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Is France’s secularism worth dying for? Samuel Paty, slaughtered for a lesson in tolerance, has become a martyr for the Republic

An anti-terrorism vigil for the death of Samuel Paty. Credit: by Kiran Ridley/Getty

An anti-terrorism vigil for the death of Samuel Paty. Credit: by Kiran Ridley/Getty


October 19, 2020   7 mins

Samuel Paty’s lesson for 13 and-14 year-old pupils on tolerance and freedom of speech is a lesson for the whole of France. It’s a lesson for all of us.

The facts are appalling. They are grindingly familiar and disturbingly novel – a collision between the murderous certainties of fundamentalist Islam; a well-meaning school lecture; and the mendacious, conflagratory power of the internet. On October 6, Mr Paty, 47, a much-liked history and geography teacher in a dull Paris suburb, produced for his middle school civics class a pair of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed which provoked the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine five years ago.

How can publishing such cartoons be justified, he asked the teenagers, if they offend people of the Islamic faith? Where does the freedom of expression end and respect for others’ feelings begin?

These questions are not easy, Mr Paty explained. That is why fundamental principles exist in democratic states such as France to help people of different faiths and opinions to get along without murdering one another (as they have in not-so-distant parts of French history). The complexities are the lesson. But this lesson cost Mr Paty his life. Ten days later he was dead – decapitated by a 19-year-old Chechen refugee to France as he walked home from school.

One of the pupils, a 13-year-old Muslim girl, had given her father a misleadingly lurid account of the lesson – from which she was absent. The father, with the help of a radical imam, started a campaign on the internet to have the teacher sacked. The lesson – or a false and inflammatory account of the lesson – became a cause celùbre on radical Islamic sites on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Parents at the school received as many as 10 messages day, some from Algeria and other Islamic countries, calling Mr Paty a “criminal”, a “thug” and a “paedophile” and demanding that he should be sacked.

The murderer, Abdullakh Anzorov, was a Chechen Muslim, born in Moscow 19 years ago. He did not know Mr Paty or the school. He lived in Evreux in Normandy, 60 miles away.  It is likely — but not certain — that he acted alone, enraged by the lies that he had read on the web.

Anzorov followed Mr Paty as he left the CollĂšge du Bois d’Aulne in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, north west of Paris last Friday evening. He attacked him with a 12-inch butcher’s knife, stabbing him in the arms and abdomen and then beheading him. Anzorov was shot dead by police a few minutes later.

Twelve people have been arrested, including his father, grandfather and brother and the parent and imam (apparently unknown to Anzorov) who started the hysterical hue and cry online.

I happen to know Conflans-Saint Honorine. I used to go to a LycĂ©e close to the CollĂšge du Bois d’Aulne to talk to their English classes about journalism, football, France and Britain. Conflans is not the sort of the troubled inner Paris suburb where poverty and crime is rampant. It is a pretty village now encased in a concrete commuter belt for the modestly well-off of several different origins and  religions. The kids I met there were always polite and curious.

A large, shocked crowd of pupils, parents and other well-wishers which gathered outside the school on Saturday included many Muslims. “Something like this, here? It’s unthinkable,” said Brahim, a local man who is running a campaign to build a mosque (without any opposition).

In the grim litany of islamist terror attacks in France in recent years, the killing of one teacher may seem relatively unimportant. It will soon be the five-year anniversary of the Bataclan and associated attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015 which killed 130 people. Nine months earlier, in February 2015, 17 people died in the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Hypercacher supermarket – for which 12 alleged associates of the terrorists are currently on trial.

But forget the numbers. Mr Paty’s lone murder has struck a raw and angry nerve in France – and not just because of the appalling manner of his death. Tens of thousands of people turned out to mourn and honour the teacher in demonstrations in Paris and other French cities on Sunday.

Secularism is France’s state religion, the soil in which French democracy grows. The state guarantees a freedom to believe, and a freedom not to believe. It must otherwise be neutral on all religious questions. Teachers in state schools, though poorly paid and often criticised, are regarded as a front-line infantry, or secular priesthood, which passes on these Republican values of tolerance, freedom of expression and secularism to new generations.

The fact that Mr Paty was brutally murdered precisely for trying to explain these principles has made him into a kind of Republican martyr. There is talk of him being buried in the Panthéon, the secular cathedral on the Paris left bank which is the last resting place of great French men and women.

Mr Paty, though, was not the only target of last Friday’s attack. Anzorov also left a garbled message for the President, posted moments after the murder: “To Macron, leader of the infidels, I have executed one of your dogs of hell
Calm down others like him or we will inflict on you a severe punishment.”

This was obviously influenced by the furious response in parts of the Islamic world to a speech Macron had given in Les Mureaux two weeks ago. Les Mureaux is a more troubled, multi-racial, outer suburb of Paris in the Seine valley 20 kilometres west of Conflans. In the speech, the President proposed new action to prevent French Muslims from becoming a separate community who give their allegiance wholly to the Koran rather than French laws or values.

He promised a law on “secularity and liberty” to combat extremist Islamist indoctrination by forbidding the teaching of children at home after the age of three and by ending the “importation” of foreign-financed imams. Mosques will be placed under greater surveillance. State funding will be available to mosques which sign a charter on secularism and democracy.

Macron rejected calls to ban or restrict French Muslim women from wearing headscarves in public. He recognised that many of France’s Muslims had been let down by successive governments. He admitted that France had created its own social and economic “separatism” by dumping poorer people in suburban ghettoes with poor housing and few jobs.

The speech was – with some quibbles — generally well-received by moderate Muslim organisations in France. It produced a storm of fury amid more radical French Muslim groups and some governments of Islamic countries, including the Chechen one. It was also savaged by some successful and well-integrated Muslims in other European countries, including Britain. They accused Macron, inter alia, of racism, insulting Muslims and trying to create a “caliphate” or “French Islam”.

Much of this criticism was rooted in ignorance of French history and the principle of state secularism. France is not a ‘Catholic country’ but the state owns all the churches and rents them to ‘The Church’. Creating a similar system of state aid to support a moderate Islam with a French accent does not, in that context, seem so outlandish.

France has, proportionally, the largest Muslim population in Europe – between five and six million, or just under tenth of its people. Many – probably as many as a half – are non-practising. The great majority are law-abiding and accept the primacy of national laws. But there has been a shift in the last 20 years, even among moderate muslims, towards a more overt expression of their faith and sense of Islamic identity.

There has also been a rise in home-grown Islamist terrorism. Most of the atrocities committed in the name of Islam in France in recent years — from the attack on the jewish school in Toulouse in 2012, to the Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan attacking in 2015 and the Nice truck attack in July 2016 — have involved French-born or long-term French domiciled Muslims.

Macron’s speech, clumsily worded in places, offered no snap solution. It offered a long-term strategy to create a barrier between the majority of the French Muslim population and a minority of extremists. This approach has been attacked, in the wake of Paty’s murder, by the Right and Far Right in France as a feeble response to the Islamist threat. Marine Le Pen of Rassemblement National called for a “real war against the poison of radical Islam
a real war to eradicate it finally”. Bruno Retailleau of the centre right Les RĂ©publicains said that “Islamism” must be “thrown out of the country by force”.

These are largely meaningless words. What sort of force exactly? What kind of real war? Most of France’s muslims are French and French born. They are not going anywhere. Any violent attempt to isolate an extremist but often submerged minority could prove disastrous.

The attitude of some Muslim intellectuals is equally obtuse. Their criticism of Macron’s speech seemed to float in a moral  vacuum in which events like the Bataclan or 9/11 or Manchester Arena for that matter – never occurred. Anti-muslim feeling exists in France — and did so before radical terrorism. But to minimise Islamist violence, and dismiss all attempts to contain it, as products of  endemic, European  “Islamophobia” is disingenuous or dishonest. A section of the French Left – certainly not all – has also been complicit in this intellectual dishonesty.

Some supposedly moderate Muslims reacted to the attack by blaming France and the French culture of free speech. Roshan Salih, editor of the British muslim news site Five Pillars, tweeted on Saturday: “Charlie Hebdo must be shut down immediately by French authorities. This racist, Islamophobic rag is causing community relations to completely break down with its repeated provocations.”

Salih and others say that Charlie Hebdo is clearly “islamophobic” because it would never similarly attack the Catholic church. Oh no? The magazine once published a front page cartoon in which the Bible, the Torah and the Koran were shown as giant toilet rolls. Charlie Hebdo is religiophobic. It is also frequently crude and unfunny — and in French law and according to the French cultural tradition, it has the right to be so.

Macron’s long game to remove the extremist influence from Islam in France isn’t without its flaws. But if not this approach, then what? Separating the great majority of moderate, hard-working, law-abiding French Muslims from the violent, anti-western propaganda of the extreme is in their interests. Their lives are already complicated by every Islamist atrocity. They would suffer most from the kind of ill-formulated civil war that Ms Le Pen contemplates.

There are reasons for hope, however. Extremist anti-western Islam has tried to foment retaliatory violence against the Muslim community — and thereby push more of them towards their own destructive misreading of Islam. Overall, that strategy has failed. The radical strategy was also to bring to power in France, and other western countries, a generation of hard-line politicians who would pursue anti-Muslim policies — not just anti-terrorism policies. That has not happened yet either.

But simple-sounding responses and explanations, whether offered by French politicians or by radical Muslim intellectuals, are not the solution. They are part of the problem. We should heed Mr Paty’s lecture to the 13 and 14-year-olds of Collùge du Bois d’Aulne at Conflans-Saint Honorine.We should cling to the principles of tolerance and freedom which western societies have evolved from their own dark centuries of intolerance and violence. The principles are often muddled and confusing. But that is the lesson. Complexity is the lesson.


John Lichfield was Paris correspondent of The Independent for 20 years. Half-English and half-Belgian, he was born in Stoke-on-Trent and lives in Normandy.

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Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago

In eighteenth century Britain Catholics were still regarded by many as ‘the enemy within’. Nevertheless in a spirit of tolerance (and promoted by the great Edmund Burke) the Second Catholic Relief Act of 1791 allowed the building of churches, which had been forbidden since the days of Elizabeth I. There were conditions – no steeples, no bells, no outdoor gatherings and the establishment of monasteries and convents was forbidden. I think similar provisions needs to be applied today – no minarets, no calls to prayer, no outdoor demonstrations of Muslim piety, and no schools/madrassahs. The threat posed by Islamic terrorism is far greater than that ever presented by Catholics, and my modest proposals are probably insufficient, but they’re a start.

michael.petek
michael.petek
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Your modest proposals would, I fear, be insufficient. In mediaeval France the entire Anzorov family would have been sent to the flames.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  michael.petek

It’s hard to tell whether you are recommending this or not. that said whenever I look into the supposed crimes of the medieval church I find much exaggeration.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

You mean that French teacher lost his head while shaving?

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Again you are making assertions without giving any examples.
Are you suggesting the Inquisition has been exaggerated?

clem alford
clem alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Yes Islam is a clear and present danger. Islam should be taught in schools to make people aware of what they are up against.

