French President Macron Demands Muslim Leaders Accept ‘Republican Values’ Charter in Counter-Islamist Push
French President Emannuel Macron has asked a French Islamic council to accept a liberal “Charter of Republican Values” as the nation reels from an Islamist beheading attack last month, in which a militant attacked and killed a man for publishing a political cartoon of the so-called Islamic prophet Mohammed.
Through the republican values program, a national Islamic organization will accredit imams of the religion. The charter will also require that Islamic groups recognize the religion as just that- a religion- as opposed to a political movement.
France, which has the largest Islamic population in Western Europe, has increasingly struggled with social strife and distrust between the country’s Muslim demographic and broader French society. As other western societies have increasingly moved on from a daily focus on Islamic extremism, regular terror attacks in France have kept the topic alive in the nominally secular, liberal country.
“Two principles will be inscribed in black and white [in the charter]: the rejection of political Islam and any foreign interference,” one source told the Le Parisien newspaper of a recent French cabinet meeting regarding the republican values program. Islamist nations such as Saudi Arabia and other gulf states have funded Islamist organizations in Europe, interference that Macron seems keen to quash through the republican values charter.
Macron’s strict approach to militant Islam suddenly resembles that of European nationalists, including Marine Le Pen, the Front National candidate that Macron defeated in 2017.
Maybe it wouldn’t be necessary to create a comprehensive program designed to reimagine Islam as a benign religion if France hadn’t accepted massive levels of immigration from culturally differing Islamic countries since World War II.