Gatestone Institute | Alain Destexhe | Nov. 14, 2019
As noted by the journalist Stéphane Charbonnier, murdered in the Charlie Hebdo attack in 2015, Islamophobia “is not only a poorly chosen word but also a dangerous one.” (Image source: Arzu Çakır/VOA/Wikimedia Commons)
France is once again profoundly divided over Islam. Last Sunday, November 10, a “March against Islamophobia” was held in Paris in response to an appeal from 50 public figures. In an op-ed in the leftist newspaper Libération, the demonstrators pleaded to “stop Islamophobia and stop the growing stigmatization of Muslims, victims of discrimination and aggression”.
Two recent incidents ignited the public debate and served as a pretext for the march. On October 26, an 84-year-old man shot and injured two men while trying to set fire to the mosque of Bayonne. Earlier in October, in the Regional Assembly of Burgundy, a member of the National Rally party (RN) complained about the presence in the gallery of a woman wearing an Islamic headscarf. The French political class and media condemned both incidents almost unanimously.
Among the signatories of the op-ed are Jean-Luc Mélenchon, president of La France Insoumise (“Unsubmissive France”), the most prominent leftist political party in the French National Assembly; Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Party candidate in the last presidential election; Philippe Martinez, leader of the Communist trade-union General Confederation of Labor (CGT); Yannick Jadot, a prominent Member of European Parliament from the Green party and Edwy Plenel, editor of Mediapart, a successful online media news platform and former editor of the newspaper Le Monde.
The op-ed sparked a national debate.