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  clem alford

Islam is already taught in schools – unfortunately what is taught bears little resemblance to reality. When my children were taught about islam, lesson one started with the falsehood “Islam means peace”.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

The way Islam is taught depends on the teacher and often the teacher is not a specialist. Of course the teacher should have – and possibly did- qualify that remark in future lessons.

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

The teacher certainly should have, but equally certainly didn’t. I appreciate that the teacher might not have been a specialist, and I am not complaining about that individual, because if you ask a selection of (even educated) people “what does the word ‘islam’ mean?” you will get the answer “peace”, not “submission”, just as if you ask “what does ‘allahu akhbar’ mean?” you will get the answer “god is great”, whereas the correct translation is “god is greatER” (i.e. greater than YOUR god.) It’s a challenge and a put-down, not an inoffensive declaration of faith.

Mark Shelly
Mark Shelly
3 years ago

Peacefully cutting off heads.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  clem alford

Islam is often taught as part of RE GCSE. The syllabus includes Christianity and one other world religion. In all cases the religious belief is not taught but what the adherents of the religion believe.
Some parents will not countenance their child taking the subject, usually in the mistaken belief that the child is being given religious indoctrination.

Bilbo Cactus
Bilbo Cactus
3 years ago
Reply to  clem alford

I’m a retired Principal Teacher of Philosophy and RS – and a lifelong secularist and atheist. In the UK, what and how we can teach is prescribed by government/local authorities. Throughout my whole career I campaigned for the abolition of RS/RE and its replacement with Philosophy or ‘Belief Studies’, in a secular context, similar to the French system. The problem is, we don’t have the intellectual awareness, knowledge of history, courage, will or political nous to challenge religious interests and privileges. The situation is getting only worse now what with radical Islam, postmodernism, anti Enlightenment identity politics and authoritarian wokery. I despair!

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Bilbo Cactus

I despair at a teacher of RS being out to have the subject removed. To me ‘a lifelong secularist and atheist.’is far worse than any religious person at moral instruction. I lived in Islamic countries and never would have wished Muslims to become a substantial minority in Christian countries, but as secularist and atheist ideology is taking over the West at least having Muslims means there is still some morality. Mainstream Islam is a very moral religion based on the Old Testament, and a ‘Religion of the Book’, so better than just atheism.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Bilbo Cactus

How ironic.
Your secularism and atheism have replaced Christianity in schools as the prevailing ethos, and this moral vacuum has led to Wokism, which includes post-modernism, feminism and Marxism, an irrational mish-mash of ignorance, so-called compassion and intolerance.

Far better to have kept Christianity as the moral framework in our schools, which allowed people to choose as they matured to be committed Christians, or nominal Christians, or whatever else took their fancy. Even if they rejected them the solace and lessons contained in the Lords Prayer, hymns and Bible stories children used to grow up with served them well, both morally and as a springboard into adulthood and free thought.

Secularism and atheism in schools have done our society no favours.

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

If you try to impose conditions in the UK on the building of mosques (no minarets etc) you will be deafened by the cries of “islamophobia” from the victim culture.

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago

And by the princes of the Church of England, which has become the clerical wing of the Woke.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Ralph Windsor

As shown by the fact that former Archbishop Carey, still sits smugly in the House of Lords, despite the recent damming report into sodomy and coverup in the Church of England.

David Uzzaman
David Uzzaman
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I’d agree with more or less your whole post but would point out that the original measures against Catholics were entirely justified. For at least a hundred years every threat to the State or Monarchy (which at the time amounted to the same thing) came from homegrown plotters often aided by foreign monarchs. The movement for Catholic emancipation only came about because Catholics had proved themselves loyal subjects. A nation state can’t afford a large number of citizens whose primary loyalties is to other states. Even dual nationality is only possible if the number of dual citizens is relatively small.

maddrell3
maddrell3
3 years ago
Reply to  David Uzzaman

The vast majority of Catholics were always loyal subjects of the Crown, who simply wished to be left alone to practice their faith.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago
Reply to  David Uzzaman

I guess what it boils down to is that Catholicism got better and Islam got worse

As for dual nationality I’m reminded of the joke exchange

“I used to be a Jew”
“Yeah sure. And I used used to be a hunchback”

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
3 years ago
Reply to  David Uzzaman

“A nation state can’t afford a large number of citizens whose primary loyalties is to other states.” Or loyalty to an intolerant violent stone age cult that kills to force its agenda of intolerance.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

The Bar Convent in York was founded secretly in the late 17th century with a secret chapel built in the middle of the building lit be a glass dome. It is still a convent I think.

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

I hope it’s still a convent, I remember being shown round by an elderly and delightful nun a few years back. Although secret, the chapel was still quite audacious, being in a prominent building just outside the city gate (‘Bar’). But York had lots of Catholic sympathisers, including Guy Fawkes of course.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Those remarkable people the Swiss seem to have Islam under control, and have followed your advice and prohibited minarets.

Frankly far too much attention is be focused on hysterical Islam, whilst the far greater threat of rampant China and the obscene CCP, is blissfully ignored.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

You do know 1791 was over 200 years ago, and things were different then? I think your proposals are preposterous. If you do not want Muslims then ban them, but otherwise there you are.

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

So a little bit like what the Chinese are doing in Xinjiang?
I believe they too see the Muslim population there as a threat especially after they have had a number of returning jihadis from the Middle East theatres of war. Of course they go beyond your modest proposals but I note you have said these might be insufficient.

You are perfectly entitled to this opinion. I also feel the Chinese should not be so harshly criticised for trying to deal with what they consider to be internal threats. Oddly the very same people on these very pages harshly criticising the Chinese for their ways of managing the Uighers seem to be the ones who are absolutely and utterly outraged that nothing is being done in the West to address the “Muslim problem”.

I’m not condoning any kind of ethnic cleansing that may or may not be happening in Xinjiang, but re-education camps may be just what it says: dealing with a certain mindset and trying to get it to fit in with the wider society. Almost like what Macron seemed to be suggesting in his speech.

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago
Reply to  Go Away Please

An interesting reply – made me think about what I was advocating! I’m not aware that Uighurs have been rampaging around China cutting off people’s heads, but what do I know? And if they haven’t, the Chinese authorities would no doubt say that’s because of the pre-emptive measures taken against them. However, my understanding is that these measures include concentration camps and enforced sterilisation – both well beyond the scope of my modest proposal.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Interesting comparison. Worth remembering though that England was a Catholic country for nearly a thousand years before the 1530s, and that Catholicism was violently and forcibly suppressed and destroyed by the state, out of greed primarily. Therefore England’s identity was (is) partly and originally Catholic, in which case Catholicism was potentially a serious threat, in how it might activate political dissent against the established order.
I would guess that the Government keeps a weather eye on the current situation, as long as it is in the UK’s economic and political interest to allow Muslim piety to be expressed, it will be allowed to do so.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago

No. Claims of complexity are the excuse.
We should do more than “cling” to our principles.
Or are we now on the edge of a cliff, with appeasement the only answer?

As nobody dares to publish the cartoons, maybe we are closer to the edge than people realise.
Governments in the West need to state clearly that cartoons are acceptable in our society. Perhaps, with a big advertising campaign, showing the cartoons and explaining that this is the way we live in the West?

alancoles10
alancoles10
3 years ago

totally agree but who would have the guts to do it!

Ralph Windsor
Ralph Windsor
3 years ago
Reply to  alancoles10

No politician you can think of, here, in Europe or in North America. We in the West are living a 21st century version of the Decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  alancoles10

Surely ‘Private Eye’?

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

No chance. Have you seen Private eye lately?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

No! Has it gone ‘woke’?

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Hislop suffers from Brexit Derangement Syndrome and appears to subscribe fully to ‘woke’ (if we must use that term) orthodoxy. The magazine has become utterly predictable, tame and dreary. As has HIGNFY, his other big sinecure and pension pot

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Many thanks, and how sad. I used to read it eons ago, but gave eventually because of the unremitting corruption it spoke of. Just too depressing!
Yes, you are right, we must find a better word than ‘woke’, something acerbic is required, and as yet unfound.

tiffeyekno
tiffeyekno
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I have written a number of times asking that the ‘Dumb Britain’ column be dropped. The magazine is increasingly a coterie of minor public school boys laughing at poor people and daring to attack George Osborne. The Eye of Christopher Booker no longer exists.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago

Personally I have a very different take on this than anyone here. I think the teacher was being arrogantly Islamophobic. He sent the Muslims from the room because he knows how hurtful blasphemy is to Muslims and he wanted to partake in some serious blasphemy. He was out to cause outrage, religiousism, racism, and show his woke credentials is how I read it. Now I think killing terrorists Muslims if a great thing and think the cops did very well to just kill the terrorist, it does not excuse the teacher. The teacher wanted to be highly provocative, and so he was, so a crazy was provoked, so this all happened. If this teacher had any respect for other belief systems he would never have done this and the world would be a batter place.

ddwieland
ddwieland
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

I’m in Canada and hadn’t heard or read the context of this tragedy as described in the article. You’re adding another element, apparently from another source I’m not aware of, that describes the teacher as wanting to cause outrage. What leads you to characterize him that way? If you think he should have avoided a discussion on the limits of tolerance and free speech, aren’t you saying that speech must be very constrained, not free? Have you considered that constrained speech and intolerance are essential aspects of authoritarian/totalitarian systems?

By the way, I doubt that I’m the only one who thinks the meaning of phobia has been lost when ‘phobic’ is appended to so many words.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

When you import people who are hostile to your culture, it’s not going to end well. Tolerance is well and good, but only if it’s a universal value.

The facts are appalling.
They are also not new or terribly surprising. This movie has played before and after each screening, the usual suspects on the political left wring their hands and caution everyone except those involved in the latest appalling act to be wary of overreacting. It is a special kind of madness.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Although I try to be Neutral on Economics i’m more Social Democrat… Uk has London bridge,Westminster,Streatham,Reading..Some fool said mentioning reading Incident Muslim was here illegally was ”Racist”.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

You say “Tolerance is well and good, but only if it’s a universal value”.

Surely If it’s a universal value, tolerance is effortlessly built in

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Alka

The beauty of tolerence is that it _doesn’t_ have to be a universal value. Totalitarianisms insist on stamping everything else out.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

‘Is France’s secularism worth dying for?’

Well, it very much depends on your point of view. You either fight, and perhaps die, for a secular state or you accept the gradual and inevitable Islamisation of Europe.

I had read Macron’s speech in full before this attack , along with the comments from Ayan Hirsi Ali and others. It’s nice to see that Macron has finally woken up to some form of reality. But like all politicians he has woken up around 10 or 20 years later than the rest of us. Aside from that, I have said since 2015 that the only slogan that bears any resemblance to reality is: Je Suis Mort

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The statistics in France re secularisation of Muslims are far better than in the UK. And I can’t imagine a speech like Macrons being made anywhere in the English speaking world. That said the threat of Islam is exaggerated.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Anybody with any knowledge of the global spread of Islam know that its threat is far from exaggerated. Quite the reverse. It is under-estimated.

