How France can really ‘protect all religions’

François HollandeFrance ‘to protect all religions’ (BBC News)

The French president, François Hollande, has announced that France “will protect all religions” and that Muslims are the “main victims of fanaticism” in a speech at the Arab World Institute:

Speaking at the Arab World Institute, he said:

Islam was compatible with democracy and thanked Arabs for their solidarity over terrorism in Paris.

“French Muslims have the same rights as all other French,” he said. “We have the obligation to protect them.

“Anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic acts have to be condemned and punished.”

Mr Hollande said that radical Islam had fed off contradictions, poverty, inequality and conflict, and that “it is Muslims who are the first victims of fanaticism, fundamentalism and intolerance”.

Speaking as a Muslim (though not as a French citizen) who has benefited, to some degree, from living in a democracy, I have to say that a democracy is only as good as its voters and that sometimes laws are needed to make sure some voters can’t trample over others’ rights. In the UK, the moderately wealthy can trample over the poor; in the USA, the whites have always done the same to the blacks, to one degree or another, and in France, and much of mainland Europe, the majority population always rides roughshod over any visible minority, whether it’s Jews, Roma, Muslims or anyone else.

Muslims do not need the French state to protect Islam. Allah protects His religion. There are always millions of people at any given time who have memorised the whole Qur’an, for example. We don’t need them to build mosques for us. We can do that ourselves.

The French state needs to protect Muslims in France. If Hollande is serious, he should do all of the following:

  1. Repeal the ban on Muslim girls wearing the hijab to school, at whatever age.
  2. Repeal the ban on Muslim women wearing the face veil in the street
  3. Abolish all bans on the hijab in public spaces and on identity cards, passports etc.
  4. Ban all local authorities, state bodies and businesses from discriminating against Muslim women on the grounds of their fees
  5. Similarly, ban the same bodies from trying to make Muslim children and young people eat haraam food

If Hollande is serious about protecting all French citizens, regardless of religion, he should show that he will have no truck with racism, xenophobia or chauvisism of any kind. This includes white feminists who think they know what’s best for all women, what makes femininity, freedom or anything else. As long as Muslims in France are daily confronted with bigotry and cultural white supremacist ideology, and as long as their women and girls are molested while white women cheer it on, they will know that France, its Republic and its culture have nothing to do with them.

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