France is now a country where critical remarks on Islam are systematically banned from mainstream media and where any negative sentence about the Muslim religion leads to fines, payment of damages, and censorship.
And it is a country where so-called "anti-racist" organizations, heavily subsidized by the government, fight for the most part only a single "racism": "Islamophobia."
Words such as "Islamism" or "radical Islam" have disappeared from the vocabulary of journalists and politicians, and are replaced by fuzzy words: "radicalism" and "extremism".
The only people apparently allowed to speak freely of Islam to large audiences are those who describe it as a religion of peace and unlimited love.
Take, for example the recent case of Christine Tasin, a founder of Riposte Laïque [Secular Response].
She went to Belfort on October 15, 2013, to make a video news report on a temporary slaughterhouse installed for the Muslim feast day of Eid El Adha, which commemorates Ibrahim's obedience to Allah in offering to sacrifice his only son. Upon her arrival at the slaughterhouse, the manager asked her to leave. He also called her an "Islamophobic racist." She answered that she is, actually, Islamophobic, but not racist; and added that "Islam is rubbish." The verbal exchange was filmed. Muslim associations filed complaints against her.
Christine Tasin engages in a verbal exchange on October 15, 2013, which led to here being charged with the crime of making "statements likely to provoke rejection of Muslims."
On August 9, 2014, a court declared Tasin guilty of making "statements likely to provoke rejection of Muslims," and she was sentenced to a heavy fine of 3,000 euros ($3,700).
Tasin responded by saying that the court had acted as if it were an "Islamic court" and that it was showing "submission to Sharia." She appealed the judgment. The appeal judgment, delivered on December 18, constituted a repudiation of the first judgment; all charges against Christine Tasin were dropped.
The same day, a case against Marine Le Pen, president of the populist National Front party, concerning statements she made in 2010 about the "occupation" of the street by illegal Muslim prayers, was also dropped.
Some might think that these two decisions are encouraging signs, showing that the French justice is not completely muzzled and that some judges still maintain an independent spirit.
A broader look, however, calls for caution. In the previous months, many French who publicly criticized Islam and its consequences were severely condemned by France's justice system:
On June 5, Pierre Cassen and Pascal Hillout, two other members of Riposte Laïque, were sentenced to an extremely heavy fine of 21,200 euros ($26,000) for having written that "street prayers, veils and mosques" were "symbols of occupation and conquest."
On April 10, author Renaud Camus was fined 4,000 euros ($5,000) for having said in 2010 that Muslim culture was slowly "replacing" French culture.
Three years earlier, in February 2011, writer and political journalist Eric Zemmour was sentenced to a fine of 1,000 euros ($1,250) and a payment of 10,000 euros ($12,500) to various associations and leagues. He had said during a talk show that "the majority of drug dealers in France are black and Arab Muslims." The judges considered this was an "incitement to racial discrimination."
Zemmour is currently facing a media storm because of an interview he granted to an Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, in which he said that "Muslims have their own Civil Code, the Koran" and live "in neighborhoods that the French are gradually leaving." He added that France faced a "risk of chaos and civil war," and that Muslims might have to go. In writing his article, the Italian journalist used the word "deport". Zemmour did not use the word; he was, nevertheless, accused of having used it.
Countless complaints were filed against him. The main French "anti-racist" organizations asked all his employers to fire him. One of them, I-television (a rolling news TV channel), did so immediately.
The French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, called for street demonstrations against Zemmour. This is the first time in the history of modern France that an Interior Minister has publicly called for street demonstrations against a journalist.
Faced with incessant complaints and attacks, Riposte Laïque decided in March 2013 to relocate its operations and its website to Switzerland, where laws are less severe and where judges are less politicized than in France.
France is nonetheless the country where the two perpetrators of the worst anti-Semitic terrorist attacks committed in the name of radical Islam on European soil were born and raised: Mohamed Merah, the killer of three Jewish children and a rabbi in a schoolyard in Toulouse in March 2012, and Mehdi Nemmouche, the murderer of four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May 2014.
France is also the main European provider of jihadist recruits to the Islamic State. More than 1,000 French citizens are fighting in Syria and Iraq. Two of them have been spotted in a beheading video.
Polls show that French citizens in ever-increasing numbers are concerned about the rising proportion of unintegrated Muslims in the country, the endless expansion of no-go zones, the increasing number of Islamic converts, and the "replacement" of the French people.
Christine Tasin, Pierre Cassen, Pascal Hillout, Renaud Camus, and Eric Zemmour say out loud what thousands of people think without daring to speak.
Judicial harassment exacerbates frustration and leads many to believe that the mainstream media and leaders of major traditional parties lie about the facts and conceal the truth.
The National Front is now the top political party in France. Marine Le Pen is presently leading the polls for the 2017 presidential election. Her victory is unlikely, but it is no longer impossible. The "risk of chaos and civil war," evoked by Eric Zemmour, is constantly growing.
On December 20, Bertrand "Bilal" Nzohabonayo, walked into a police station in Joué-les-Tours, in the Loire Valley, and, screaming "Allahu Akbar" ["Allah is Greater"], stabbed three police officers. He was then shot and killed. The police and media said immediately that he was a not an Islamist but a "mental patient," although they later admitted that he seemed to be a supporter of the Islamic State.
On December 21, another man (no word yet on his identity), also screaming "Allahu Akbar," drove his car into a crowd in Dijon, and was then captured by police. The police and the media also said that he was a "mental patient," but they admitted he has family ties in North Africa.
On December 22, a third man, also screaming "Allahu Akbar" ploughed his van into a Christmas market in Nantes. He then stabbed himself, and is in hospital. The police and the media said that he was a "mental patient." He will be sent to an insane asylum.
No one knows how many "mental patients" are ready to act and scream "Allahu Akbar" in France. Police unions have said that if too many "mental patients" decided to act, the police would not able to protect the population. They added that there were not even enough police to protect police officers likely to be attacked.
Mental patients, screaming "Allahu Akbar," are storming France.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said, "We have never faced such a danger." He has not defined the danger. He decided to send a thousand soldiers to patrol the streets. He did not say if they were supposed to fight mental illness.
On December 23, a fourth man screaming "Allahu Akbar" was arrested for "violent behavior" in the city of Le Mans. He was sent directly to a psychiatrist, of course. He is a "mental patient." Authorities strangely said he might be "contagious."
Published at the initiative of the Legal Project of the Middle East Forum.