Eugene Norman
Eugene Norman
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I have more knowledge than you. Keep fighting phantoms and you will be subject to continuous defeats in your addled head. There’s a huge threat to the west from US sourced identity politics, without that the west would have some chance of absorbing Islam and other immigrants. Not unsurprisingly a country like France (where Muslims are better integrated than the UK), being less influenced by the US can produce a centrist like Macron who – if he made that speech in the US, or the UK – would be out of a job and banned from Twitter.

I’m not advocating continuous Islamic immigration either, but the integration of all immigrants can’t happen if we don’t understand where the source of their non assimilation is. Identity politics needs to perish, and with it the Atlantic alliance.

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

I am uncomfortable with a comment that starts “I have more knowledge than you.”

Perhaps you should read Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life” – rule 9 is “Assume the person you are listening to might know something you don’t”.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago

You can’t assume that if you’ve ever read anything of Fraser’s before. Except on wine. He clearly knows what he is talking about there.
I’m assuming JP would agree on that point.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

Thanks for the compliment re my knowledge of wine. Funnily enough I wrote some texts for a wine auctioneer this weekend and he declared them to be ‘perfect’.

But as someone who has lived and worked in four different countries, whose grades were good enough for any university in the land (had I wanted to be surrounded by the sort of people who go to university) and who has read over 70 mostly serious works of fiction and non-fiction each year for some decades, I like to think that I know quite a lot about quite a lot of things.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago

I have more knowledge than you, and it is merely true in 99.97% of cases. Sorry for the .3% I am wrong about. The thing is on such topics as this very few have actually lived in many cultures and countries and been exposed to many religions and philosophies. Most people just project their tiny life experience onto the greater world, and thus are usually totally wrong. I have been there and done that to a big degree, and I think the teacher was very wrong, I think he was stirring up trouble, I think he was putting bad ideas in his young students heads, and I think he was a super Woke out to outrage under the guise of freedom of speech. That he outraged a terrorist was very bad, and I think it great the police killed the terrorist dead. But as the old saying went – If you summon up demons what are you going to do when they come? The teacher had no business showing his kids Blaspheme against Islam just to show he could and to stir up outrage in them. His job is not that, he went way over the mark.

Fred Atkinstalk
Fred Atkinstalk
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.

Please, keep talking.

clem alford
clem alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

So you are surrendering to Islam and Sharia. Don’t you understand Islam does not want to ‘integrate’ into a secular society. Islam ghettoises itself for a reason. That Muslims adopting secular views is opposed to Islamic belief. Apostacy in Islam is haram and can land those who leave Islam in danger. They want to take over when their numbers are big enough and that is not far off as their demography overtakes the recomended 2.5 children per family. They have 4 or 5 as the state will pay. And if the men have 4 wives as is permitted in Islam well do the maths. There is a difference between being freindly and being a friend. Do you know the meaning of ‘Taqiya’? https://www.youtube.com/wat

Paul
Paul
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

You may have “more knowledge” but in what sphere isnt quite apparent. This excerpt – written by some hard right thug? An extreme right blog or politician? A man with a grudge who sees “assimilation” and absorption a one way street with islam willing to compromise but ignored by their hosts?

Nope, written in 1899 by WS Churchill is his book “The River War”. The threat of militant unyielding Mohammedanism laid bare. 120 years later his words were almost prophetic.

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property ““ either as a child, a wife, or a concubine ““ must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die: but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.

Therein lies your failure to proffer that we need to understand to assimilate a religion that has never shown the slightest hint of assimilation wherever they invade.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Thank you Paul for a priceless example of prophecy. In Sir Winston, Boris Johnson has certainly attached himself to the right prophet. But he’s still got a long way to go before he becomes an effective disciple.

Paul
Paul
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Alka

Thank you,
Very gracious. A look at Dearborn Michigan gives some idea of England in 2030. I think we are sliding back to Medieval times. It is certain that islam never left it.

Dhimmitude Ishere
Dhimmitude Ishere
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul

We don’t have to wait until 2030 as there are plenty of places in England now to rival Dearborn.

Albert Kensington
Albert Kensington
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

It has been perfectly apparent for decades before BLM that bulk of Islamic migrants are colonists and the prospects of integrating them are pretty much nil. This was pretty obvious at the time of the Satanic Verses.

I am very familiar with the delights of inner city Birmingham. I strongly suspect that I have more knowledge than you

namelsss me
namelsss me
3 years ago

It’s interesting that the old story of Hengist & Horsa and the oxhide is no longer taught in primary schools. We even have politically correct versions of the anglo-saxon conquest… (‘if we can find no skulls with sword cuts in the East Riding, there can have been no violence’)

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  namelsss me

Well said.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago

There is Islam, and Islam. I think what you mean by Islam is the uneducated and low skilled mass, There is a strong class system always in Islam and the higher up the more intellectual it is, and more cosmopolitan. The thing is Western Politicians are either out to wreck the West by intent or by sheer pig headed stupidity! The problem is which Muslims are encouraged and allowed to migrate. Blair and his animal Mandy went over the world hunting millions of people who would not assimilate, and were very successful at getting them to move to UK ‘To rub the right’s nose in it’.

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Not that anyone on here will agree with you, but you are quite right.
If you look at the Muslim population in Canada (where I have some very old friends who I regularly keep in touch with) you discover that many Muslims there are highly educated and well integrated. I have always assumed this was largely due to Canada’s point based immigration system. Many of these Muslims have ended up as CEOs of well known giant corporates.

Here in the UK, without any points based system and a very easily manipulated family re-union policy we invited a lot of Muslims that come from very backward villages. They were always going to find it a stretch to integrate, especially when they settled in large numbers in the same localities and hardly ever met a local Englishman. In fact I’d guess that many of them wouldn’t really get on with the educated more cosmopolitan Muslim here (we do have a fair few ourselves) and those in Canada.

maddrell3
maddrell3
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

The Atlantic Alliance has its problems, but shouldn’t be hoisted on the petard of the idiocy of identity politics, which is, incidentally rejected by most Americans.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

I know that Islam began in a desert in the ME in the 7th century. It has subsequently come to dominate, conquer or occupy the whole of the ME and North Africa, Persia, what we now as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and various other ‘stans;. I believe it also conquered much of India at one point. it has also taken Indonesia and is expanding further south in Africa. It occupied the Iberian Peninsula for many centuries and almost burst into the rest of Europe twice. For many centuries it has had a foothold in the Balkans, and it now has a significant foothold in almost every other European country. Thus Europe will be Islamic within a century or so.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Can you describe your superior knowledge? And also justify your assertion that French Muslims and better integrated than those in the U.K.? If you cannot your claims are meaningless.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

Oh dear Eugene, you have let yourself down. What an intemperate rant!
Surely you recall the adage “self praise is no recommendation”?

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Norman

There’s a huge threat to the west from US sourced identity politics, without that the west would have some chance of absorbing Islam and other immigrants.

While the first half of your sentence is absolutely correct, I don’t agree with the second.

i) “Other immigrants” are perfectly well integrated into UK society. There’s only one group that has significant problems integrating. It is the same group that has problems integrating in other countries as well.

ii) You overlook the fact that the US flavour of identity politics is not the only one, and that identity politics is absolutely central to Islam. Huge sections of the Koran and other scripture is devoted to denigrating non-believers, with special animosity reserved for Jews. Islam is obsessed with identity.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

There is not much fighting going on and on the rare occasion that someone takes up that mantle, the accusation of “islamophobia” inevitably follows.

clem alford
clem alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

In the UK we have had a taste of what a Sharia nation would be like. It is really scary. This death cult posing as a religion of peace and being supported by the naive leftists is truly a threat to free speech. To even have a robust discusion can land you in a dangerous place. I attended a debate a few years ago in Central London’s Quaker House on secularism and Islam. Right from the outset the Muslims were trying to push their agenda. Women to be seated apart from men. The lady from the National Secular Society was present and she was having none of it and we none Muslims had to insist that she sit where she wanted or the meeting would be cancelled. These people use all means possible, including the womb, to promote their caliphate aims of Islam. Be warned.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  clem alford

These people use all means possible, including the womb, to promote their caliphate aims of Islam. Be warned.

Indeed. Islam is the only religion I can think of that has a clearly defined global mission. While Christianity might be about savings as many souls as possible, and Jainism might be about causing as little harm to any living thing as possible, Islam’s goal is, put simply, more Islam.

Many of the religion’s central tenets work in support of this goal: death for apostasy, the ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims, the requirement for non-Muslim men who marry Muslim women to convert, the notion that territory that has become Islamised must never become un-Islamised, the efforts to impose blasphemy laws on everyone under the guise of combatting “Islamophobia”, the prohibition on questioning the religion or using reason to critique it, the marked absence of any “render unto Caesar” doctrine.

Islam is primarily about domination. It’s naive to think otherwise.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Your reality slogan Je Suis Mort is a truism. It depends on your age but these days in my case, the slogan is “thanks heavens for mortality”.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago

Unfortunately we have been here before. An atrocity (pick one, there are a lot more than those mentioned in the article) and there is mass outrage and support. That fades and it is replaced by the constant sniping of the left and radicals to undermine our belief system. Islamophobia is only one part of that, you only have to look at the bill passing through the Scottish Assembly on “hate crime” or try having a debate in which you defend the right of a Christian to openly wear a cross. The current vogue topic in the UK is “Transrights” which, although different in nature, still has the same basic principle of ending debate and stopping free speech and thought by the use of a form of verbal violence – the cancel culture.

If we are going to fight back against this curtailing of free speech we need to actually fight for our right to offend. Every newspaper in the UK should now print those cartoons, twitter should be full of tweets saying “Woman don’t have penises” and every comedian should be preparing as many jokes as they can to block every court in Scotland.

If we want to defend our right to free speech we have to go out and actually do it and we need to establish the law that everyone has the right to offend but not murder because that person opinion offended them!

Julie S
Julie S
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

I would agree with you. We ourselves have been brainwashed into believing so many things are taboo. All the political correctness has stifled honest speech, truth. The people who support radicalism of any kind just label anyone who disagrees as some sort of phobic, hater, an ad hominem attack. We have been too easily shut down on individual, firmly held beliefs and expression of those beliefs for fear of offending and hurting someone’s feelings. This has not been working and it’s how we got where we are today. Free speech is not meant to only include things that don’t upset anyone and when supporting our governmental documents and founding principles and history are shut down, this is an atrocity.

Inciting violence is a line in the sand with which I agree your free speech ends.

The understanding of free speech vs oppression vs hurt feelings vs hate speech used to be more clearly held by much of society.

Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

David Bell’s reference to the ‘cancel culture’ is a reminder of how selective many in the West are in their defence of free speech. While we rightly protest at the horrible killing of a teacher in France, we should also remember that there are left-wing lines in the sand that British commentators dare not cross. Thus Sir Tim Hunt lost his job for making some facetious remarks about women in science labs, and the publication of Bruce Gilley’s biography of imperial governor Sir Alan Burns has been blocked as a result of a campaign organised by a Maoist philosopher. And we all know about J.K. Rowling. ‘Je suis Tim, Bruce or Joanne’, anyone?

Jake Prior
Jake Prior
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

It must also include climate change ‘denialism’ or whatever moniker might be used for expressing doubt about the narrative. In my experience that issue has become more enshrined in gospel than anything else. It might be true, but we must all defend people’s right to question it. The Guardian ran a story today discrediting Martin Kulldorff and by extension the whole Great Barrington Declaration simply for appearing on a radio show hosted by someone that had expressed doubts about climate change. It’s extremely sinister, but held as such an unquestionable truth by so many I think it underlies more of the problems with free speech than we give it credit for.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  Jake Prior

That is a good point. It also shows how the left hold others to a much higher degree of scrutiny than they apply to themselves. If The Guardian applied that level of cancel culture to itself it would have closed years ago on the grounds that it supported the South and it’s rights to use slaves during the American Civil War.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

So decency, respect, tolerance, is all out the window then? Every outrage, merely to outrage, should be done? I wonder about the modern person who would propose such as your post, yet many here are repeating it. I guess you say fill the papers with racism, Nazism, misogyny, misandry, homophobia, religious hatred and blasphemy. Sick society you advocate there. How about respect. Blasphemy is very hurtful to Muslims. That you secular humanists have nothing at all you hold in great reverence you wish to tear down anything others do.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

In life there are times when you have to stand up to the bully. I use that word deliberately because that is what the liberal and hard left are doing and it is exactly what Islamic terrorists do every time they attack someone because they don’t give Islam the respect that those terrorists refuse to give to others. We need to stand up and say “no more, if you live in the UK you live by our values”.

What does that mean, it means a woman can wear what she likes, from a Burka to a bikini and no one has the right to rape or abuse her.

It means I can criticise Islam, Christianity, Kier Starmer, Diana Abbott, Boris Johnston, etc and not be imprisoned or have my head chopped off because no one has the right to be exempt from criticism, ridicule or mockery as long as it does not involve physical violence. And by extension I can be criticised, ridiculed and mocked for what I say, which is exactly what you have done!

It means no one has more rights because of the colour of their skin, the religious text they follow or their political beliefs than someone else with different views.

It means a carton is not a reason to kill someone and anyone who does deserves to know we will not accept violence as a way to over turn freedoms we won hundreds of years ago!

Jeffrey Chongsathien
Jeffrey Chongsathien
3 years ago

Just another victim of the liberal left’s denial of the fundamental tenets of Islam and the problems of the Islamic world that they’ve been importing en masse – add one more to the mountain of their victims’ corpses.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Weill the mountain of corpses go to Mohammed, or will Mohammed go to the mountain of corpses?

clem alford
clem alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Md. and his death cult have made plenty of corpses to increase the height of that mountain and it isn’t over yet. Been happening for 1400 years. https://www.youtube.com/wat

clem alford
clem alford
3 years ago

Absolutely the naive left are causing mayhem with uncontrolled immigration.

namelsss me
namelsss me
3 years ago
Reply to  clem alford

Actually, the Tories caused the current problem from 2010 by rejecting Labour’s (admittedly expensive and ham-fisted) plan for identity cards. That’s why ‘undocumented’ immigrants come here from countries where ID is required.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  namelsss me

ID cards Loved by Soviet union And Nazi Gestapo ,East german Stasi etc…Hitchens is right ”Some British have A love of State ”Protection” ie Totalitarism..Orwell didn’t see idiots Embracing Big Brother media rubbish….Two&Two graphs =5 ?

Stephen Murray
Stephen Murray
3 years ago
Reply to  Robin Lambert

What a stupid comment. I carried an identity card for most of my life,both in the armed forces and as a civil servant. I’m fairly sure most of todays armed forces would have a name for such as you, and not a pleasant one.

Michael Coulson
Michael Coulson
3 years ago
Reply to  namelsss me

And as the Government’s response to the Covid pandemic develops aren’t we glad that we don’t have those ID cards!

namelsss me
namelsss me
3 years ago

Is the Government planning to stab us & chop our heads off? I can believe anything of the Cummingsites, but I hadn’t heard that reported.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  namelsss me

I think the government are after another part of our anatomy. Kier Starmer already handed his over, gift-wrapped. Oddly enough Andy Burnham is the only one with any left. Credit where credit’s due.

robboschester
robboschester
3 years ago

Frankly, no.

Ars Hendrik
Ars Hendrik
3 years ago

Terrorism is the right work for it, for this and similar murders. Carried out with chilling ease by one man (and all the more terrifying if he truly acted alone and not part of a disruptable cell). There is no defence to such attacks ““ what happens is that everyone is immediately cowed into submission.

After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, how many news outlets published the cartoons in solidarity with the victims, or how many thousands of the courageous ‘Je suis Charlie’ protestors dared to carry placards replicating the cartoons? None. In that instance the terrorists won. Likewise, the terrorist in this instance can be said to have won in that now, no teacher will dare to show these images again, or possibly even discuss them.

This isn’t about grand ideas such as the Republic, secularism and free speech. It’s about a significant group of Muslims who will kill you if you insult their religion. Sophistry in argument and pleas to democracy and reason mean very little to teenage immigrants enraged by the internet and looking to give their lives meaning by avenging the insult.

The same for those celebrity thinkers who lead the debate in print and online. I like Douglas Murray as much as anyone. He is a great intellectual and writer, undefeatable in reasoned debate. I’ve read his books and greatly enjoyed his company online, but so what? Words don’t mean a lot if there is a realistic chance you will get your throat cut for saying them, and you can’t really take a pen to a knife fight.

Speeches from politicians ““ usually prefixed with the hollow boast about not being afraid or not being defeated ““ will do nothing to combat the problem where it exists, nothing to stop the street-level, knife carrying murderer. Open warfare would be preferable to this slow death. At least then, there would be a visible enemy to fight and defeat.

We can already see the passive effect of Islam on Western culture. Who would have thought that post-1960s we would be entertaining blasphemy as a reason for censorship, or that we would take such a curiously prurient turn in matters of sexuality and nudity ““ all attempts to censure and change the Western paradigm. The extreme violence underpinning such moves makes their success all the more likely.

What is happening now is exactly as predicted by Michel Houellebecq in ‘Submission’. Anyone who thinks we can reason our way out of it is utterly deluded.

Albert Kensington
Albert Kensington
3 years ago
Reply to  Ars Hendrik

Well said

alancoles10
alancoles10
3 years ago
Reply to  Ars Hendrik

Bullseye!

Hilary Arundale
Hilary Arundale
3 years ago
Reply to  Ars Hendrik

Are you suggesting ‘woke’ is the ideological offspring of liberalism (or postmodern Marxism, or something of that sort) and imported Islam? I hadn’t considered that… very interesting.

Ars Hendrik
Ars Hendrik
3 years ago

Yes Hilary, kind of. I’d recommend Tom Holland’s ‘Dominion’, a superb book that explains how so many of our current ‘woke’ ideas find their foundation in Christianity and its application in the West.

Alison Phillips
Alison Phillips
3 years ago

Same old story. The security services know what to do. Profile, entice, isolate, surveill then arrest. Bit by bit – step by step the islamist fascists will be thinned out. Mosques are not wishy washy places largely run by women – clapping hands & worrying about climate change. Mosques are largely for men to turn boys into pious warriors.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

‘Mosques are largely for men to turn boys into pious warriors.’

You know that, I know that, and most sensible people know that. But most of the political and media class are blissfully ignorant or cheering them on.

Simon Denis
Simon Denis
3 years ago

Surely an attempt to take refuge in the “complexity” of the issue is no more than a counsel of passivity and despair. True, we may well be reduced to those miserable comforters in the years to come, but a few questions might be considered beforehand. First, you say secularism is the soil of the republic. Perhaps, but if so that soil is nowadays wearing very thin. And why? Because “identity” and the questions associated with it are sweeping the globe. You yourself point out that the Islamic population of France, though broadly law-abiding, is gaining an ever more decided sense of itself and its particular inheritance. How far will this go? Will it ever reconcile to the freedoms which poor M. Paty took for granted? Then there is precedent. The denizens of the later Enlightenment would doubtless have been astonished to see the Gothic revival, the indulgence of passion, nationalist politics and Romantic Art, but they happened. Are not our leading practitioners of Globalist – and increasingly authoritarian – “liberalism” in exactly the same boat? Then again, not only is the modernist cosmopolis getting old, the culture of the West which supported it is losing prestige – to China, to India and, indeed, to resurgent Islam itself. What incentive is there for adaptation or even compromise? The dangers loom and clouds of complexity are no defence.

René Descartes
René Descartes
3 years ago

With the greatest respect for Samuel Paty he did not die ‘for France’s secularism’. He died for his killer’s barbarity and ignorance

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
3 years ago

“Is France’s secularism worth dying for?”

Ultimately, surely yes. But it’s not about secularism or religion, it’s about freedom of speech and way of life.

Islam is about 700 years younger than Christianity. If we think about the fundamentalist Christianity of 700 years ago, it still had a few hundred years to go, of being thoroughly violent, murderous, repressive and primitive.

Change happens faster now and evolution is a shorter process. But unfortunately, in the case of today’s Islam some are still stuck in the past and they attack, not just Christians – but “anyone who is not them”. Until those few renounce their violent fundamentalism, it must be countered with determination strength, and whatever force is necessary.

There will, sadly, be further deaths on both sides. But I see no alternative. The bad people are a tiny, evil, minority. No matter how tempting it may sometimes seem, to try to completely partition the world is to fail completely – surely we’ve learned that, if nothing else.

So we must be thoroughly supportive of the good majority and absolutely ruthless with the evil minority.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

I don’t buy this thing about Islam being significantly younger than Christianity. Islam was founded in, I believe, the 7th century. Christianity was not really an ‘organised’ religion and adopted by the Romans until, I think, the third century. And it had barely taken hold in places like Britain and Scandinavia before the foundation of Islam.

So, they have about the same amount of time to throw off their insane beliefs and live according to some form of reason. If it hasn’t happened yet, following developments such as the Enlightenment, democracy, the Industrial Revolution, flying to the moon, the Wombles, all the latest advanced technologies etc, it is never going to happen.

michael.petek
michael.petek
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Go onto Youtube and look up Jay Smith of Pfander Centre. He’s made major breakthroughs in the true origins of Islam.

namelsss me
namelsss me
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Islam founded either by Mohammed (d 632, or 634 if you’re revisionist) or by late-7th-century or early 8th-century caliph (if you’re ultra-revisionist). Christianity in much of Britain from Roman period (tho not A-S England). Not in Scandinavia at all till 9th century at earliest, and not substantially till late 10th-11th.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Don’t forget we only threw off most of ours about 300 years ago, when we finally stopped burning witches/Catholics and so on. Northern Ireland only gave it up 20 years ago or so.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Adrian

Don’t you believe it,”they” are still at it, although rather low key at present.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

If we take Christianity’s start as being the crucifixion of JC, in what we now call AD 33/36, that makes the Prophet & Co some six hundred years behind ‘us’.
In other words they are now really in the year AD 1420, just after ‘we’ had won Agincourt, and the Papacy roasted Jan Huss to death in Constance.
Happy days!

