With the beginning of the trial of 11 Muslims accused in the 2015 Charle Hebdo massacre, the notorious French newspaper is republishing the cartoons of Mohammed which got 12 of their colleagues murdered. Bernard-Henri Lévy and secularist establishment are celebrating this brave expression of free speech as a triumph of the Values of the Republic.
Meanwhile, this same politico-media establishment is condemning en masse the right-wing magazine Valeurs actuelles for publishing an alternative history in which a left-wing Black MP is portrayed as being enslaved by her fellow Africans. This, of course, was racist, not a legitimate expression of the spirit of Voltaire.Even Marine Le Pen’s National Rally piled on against Valeurs, proving yet again that her “nationalist” party is an epiphenomenal manifestation of the French politico-media system and exists only by the tolerable limits set by that system.
But are the Muslims of France really assimilating to Republican secularism? A recent poll by the highly-respected IFOP institute suggests not and that there is a growing cultural cleavage between Muslims and non-Muslims in France.
The pollsters asked: “Do you understand the indignation regarding the publication of the Mohammed cartoons?” 73% of Muslims said yes, as against 29% of French people at large (including Muslims).
69% of Muslims believe the press was wrong to publish such cartoons as “a useless provocation,” as against 31% for the general population.
66% of Muslims believe it is right to prosecute Charlie Hebdo for publishing such cartoons, as against only 21% for the general population.
18% of Muslims – about 2 million people – “do not condemn” or “are indifferent to” the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks. The figure rises to 26% for young Muslims (aged 15-24). Interestingly, the proportion of Muslims aged 15-17 refusing to condemn the attacks rose from 1% in 2016 to 22% in 2020. This makes for a very large pool of terrorist sympathizers and potential Islamic terrorists.
Finally, 40% of Muslims in France “put their religious convictions ahead of the [French] Republic’s values.”
The figure rises to 74% for Muslims under 25.
All this raises dire questions for France’s future as a society divided along ethno-religious lines. In 2016, Jérôme Fourquet – a leading pollster – estimated that 18% of babies in France were given Muslim first names. This constantly-rising figure represents a critical mass easily large enough to sustain a religious subculture quite at odds with of the old generation of aging left-wing secularist and “assimilationist” Boomers and Jews.
For left-wing Boomers and Jews, anti-racist colorblindness and the holocaust are effectively a religion – that’s why they support State censorship against what amounts to blasphemy against the sacred tropes. Muslims have their own concerns and religion however.
This has long caused problems for the French left – divided between White secularists and Arab/Turkish Muslims. As the French working class has defected en masse to nationalism, the far-left in particular has had to turn from militant colorblind secularism to left-wing racial and religious identity politics which resonates more with Blacks and Muslims.
[Far-left leader Jean-Luc] Mélenchon knows very well how his bread is buttered, and it isn’t with Bernard-Henri Lévy. He does not hesitate to encourage this political realignment by comparing Charle Hebdo with the far-right because of its attacks against Islam. His goal is to forge a banlieu populism combining the leftism of smalltime bureaucrats and the Islamism of immigrant riffraff.
Mélenchon had explained the travails of another far-left party in 2012 saying: “Do you know why is the [New Anticapitalist Party] is screwed? Because you cannot transform a micro-movement of Jewish intellectuals of the Latin Quarter [in Paris] in a mass party of the Muslim banlieues.”
Mélenchon has in the past criticized Jewish activist organizations in France and has often ignored the Jews’ sensibilities. This is a sign of a decline of Jewish influence over a large portion of the increasingly Afro-Islamic French far-left.
It is hard for me to judge the state of play among Muslims in France.
Will French Arabs and Turks become the functional equivalent of Hispanics? That is to say, a fairly low-functioning and apolitical group, prone to educational failure, welfare use, and crime, but not particularly capable of revolutionary activity. In this scenario, Islam and headscarves become of no more than folkloric interest and politically Muslims become little more than voters at the social-democratic trough.
Or will Muslims in France maintain a distinct culture, a parallel society, at once alien and capable of domination? That is the Soumission scenario.
And while I have lived in many multicultural neighborhoods and had many exchanges, typically productive, with Arabs, I cannot tell you which scenario is more likely.
Anyway, expect many more aging French leftist secularist cartoonists to bite the dust at the hands of their Muslim guests. As the Boomers and their inane obsessions pass away, things will simultaneously get much worse and somewhat better. The hegemonic postwar culture will dissolve and in its wake a thousand stupidities, and few truths, will bloom.
The French colorblind secularist left to make way for left-wing ethno-religious identity politics. As Blacks and Muslims in France assert themselves as Blacks and Muslims, more and more native French will awaken to their own identity and organize on that basis.
 Even Marine Le Pen’s National Rally piled on against Valeurs, proving yet again that her “nationalist” party is an epiphenomenal manifestation of the French politico-media system and exists only by the tolerable limits set by that system.