At present, even in India, the Hindu majority is being blamed for giving rise to bigotry. The church, which calls itself a ‘socialist’, a ‘follower of freedom of expression’ or a ‘humanitarian’, considers it a blessing to paint the majority community as a ‘villain’ and the minority community as well as the Muslims as a ‘victim’.

The French presidential elections will be held in April this year. The right-winger Eric Zemmour is being considered as a strong contender for the post. He said that “Muslims in France have to choose between France and Islam.” Why was it time for him to make this statement ? Jihadi terrorist attacks have been taking place in France since 2015. Since the emergence of the Islamic State, some 2,000 young jihadis from France have fled to Syria to join it. The growing fanaticism among Muslims in France is due to the teachings being given in the mosques there. Macron decided to take action against the mosques, after realising the above fact. Hence, human rights activists have no right to turn a blind eye to this. If it comes down to selecting between freedom of expression and nationalism, an intelligent society will choose nationalism. The average Muslim population in France is around 50 lakhs, but most of their activities are a threat to French security. In such a situation, if the Government prioritises national security over freedom of expression, then why is there a problem with this decision ? The anti-Muslim trend is on the rise in many countries in Europe, the root for all this lies in the radicalism that the majority of this community has adopted.

When will this happen in India ?

It is well known that the roots of many anti-national activities that take place in India are from mosques. So if the Central Government decides as the Macron Government did, hundreds of mosques will have to be shut down; but is that possible ? It was not easy for Macron to make such a decision. His decision was opposed vehemently; however, he showcased firm determination in making this decision. Looking at the disruptions that the fanatics have started in India, it is necessary to take drastic steps to curb their activities. Weapons are found in the mosques in India. Whenever there are riots, stones are hurled at Hindus from these very mosques. In the ‘90s, jihadis were urged from mosques to kill and remove Hindus from Kashmir. Looking at all these incidents, it seems inevitable that to maintain law and order in India as well as in France, it is necessary to lock down mosques, which are harbouring fundamentalism.