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

I have just read Tom Holland’s most recent book ‘Dominon. How Christianity Shaped The Western Mind’ (it is not a very good book in my opinion – I suffered so that you don’t have to). Anyway, based on that and my pre-existing knowledge I would not say that Christianity really became a religion as such in AD 33/36. Instead, it was an evolving and shifting belief practiced by a very few people, often in isolated communities, for two or three centuries. Even when adopted by the Romans it was not really formalised. And it did not reach much of Europe until two or three centuries after the birth of Islam.

Islam, in contrast, seems to have emerged almost fully formed before spreading very quickly across the ME, North Africa and the Iberian peninsula.

So I stand by my point that in many respects the two religions, in a mass and formal sense, emerged at more or less the same time. Moreover, owing to modern communications etc, there is no longer any excuse for still being in the year AD 1420. As you are blown up of beheaded will you say to yourself ‘That’s OK, they are still in the year 1420’?

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Yes Christianity spread very slowly across the Roman Empire like some malignant virus.

Islam by contrast came vomiting out of the Arabian desert, and conquered a huge empire within twenty years.

Fortunately despite it is initial phenomenal success, Islam gave up
“thinking” in the early 12th century, just as Christianity started to think again.(slowly).

This ‘we’ did the Industrial Revolution, conquered the world, and got to the Moon, whilst Islam stuck its head in the sand, where it resolutely remains.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Islam by contrast came vomiting out of the Arabian desert, and conquered a huge empire within twenty years.

But, but, but Islam only allows fighting in self-defence, doesn’t it?

Red Reynard
Red Reynard
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

The first sura of the Quran is an example of this. It is a short prayer that is repeated by devout Muslims each day and ends with these words:

“Keep us on the right path. The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors. Not (the path) of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray.” (1:6-7)

Muhammad was once asked if these words pertained to Jews and Christians. His response was, “Whom else?” (Bukhari 56:662).

Since Allah makes such a strong distinction between Muslims and those outside the faith, it is only natural that Muslims should incorporate disparate standards of treatment into their daily lives. The Quran tells Muslims to be compassionate with one another but ruthless to the infidel:
“Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves “(48:29)

Allah intends for Muslims to triumph over unbelievers:
“And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way to triumph over believers” (4:141)
The only acceptable position of non-Muslims to Muslims is subjugation under Islamic rule:
“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (9:29) [Jizya is the money that non-Muslims must pay to their Muslim overlords in a pure Islamic state.]

A common criticism of many Muslims is that they often behave arrogantly toward others. Now you know why.

Hosias Kermode
Hosias Kermode
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Why do you not rate “Dominion”?

Mark Shelly
Mark Shelly
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

It was not full of anti-Christian bias.

Hilary Arundale
Hilary Arundale
3 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

I tried to read it. It lacks a good editor

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

If you look at the state of Christianity in the 15th and 16th centuries I would suggest it is comparable with the situation in Islam now. In other words this is the equivalent of the Reformation. It is happening at about the same time in the history of Islam as the Reformation (in England) and the various disturbances across Europe which led to the various types of Protestantism, occurred in Catholicism.

michael harris
michael harris
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

The unhappy possibility, then, is this. Fundamentalist Islam IS the reformed religion

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  michael harris

But so were the Puritans. They came and smashed up the statues and had a civil war about it. Lots of people died. They took a while to calm down. It was probably only the introduction of tea, and biscuits, obviously, that made the English sanguine enough to beat the similarly worked-up French less than a couple of hundred years later.

clem alford
clem alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

I wish the left would study this. https://www.youtube.com/wat

Andrew McCoull
Andrew McCoull
3 years ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

It doesn’t matter how much time passes, the koran will still contain the verses that demonise non-believers and command muslims to jihad to finally establish islam as the only religion on the planet. The words of Christ will still be those of peace, love and forgiveness. Worlds apart.

namelsss me
namelsss me
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McCoull

‘I come not to bring peace, but a sword?’

Albert Kensington
Albert Kensington
3 years ago
Reply to  namelsss me

You honestly think that’s comparable with the many violent verses in the Koran? It’s pretty apparent that Jihad means a violent struggle to destroy infidels, forcibly convert and take over their lands. This “inner struggle” line is bs – the verses tell us that severe punishment awaits “slackers” in jihad. The kind of punishment merited for desertion in war, not neglect of religious observation

namelsss me
namelsss me
3 years ago

The inner struggle line seems to have been developed in 12th-century Spain (Al-Andalus) when the Muslims had started to lose 🙂

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  namelsss me

Yeah, those pesky Christians and their swords.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  namelsss me

I have read somewhere that that is a mistranslation.

opn
opn
3 years ago
Reply to  namelsss me

You might consider the two swords pericope. There is a good study by G. Caspary of UC Berkeley.

Andrew D
Andrew D
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McCoull

Exactly. Christians kill people despite their holy book, while Muslims kill people because of theirs.

robboschester
robboschester
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Actually, that rather depends on which part of the ‘holy book’ you refer to. In both cases.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew McCoull

the koran will still contain the verses that demonise non-believers and command muslims to jihad to finally establish islam

Sometimes I almost wish hate speech laws would get enacted one day, as long as they applied equally to religious texts.

Diana Durham
Diana Durham
3 years ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

But Islam began with Ishmael, one of Abraham’s sons by his servant/handmaiden Hagar. It wasn’t a separate religion at that time, what we now call the Jewish religion was still evolving, Christianity was far in the future. They are all branches of the same evolution, they all worship the same God, but by different names. But the historical evolution in recent times is so different, and there seem to be concepts fundamental to western civilisation in both the Jewish and Christian traditions that are missing in Islamic religion.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Diana Durham

I think that’s the myth. Mohammed made up the religion, based on the Jewish faith, and with a nod to Christianity so that the Arabs would no longer worship rocks. At least no other rock but the Ka’aba. They wove in the bit about Ishmael later. Mind you Abraham was pretty much re-edited for the foundation myth of the original Jewish state when the states of Judah and Israel combined so fair’s fair.

Obviously an angel told Mohammed all this he didn’t just make it up. Why all the angels couldn’t have told every religion the same thing and prevented all this trouble, I’ve no idea. I think Salman Rushdie had ideas about that, and certain people weren’t best pleased, so I won’t have any similar ideas.

alancoles10
alancoles10
3 years ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

Fine ,but when are the good majority going to demonstrate

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago

Is it worth dying for?
Well I guess that’s certainly a question for those that believe that racial and religious harmony can be achieved through accommodation.
“If we’re nice to them they’ll be nice to us”
“It’s not you it’s me”
“The victim should have known better”
These are the sorts of surrender clichés spouted by people, usually decent fair-minded people, that just can’t face the awful truth that there are facets of Islam that are simply not compatible with life in a western liberal democracy.
They are based in the idea that religious law supersedes secular law – always.
This can’t be reconciled with “if/and” horse-trading.
This is strictly ‘either/or’.
I’m not a fan of Macron but he has IMO, responded correctly.
His actual next step should be to not only endorse the continued teaching of the civics class on secularism, but in fact make it mandatory – no sensitivity deferrals.
Would there be an uproar?
No doubt.
But from whom?
Certainly from the fundamentalists, activists and grievance mongers but probably not from the vast majority of Muslims that understand that it is Islam that must accommodate.

clem alford
clem alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

AS long as the Muslims are in a very small minority anywhere they don’t cause too many issues. Once the numbers increase then the problems start and the naive left in exchange for votes, accomodates and pampers them. Look at what happened in Tower Hamlets once they got control of administerative positions. https://www.youtube.com/wat

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

Western leaders are like those of Ancient Rome. Cowardly, stupid, decadent, and corrupt. As a society, we’re divided in two – those who see this, and those who don’t.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

As Professor Wallace-Hadrill noted in this week’s Times, the Decline of the Roman Empire took centuries.
‘We’, however, are moving much faster.

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago

To quote President Erdogan:’There is no ‘radical Islam, only Islam.’
Read the Koran. Try to understand it and then follow the courageous Charb of Charlie Hebdo and fight or die standing rather than live kneeling.
Having lost friends to Islamic terror, I have had enough of this violent ideology and trying to guess which apparently peaceful person will be next to erupt in violent rage.
Be gone Islam!

Dominic Straiton
Dominic Straiton
3 years ago

The religions of Islam and Woke are entirely incompatible with a liberal democracy.

Joe Blow
Joe Blow
3 years ago

His death is a tragedy, and not only for his family (though obviously mostly for them) but for the whole of France, for the civilized world.

Many in the media and government have been cowardly. When islamist thugs call for an image to be banned, the response should be to plaster every media outlet and government building with that image. The outrage at Charlie Hebdo, or the disgrace over the Danish cartoons, should have resulted in the “offending” images becoming ubiquitous. Billboards, TV slots, newspaper front pages, state hospitals – blanket display making them unavoidable.

THAT, not this empty-posturing of “Je suis [next victim]” might make it clear that they cannot win. Except, they are doing.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Where does the freedom of expression end and respect for others’ feelings begin?
Behold the false dilemma.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I think freedom of expression should have no upper limit and as long as it’s just words and isn’t praising or encouraging anything criminal. By the same token, I think respect for other people’s feelings should not be obligatory or pressurised on the grounds of politeness or tolerance. We don’t have to get along with people we don’t like. Subconscious discrimination can’t be removed just by having it unearthed. Stereotyping – whether conscioussly or instinctively, is how we navigate the social and work landscape

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Alka

I quite agree that you ought not to be pressured into respecting other people’s beliefs or points of view. However what I think is required is some cognisance of the other person’s feelings and that they are entitled to hold that belief and that point of view. So I suppose a respect for their personhood.
Also criticism should be welcome on both sides but I do prefer it to be polite because what is the use of a slanging match and just shouting over each other.
I’m, for similar reasons, less fond of “debate” which seems to be all about saying what you think and sticking to it no matter what. Gets you nowhere when both sides expect the other to change their minds as they already know who is right.
I much prefer dialogue. This is where both sides actually listen to what the other side says and are prepared to shift a bit here and there if it makes sense. I think it can lead to compromise, accommodation and an ability to rub along.
Motherhood and apple pie over.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago
Reply to  Go Away Please

I’m with you 100% on how “debate” (as opposed to dialogue or conversation) doesn’t bring together opposing factions who have dug too far down into their beliefs. I think it’s identity politics, where people have self-segmented themselves to such a degree that they don’t even get to first base in listening, let alone considering, an alternative way of looking at things.

The cognisance to which you refer ought at the very least to extend to an attitude of “live and let live”. But it has to be a 2-way street. And that’s the rub. For my part, such cognisance doesn’t even get to first base when it’s a case of Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking on my door, without me responding that I don’t want to talk to people who would rather let their child die than permit a live-saving blood transfusion . Similarly someone in my village invited me (a newcomer) to attend his alpha group of evangelicals and I just had to reply that “I prefer to get my spiritual fix direct from the manufacture”. I refrained from saying “wholesale! in case he was antisemitic! I haven’t the courage or suicidal stupidity to even think about trying to respond to a Muslim who thinks Sharia Law should be be incorporated into English or French law (the UK and France are already stuck with 25-30% of Muslims who think that way).

Basically, when people wear their religion on their sleeve I can’t have respect – at best I can only fake it and just hope they can find something to talk about without slipping in their “commercial”. If the opportunity arises I would rather just entertain them with arecord of Tom Lehrer’s Vatican Rag or National Brotherhood Week

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Alka

Yes, it has to be 2 way. But when no-one is listening to anyone else the only way this will begin is if one party says “okay, I’ll take a deep breath and listen to this person” and in the cases you mention it would be the Jehovah’s Witness or the Muslim wishing Sharia Law to be respected.

But I think you are saying your mind is already made up and you cannot respect such people. You can only fake it. So, as a result, you will stay on your side of the argument and they will stay on theirs and we haven’t really had a dialogue at all.

It’s the way of the world. Most people will not step back even a bit from their own points of view. Their minds are already made up. There are two examples in world politics where dialogue actually changed things. In both cases this was called “truth and reconciliation”. It happened during the Northern Ireland peace talks and also in South Africa with Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago
Reply to  Go Away Please

There are many bad reasons why one’s mind is made up. Stupidity. Ignorance. Fanaticism. Character or personality or psychiatric defects. But what about where one’s mind is made up based on unarguable, unquestionable fact? Is one still expected to debate the matter and end up saying something like “we shall have to agree to differ”. Are you saying I must listen respectfully and open-mindedly to the argument about

A Muslim husband’s right to stone his wife if she was unfaithul or wanted to work?

A JW’s refusal to permit a blood transfusion to save a child’s life

The Third Reich argument for mass extermination of Jews, Gypsies and Homosexuals

Forbidding abortion of an unborn child with an incurable and seriously debilitating mental or physical defect?

Forbidding me to poison pigeons?

And so on

It’s nice when a difference of opinion can lead to a happy ending or at least a truce. But some differences are morally or practically irreconcilable and if you become rigid about exploring common ground between complete polar opposites of good vs evil, sane vs insane, possible vs impossible you slow down civilisation to the point where it grinds to a halt.

If you refuse to recognise all of that then you’re wrong!!!

Go Away Please
Go Away Please
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Alka

Many thanks for replying Rob. We are at least having a dialogue. Not a debate I hope because as we have, I think agreed, a debate is where we state our opinions and expect others to agree with them.

I don’t think in your instance as an individual I would insist you had to listen to anyone if you chose not to. I would think your choice a missed opportunity, but I would respect your choice.

All I would say is that in matters concerning human beings there are few unarguable and unquestionable facts, unlike in, say, science. There are always opinions, some strong, others less so.

The examples you give:

*I’ve no idea about poisoning pigeons. On the face of it, I’d go along with you, but someone might persuade us it’s not so black and white if we saw fit to talk to them.
*Aborting a child with serious defects. There are pros and cons. I’m likely on your side, but I’ve heard arguments against and it makes me far less black and white on the matter.
* JW. They have their principals. The value put on a life versus belief is different to others. Well worth hearing their arguments first before disagreeing though.
* mass exterminations. Pure evil. Difficult one. But in order to avoid that pure evil if you had a choice to find a way to stop it or to prevent any more of it (South Africa, Northern Ireland) that wasn’t full blooded war would you not first at least try? Appeasement (where you give in entirely without a fight is not what I mean). Of course, we only found out about the full horror of the Nazi atrocities after the event so neither debate nor dialogue were on the cards in this particular circumstance.
Not so long ago, I read an account that said we should never have gone to war against Hitler at all. I was horrified, but read the account anyway. It certainly made me think.
* like you, I’m hugely disturbed at the stoning of anyone. However it has happened throughout history and not just by upset Muslim husbands. If said Muslim husband would have a dialogue with me, I would be willing to listen as I do not understand his actions nor his thinking. I may even be able to persuade him to my point of view …. something that cannot be done without engaging with him. Of course, he may refuse to engage with me …. You yourself said right at the beginning that it has to be two-way. Something I totally agreed with.

I perhaps haven’t been clear in how I have worded earlier posts. A dialogue does not mean you will capitulate. It might make you even more sure of your position. It might mean a better understanding of the other and might lead to compromise and avoidance of violence and destruction. Or it might not.

Jeff Chambers
Jeff Chambers
3 years ago

a collision between the murderous certainties of fundamentalist Islam

The problem with this kind of analysis is that there is no “fundamentalist Islam” – there is true Islam and there is false Islam. True Islam is living by the inerrant word of God contained in the Islamic holy texts. The murderer of Samuel Paty was adhering to those texts when he carried out his religious murder of an “infidel”. No amount appeasement or accommodation will enable us to get round this fact and preserve our culture and its freedoms. This means that these murders will not stop in the West until the Muslims are removed from the West.

namelsss me
namelsss me
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Chambers

More accurately, there is no ‘true Islam’ and ‘false Islam’. There is only ‘oily Islam’ and ‘non-oily Islams’.The oily kind is the one that subsidizes extremism. The climate-change deniers have much to answer for: if the ‘western’ world had started to come off oil seriously in the 1980s, the Islamist problem here would be much less widespread now.

alancoles10
alancoles10
3 years ago
Reply to  namelsss me

OH THAT,S GREAT WE CAN PUT IT DOWN TO GLOBAL WARMI8NG THEN.I dont know about nameless seems more like brainless to me

Julie S
Julie S
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Chambers

This got me thinking that immigrants of the Muslim faith who come to
the U.S. and believe in Sharia law over U.S. law (or any other
religiously free country); they are not seeking religious freedom,
right? Religious freedom here in the U.S., I believe to mean your right
to your personal expression of your faith, not your right to take over
everyone else’s religious freedom to force them to your beliefs. This
alone should cause serious concern as this is a planned attempt to take
over the governments of any country this group comes to.

Many of these people already live somewhere they can freely practice their
faith, stay there or go somewhere already practicing Sharia law.
Personally I see nothing wrong with disallowing entry to people who come
with the intent to take away this freedom. In fact, it seems that
should be the duty of those who are in roles to give entry. Protect and
serve.

Eddie Chad’s comment, “…proves to many Muslims the West has completely lost its way and is ripe for plucking.” Yep, the political correctness police,
backed by big tech censorship and “fact checkers,” have shown we are all
weak and will allow this to come to our countries.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Julie S

They are not seeking religious freedom. They are economic migrants. The vast majority of Muslims who came here from the lower classes who would be labourers or servants in their own country. Hence the lack of fluent English, fundamentalist religious beliefs and the ubiquitous hijab and variations thereon. There are exceptions of course but they are the exception.

Julie S
Julie S
3 years ago
Reply to  Giulia Khawaja

That makes sense. Possibly poorly educated too. Not realizing that it is their culture and religious beliefs that are the cause of their class. Definitely more to understand on this situation.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Julie S

poor => angry

angry=> poor

The viciousness is in the cycle.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago

“Roshan M Salih @RmSalih Oct 17 #CharlieHebdo must be shut down immediately by French authorities. This racist, Islamophobic rag …. are literally crying fire in a crowded theatre. Freedom of speech isn’t worth civil war”.

There we see the two problem:
1) The threat that exercising freedom of speech will ingnite civil war (he means us non-Muslim free speechers versus his Muslim anti-free-speechers
2) The presumption that the crowded theatre is filled with Muslims

moveover33333
moveover33333
3 years ago

I dislike this type of ‘on the one hand this and the other hand that’ type of painfully ‘reasonable’ article. It is tiresome to describe the two extreme responses to a particular issue and then predictably opine that the response that is in the middle is the proper course.
No, sometimes one of the extreme responses is the correct one. And the instant problem is one that does justify an extreme reaction.
Mr. Lichfield makes the typical liberal claim that the great majority of Muslims are not radical. The facts say different. Pew Research found that well over 60% of Muslims wanted to impose Sharia law in the countries where they lived. An alarming percentage also found suicide bombings of civilians to be justified.
The fact of the matter is that Islam is reflective of a medieval mindset that is simply incompatible with Western values. And given their prodigious birthrates, we better nip it in the bud pronto, unless we want to kiss Western civilization goodbye.

Eddie Chad
Eddie Chad
3 years ago

The West is so decadent it is a breeding ground for Islamism – the trans gender “self identify as a woman whilst growing a beard” nonsense proves to many Muslims the West has completely lost its way and is ripe for plucking. Only a real revival of Christianity, the foundation of Western Civilisation, has any hope whatsoever of defeating Islam.

Adrian
Adrian
3 years ago
Reply to  Eddie Chad

Christianity is not the foundation of western civilisation.

Greek thought was, and still is.
Everything else is just barbarism.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago

Is France’s secularism worth dying for? Yes; but not as a stand-alone issue in favour of secularism ” rather, such kind of secularism should be seen partly as a protector of free speech and belief for all.

So I tend to agree with those here who identify that the very nature of Islam raises fundamental problems that work against harmony with Western culture. Mr Lichfield has identified several of them in this well-thought-out article. But I am persuaded that, until there is a general acceptance that these fundamentals are indeed profound, and that they must be confronted, incidents such as this one in Conflans-Saint Honorine, will continue. Above all, they cannot be placated.

1) Unlike most Western cultures, influenced by the principles of Christianity and Western Classical Liberalism, Islam recognises no distinction between the sacred and the secular. That non-distinction is, if necessary, to be imposed by coercion.

2) Of course, there have been times and places where ostensibly Christian cultures have attempted to create, via coercion subtle or obvious, the same lack of distinction between sacred and secular. I think of aspects of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Spain; some city-states of Italy around the same time; other attempts to create state cultures ruled directly by religious authorities, as happened in some Balkan states before World War II; and in Ireland (where I spent most of my life) from the 1930s to the 1970s.
But all of these fell or decayed fairly quickly, sometimes under pressure from external forces, and sometimes from reforms within the country’s religious culture.

3) The frequent claims that Islam requires a Reformation, comparable to the Christian Reformations of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, or those I’ve mentioned in 2) above, miss a fundamental difference between Islam and Christianity ” the status and natures of their principal holy texts.
From the earliest centuries to the present, reformations within Christianity have tended to be driven by a return to the values and practices preached by the Bible ” reforms of the papacy in the 4th”“6th centuries, the rise of the Franciscans in the 13th century, the development of Protestantism in its multifarious forms, and the reformations sparked by innumerable evangelists from John Wesley to Billy Graham. Love them or leave any of these, it remains unquestionable that they draw on the nature and message of the Christian scriptures to bring about change. So, “Back to the Bible” has always been a clarion cry for those who, finding that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has become polluted by worldly values and precepts, wish for a restoration. (Arguments against the Bible because it condones slavery, stoning, and other such things, misunderstand the nature and function of Christian scripture.)
However, for reasons that, I hope, do not need to be spelled out here, any comparable reform within Islam must do the precise opposite, and move away from its primary text the Koran. This means moving away from the Koran’s nature and function as an authority over life ” utterly different from the Bible’s kind of authority. Where the Bible speaks primarily of relationship with God, revealed through history and growing the human heart, the Koran speaks of submission.

Such differences are so profound that they can be addressed only by confronting those forces that produce the extremism described here. Mr Macron’s proposals would not work in the UK; but within the French concept of laïcité, they strike me as expressing the right kind of muscularity.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
3 years ago

The issue for me is that most of the human race, past and present and future, prefer to live in a fantasy world created by a superhuman being. There is no evidence to support this and it is impossible to have a rational discussion with anybody who believes in a creator god.

clem alford
clem alford
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Especially with Islam and flying hores!! https://www.youtube.com/wat

David George
David George
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Alan, I believe you’ll find it easier to understand God simply as underlying, non material, incorruptible reality rather than as a being. Some people find that reality easier to understand by personifying God.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Surely it says something that most of the human race since prehistory find something useful in what you see as mere fantasy. A ” fantasy” which has inspired great music, art and philosophy.

m_zehr
m_zehr
3 years ago

‘Is France’s secularism worth dying for?’ Doesn’t appear as if there is any choice no matter what they do. I would suggest that the French people recognize that. C’est la guerre.

Stanley Beardshall
Stanley Beardshall
3 years ago

I have lived in France for the last 30 years. Most people in my village detest “Arabes”, but, when questioned, admit to having never known a Muslim. They may not be typical as our area is very rural and far from any city, and my friends in Paris are less bigoted; however I hear such opinions with the same sense of repugnance as when I hear the deluded beliefs of religious folk. Macron is not my favourite politician but his conviction that it should be a criminal offence to teach religion to a child has my approval – just extend it to all sects.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Try extending a ban on teaching Islam to children and see how far you get.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago

That would mean that the white children would know nothing of Christianity but the Muslims would be well versed in Islam. Not a a good situation.

Simon Stephenson
Simon Stephenson
3 years ago

“Charlie Hebdo is religiophobic.”

Really? Surely the suffix “phobic” means “having an irrational fear of”, and unless this has been changed to “displaying a lack of the widely-expected respect and deference towards” it is hard to see how Charlie Hebdo can be said to have a phobia in relation to religion.

Mark Shelly
Mark Shelly
3 years ago

I agree. The same with homophobia it is not a phobia unless phobia means “displaying a lack of the widely-expected respect and deference towards mental illness and Paraphilia”

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago

I’m don’t believe the question of continuation or abandonment of secularism is relevant. I don’t believe building a place of worship converts or upholds islam as a religion, any more than it would the Ku Klux Klan. The fact that some Muslims will respond to the call of prayer and others not bother is regrettably not a reliable means of discrimination between a Muslim who is a danger to a christian or secular society and another who has assimilated well with society, or moderately engaged or has a live-&-let-live attitude, or at the very least, is harmless and does not seek any parts of Sharia Law to be included in the laws of his host nation.

I believe the Muslim problem is Genetic or Upbringing (Nature vs Nurture). Or maybe it’s something else, related to Cultural or Societal outlook or lifestyle or self-identity. What I believe even more strongly is “who gives a damn on the root cause?”. We can’t transplant heads, let alone warped personalities. France gave up de-radicalisation years ago, realising it was a total loss. Britain carried with de-radicalisation, if for no other reason than being able to reinforce our world beating talent for incompetence.

Obviously it’s too late for us to become Chinese even if we wanted to. We still worship democracy to the point that we hesitate to use extra-advanced surveillance techniques in harness with a better controlling balance of government authority versus individual freedom. That’s our handicap which stops us tackling the deliberate or inevitable Rise of Islam throughout the world generally and the West specifically.

But surely the least Britain can do is shoot holes in the dinghies of illegal swarms of migrants arriving on our shores or, if we want to be a tad less beastly, put them into very utility processing centres where they will last indefinitely even after it’s been burnt to the ground like in Greece “Š”Š unless they would like a free dinghy to risk their lives (including any they’ve procreated in the processing centre) heading back to mainland Europe”Š.. we will inject them with a miniature tracker just in case they change their minds mid-channel. In any event don’t confiscate their mobile phones; let them phone or text their family and friends to warn that Britain ain’t so great as expected.

It’s a terrible thing to have to do this. But when people continually defecate on their country’s doorstep it makes no moral sense that they should feel entitled to move on to defecate on some other country’s doorstep.

aelf
aelf
3 years ago

Is France’s secularism worth dying for?

If the alternative is turning France into a caliphate, yes.

clem alford
clem alford
3 years ago

Islam has a long history of invasion. It got to Spain before being driven out and to the gates of Vienna. Where ever it has gone it has brought disaster civilization wise. Millions, literaly, were killed in India. The so called medeival plagerised religion of peace is full of hatred and violence. Read the Koran and Hadith. It is there for all to read. Md. was an Arab pedophile warlord who took and owned and traded slaves, black slaves and took sex slaves as part of his war booty. Apostates are to be killed as are gays, Kafir unbelievers who will not ‘submit’ and women hold only second place in Islam and to be stoned to death for adultery. What kind of a religion is that and now a civilizational war is happening right in Europe’s back yard with fundamentalistrs demanding Sharia and ‘killing’ free speech and questioning. How many more deaths will it take to realize that Islam is the cause?

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago

I don’t believe the question of continuation or abandonment of secularism is relevant. I don’t believe building a place of worship converts or upholds Islam as a religion, any more than it should the Ku Klux Klan. The fact that some Muslims will respond to the call of prayer and others not bother is regrettably not a reliable means of discrimination between a Muslim who is a danger to a christian or secular society and another who has assimilated well into society, or moderately engaged, or has a live-&-let-live attitude, or at the very least, is harmless and does not seek that any part of Sharia Law be included in the laws of his host nation. The awful thing is that we can’t tell them apart. The deadly ones don’t wear a skull & crossbones tattoo on their forehead. I believe the Muslim problem is deep-seated. It could be traced to Genetics or Upbringing (Nature vs Nurture). Or maybe it’s something else, post-nurture, related to Cultural or Social pressures, lifestyle or self-identity. Then again, who gives a damn about the root cause?. We can’t transplant heads, let alone warped personalities. France gave up de-radicalisation years ago, realising it was a total loss. Britain carried with de-radicalisation, if for no other reason than being able to reinforce our world beating status for incompetence. Eventually we might understand why beastly China is being beastly to the Uigurs before they become out-of-control in that familiar deadly exponential coronavirus-ish sort of way.

Obviously it’s too late for us to become Chinese even if we wanted to. We still worship democracy to the point that we have difficulty stomaching the idea of using advance surveillance techniques in harness with a better controlling balance of government authority versus individual freedom. That’s our handicap which stops us tackling the deliberate or inevitable Rise of Islam throughout the world generally and the West specifically.

But surely the least Britain can do is shoot holes in the dinghies of illegal swarms of migrants arriving on our shores or, if we want to be a tad less beastly, put them into very utility processing centres where they will last indefinitely even after it’s been burnt to the ground like in Greece “Š”Š unless they would like a free dinghy to risk their lives (including any they’ve procreated in the processing centre) heading back to mainland Europe”Š.. we will inject them with a miniature tracker just in case they change their minds mid-channel. In any event don’t confiscate their mobile phones; let them phone or text their family and friends to warn that Britain ain’t so great as expected.

It’s a terrible thing to have to do this. But when people continually defecate on their country’s doorstep it makes no moral sense that they should feel entitled to move on to defecate on some other country’s doorstep.

Hilary Arundale
Hilary Arundale
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Alka

You are saying some rather terrible things. Are you being ironic?

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago

I plead guilty to being, if not ironic, then probably tasteless. But for better or worse my attitudes are genuine. Islam no longer deserve to be treated and respected as a religion. Nor do Jehova Witnesses but there are hardly any of them and apart from letting their children die rather than have a blood transfusion they at leasts don’t want to bomb or chop off heads heads of ordinary people. But Islam wants its values and beliefs to prevail globally and it views Western democracy as the softest option to get their show on the road. We can’t tell which is the manic or murderous Muslim who sees us as infidels to exterminate and which is the Muslim who has just wants live in peace and contentment in Western society and, if not contribute, at least not freeload. Therefore we must repel those trying to land on the shores of our already overcrowded country. I confess to feeling pretty much the same way about mosquitoes and pigeons! If pigeons didn’t give me the creeps I’d be delighted to follow in the footsteps of Tom Lehrer and poison them in the park.

Mark Shelly
Mark Shelly
3 years ago

Ah Charlie Hebro. I remember the cover with Jesus, with an amulet sicking out of his bum, sodomising God. Nobody died for it. It is also strange that France is positioning itself has a bastion of tolerance and free speech. It has some of the most draconian censorship laws in Europe – religion is just not covered. Well, except Judaism in some cases.

Jim Cooper
Jim Cooper
3 years ago

Islam and secularism are TWO WORLD SYSTEMS which are in even greater contrast to the two world systems of Galileo and Aristotle. Aristotle lost the fight just as secularism will lose it if liberalism doesn’t wake up and start defending itself…one difference being that it was ideas which defeated Aristotle and it will be serrated knives which defeat us…it’s today’s liberals who are the SIMPLICIO’S in the dialogue

Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
3 years ago

The most frightening place to beright now must be to be a muslim who speaks out…which tells you a lot.

It seems many in the little prosperous former village, now leafy suburb were able to whip up a real storm that created the moment and justification for this crazy person to strike; which also says a lot .

This type of targeted atrocity likely wouldn’t happen in many of the big HLM Banlieus because no teacher there, or anyone else, would ever dream of saying anything like M Paty did as the expectation would be that they would go the same way.

That is a really bad place to be.

I don’t think enough to say the vast majority of Muslims are not like these people and would never condone these things, we seem to have been saying that for decades, and while it is true, and necessary to say it,; it is not sufficient, nowhere near.

I do think there needs to be a concerted effort by Muslims themselves to create something like political parties that unequivocally speak against this kind of medieval mind set, and actively seek alliances and common ground with other political parties, to give some kind of idea what a non-expansionist, co-operative Islamic reality might look like.

Absent that we have no real or consistent image of any sort of progressive Muslim movement to countervail the whole anti-west, anti-enlightment, anti-women etc narrative becoming ever more concretised.

If that continues then we are all going to end up in a really bad place.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago

their own destructive misreading of Islam

Pffft.

Islam is the only unashamedly racist major religion, for a start. Imposing Islam all over the world is a central tenet of the religion. Islam contains explicit rewards for people killing in its name.

Chuck Burns
Chuck Burns
3 years ago

The religion of peace dominates and subjugates its followers and kills those who choose to believe something other than the so called teachings of Mohammed. Islam, the most intolerant, barbaric, and violent cult. There is no place for the religion of peace and its cult followers in a tolerant peaceful civilized world. Go back to your Islamic world of intolerance to enjoy the tyranny of Mohammed. We will not miss you, your culture, or your religion of peace.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago

Yet again, a long comment on which I worked hard, has been deleted “Marked as Spam”. This was after it received several upticks. It was long, and it expressed some strong views. But it was neither spam nor provocative.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Martin Adams

The comment has been restored, after I raised it with the UnHerd team. I thank them for that.
The comment can be read below.
The reply assured me the removal was not done by the team. Comments are marked as spam when enough complaints are received from the community. It is then taken offline to be reviewed.
That’s understandable; but it does raise the issue of whether members of the UnHerd community are engaging in censorship ” in this case censorship of an argument that struck at the fundamental religious and cultural incompatibility of Islam and Christianity.

Stu White
Stu White
3 years ago

My guess is it will come to a fight in the end. Probably less damaging if sooner rather than later

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago

Like with pigeons and seagulls stage 1 is when most of us have learned to stop feeding them deliberately or accidentally, and certainly not rescue them . Stage 2 is when we eventually realise we also will need to cull them and we are gradually wising up to that Stage 3 is when we realise we need to kill them – and unlike with certain species that keep nature in balanced harmony, I can’t think of a single reason why the complete eradication of devout Muslims, mosquitoes and Japanese Notweed from this planet can be anything but beneficial (yes, I know – “which are the devout or fanatical ones” – so best not to lean too heavily on giving the benefit of the doubt). At that stage we can then get rid of the stupider bits of democracy without going all beastly Chinese or bonkers American and finally learn not to interpret literally Tom Lehrer’s song National Brotherhood Week.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago

“We should cling to the principles of tolerance and freedom”

Would the writer mind terribly if I make a few exceptions to extending my tolerance and support of freedom? For example, pigeons. Seagulls. Muslims who are in favour British Law being extended to Sharia Law.

Seriously though, anyone who responds to the call for prayer to sit on a mat pointing to Mecca and choosing to respect and apply the teachings of the Koran to the fabric of society in his non-Muslim host country should at the very least be under surveillance for a very long time and if he has just arrived in a dinghy on our shores he should row back from whence he came or stay for an indefinite period in an English processing centre and be warned that in the event that he makes any woman in the processsing centre pregnant he will undergo a compulsory vasectomy.

Tad Pringle
Tad Pringle
3 years ago

This article has the familiar stink of disinformation. Two examples: exclusively using “ize” and “ist” to deflect away from lovely, cuddly peaceful Islam, all capped off the the classic “…misreading of the Koran” canard. The writer is a “useful idiot”

Sidney Falco
Sidney Falco
3 years ago

“Most of France’s muslims are French and French born.”

France had been in Algeria for 130 years so multiple generations had been born and raised there but it didn’t stop them being thrown out by the muslims – and few if any french intellectuals (and certainly not the type who wrote for a lefty rag like The Independent for decades) thought they had some divine right to stay there for ever.
I don’t see what makes the situation of the muslims in France any different. France has the ultimate right of sovereignty – or it would have if it freed itself from the shackles of Maastricht – to throw out any and everyone it sees fit.

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
3 years ago

‘a collision between the murderous certainties of fundamentalist Islam’. Stop pretending that there are two Islams. There are not. Wahhabism and Salafism are pure versions of Islam which reject the Hadith and only accept the Koran. How are they extremists or ‘fundamentalists’? They are people who accept the core of Islam and nothing else. I’d call that person ‘a Muslim’.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew Baldwin
3 years ago

When will UnHerd be publishing the cartoons that caused M. Paty’s martyrdom?

Dorota Retelska
Dorota Retelska
3 years ago

Last week, an Islamist attacked and killed people praying in a church in Nice. Last week, muslims around Paris made a call to attack Chinese and some Asians were assaulted. I am afraid that the point is not only France secularism, but safety of everybody in France.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 years ago

This made me wonder how many muslims are today in the Uk . According to the ONS in 2018 3.3m
https://www.ons.gov.uk/abou

clem alford
clem alford
3 years ago

True nature of Islam. https://www.youtube.com/wat

Dorota Retelska
Dorota Retelska
3 years ago

They don’t fight only secularism, they also fight our western civilization and culture, christian religion, jews, human rights, wellbeing. Women are mistreated, so desperate women raise mistreated children that might be dysfunctional from the start. I suggested that every family gets a leaflet detailing how children should be treated, so they remember our laws…

Peter Lockyer
Peter Lockyer
3 years ago

Who are ‘they’?

Dorota Retelska
Dorota Retelska
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Lockyer

Radical muslims that want to introduce muslim laws everywhere

Peter Lockyer
Peter Lockyer
3 years ago

What happened to Samuel Paty was horrific and unforgiveable. The killer appears to have got his just deserts. However, I do think he was unwise to share such blatantly insulting cartoons in a school class room. The cartoons in question are readily available on the web, and one shows a figure of ‘the prophet’ with exposed genitalia and a star on his behind. I personally can’t think what possessed an experienced teacher to show such material in class. I taught RE for some years at secondary level, and the issue of terrorism and freedom of speech regularly came up. But I would never have brought such materials into the classroom out of respect to the lovely and hardworking Muslim kids in my classes. I think if I had, I would have rightly been hauled up in front of the Head and asked what on earth I was doing.

Lord Rochester
Lord Rochester
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Lockyer

That’s because you taught in the UK, I presume.
France is different. He was teaching Civics and there is no RE/RMPS in French state schools; religious sensitivity doesn’t therefore have the same kind of cultural weight or requirement for tiptoeing that RE/RMPS insists upon in UK curricula.

Terry M
Terry M
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter Lockyer

“I think if I had, I would have rightly been hauled up in front of the Head and asked what on earth I was doing.”

And that might be a reasonable outcome – advice to use discretion and sensitivity since such subjects should be taught at a later age. But that is not what is happening. Insane murderous religious Islamic fanatics strike out at innocent people.

France appears to be handling this well. Evaluate the murderer’s close contacts and punish any who egged him on or provided the victim’s particulars.

Hosias Kermode
Hosias Kermode
3 years ago

Terrific piece. Made me understand what has happened much more clearly. Thank you

Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson
3 years ago

I can think of two necessary conditions for suicidal terrorism: religious certainty and tribalism (aka identity politics). Why would you sacrifice your life without the former, or become offended without the latter? (I’d have thought the more you believe your god is all powerful, the less likely you’d be offended on his/her/its behalf.)

But these conditions aren’t sufficient, since there are many Evangelical Christians, Hasidic Jews or even Salafi Muslims, to name but a few, who don’t even sympathise with terrorism.

So there appear to be two ways to combat this phenomenon:

– Identify the other necessary conditions, the absence of which keeps those other groups from violence, and try to reinforce them.

– Fight the battle of ideas against both tribalism and deism (bearing in mind not to foment one while fighting the other).

For example, ask children to come up with and debate which fundamental rights we should have in a good society, so they think of these ideas as universal, not tribal. And help them to discover maths and science, rather then ‘teaching’ them these fields.

Giulia Khawaja
Giulia Khawaja
3 years ago
Reply to  Samuel Johnson

Letting children ” discover” science sounds like a recipe for homemade explosions, we have had more than enough of those .

Simon Jones
Simon Jones
3 years ago

‘the state owns all the churches and rents them to ‘The Church”. Nobody sees anything wrong with this?

Patrick Chevallereau
Patrick Chevallereau
3 years ago

Congratulations, John Lichfield: viewed from France, you perfectly captured the issue. And coming back to your final words, “complexity” must not be an excuse for not acting.

Eduardo Guzman
Eduardo Guzman
3 years ago

Charlie Hebdo is religiophobic. It is also frequently crude and unfunny ” and in French law and according to the French cultural tradition, it has the right to be so.

That is precisely the problem, a bit like the Koran revealing that “Giving alms is a better investment than lending”. Like the Lord’s Prayer not long ago bowdlerized, after twenty centuries and the assassination of John Paul I (see ‘In God’s name’): “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those of our debtors”, where it started to speak about ‘trespasses’. This system’s trouble wirh religion will never end until the swamp is effectively drained. The conversion of the Papacy has not sufficed: the puppeteers of Macron and his ilk will need to convert too many priests, Imams, rabis and innumerable other believers. In the meantime, they will have to kill or otherwise shut the mouths of those in the know of what’s going on here like they were quick to kill that stupid Chechen (or his like in Boston not long ago), so as to protect the faith of the TV viewing herd.

Tom Hawk
Tom Hawk
3 years ago

This cartoon (if it opens) sums up the problem

https://i.imgur.com/1LCJcrT….

Tom Hawk
Tom Hawk
3 years ago

Ths cartoon illustrates the issue..

https://i.imgur.com/1LCJcrT

G Harris
G Harris
3 years ago

No religion can be treated as a special case in modern secular, democratic states, particularly if that treatment is essentially driven by the fear of violent consequences seemingly almost unique to that belief system, however widespread.

ALL religions should be accommodated for on the proviso that they ALL accept the fundamental and overriding principles of democracy, free speech and the rule of law, regardless of what superstitions they follow or what fairytales they might variously choose to believe.

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago

If memory serves the Charlie Hebdo cartoon (Mohammed posed for sodomy) that provoked the murderous response 5 years ago was “hebertiste”, intended to provoke optimal ferocity. Had it thus depicted Rabbi So-nso would the authors have been celebrated?

And for all the pious baloney re republican secular tolerance Is this not, after all, the fruit of a long and continuing history of vicious imperialism?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  robert scheetz

Charlie Hebdo mocks all religions. I don’t find its somewhat childish and scatalogical humour to be particularly funny, but it certainly has a right to attack all religions equally, because the all deserve it.

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Religion is the primal source of one’s cultural genome. You’d as well mock my parent in such a manner and expect impunity.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  robert scheetz

Using a clever phrase like “cultural genome” does nothing to mask the fact that religion – unlike your genes – is a choice, like following any other ideology is a choice.

In Islamic countries rejecting Islam is a harder choice than in the west, of course, but that’s only because Islam’s teachings are so intolerant and vicious – which is all the more reason to reject it.

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago
Reply to  Pete Kreff

You can reject your parents, …at the cost of psychic suicide. And even then you still carry their genes.

Rejecting Hellenic Christianity means disowning practically the entire cultural heritage, …Paul, Augustine, Dante, