France has declared the maximum level of the terrorist threat after an alleged Islamist killed three people in one of the churches in Nice. According to President Macron, the country will not compromise on its principles. Thus, he hinted at the tension in relations with Turkey. About two weeks ago, the French authorities tightened measures against Islamists, as well as rhetoric against Muslims in general. What should be the reaction?
Prevent the poison from spreading
French Foreign Minister Le Drian addressed the Muslim world with the following statement: your culture is part of France and Europe. As the publication Liberation emphasizes, strengthening social unity should be a top priority:
“The greatest danger will arise if France, with its large Muslim community, split over issues of identity and religion — then all paths are open for extremists. This is exactly what the Islamists want to achieve. Instability reigns in our world, and it is unacceptable to allow the poison of intolerance and hatred to spread — that would be the height of irresponsibility. … Any government that would allow such a thing would bear a heavy responsibility for all subsequent events. In the aftermath of the Nice attack, the representatives of the church and the Islamic religious community did not hesitate to call for unity.”
Macron’s middle path is the right decision
De Volkskrant defended the French president against accusations that he was indiscriminately criticizing all Muslims:
“Macron wants to make France a country suitable for the coexistence of all citizens — based on the law. And that’s a good starting point. … Like any terrorist attack, a new crime also threatens to increase the polarization of society. This is precisely what the centrist forces of Europe should not allow. At the same time, we must not close our eyes to the growing number of those who interpret Islam in an extremist vein, since such interpretations are contrary to fundamental freedoms. This is why Macron’s answer is so important and meaningful. If his search for a middle path suddenly fails, Marine Le Pen will immediately appear on the scene with her much more radical solutions.”
France will not bow its head!
The great French nation will never make concessions when it comes to protecting its fundamental principles, writes Denik N:
“France stands firmly for its identity, built on the principles of human rights, democracy, tolerance, and dialogue. The goal of radical Islamism is clear and long-term, namely: to wrest France and with it other European states, from the democratic structure. Instill fear in France — and thus force it to gradually make concessions on core values. The Islamists assume that if they manage to bring France to its knees, then all the principles on which the whole of Europe is built will be destroyed. However, France will not bow its head!”
Integration must become a responsibility
“The problem lies in the passive approach to integration, that is, the expectation that people from other cultures will adapt themselves to the realities of European reality. If a country wants to achieve successful integration, it must make efforts to this, but at the same time, it must be clearly stated that integration is a compulsory thing and cannot be avoided. And only then can we talk about the positive aspects of diversity. If left as it is, any controversial caricature could again lead to a wave of murder and violence.”
Defending democracy not only at home
The fight against religious extremism needs to be fought not only within the country, says De Morgen:
“Europe needs to immediately stop applying double standards in this matter. As long as we export weapons to authoritarian regimes that provide a platform for preachers of hate — because it is in their geopolitical interests — all our calls for the need to create an enlightened European Islam will remain empty phrases. In this context, in addition to Saudi Arabia, one should also bear in mind Malaysia and Erdogan’s Turkey. Europe must resolutely use its democratic freedoms as leverage in foreign trade. However, all this will be effective only if we all stand up as a wall to protect the rule of law. After a terrorist attack similar to yesterday’s, our response can only be a dialogue between various population groups and religious communities in order to prevent alienation and division in society, which could be used in their interests by external forces.”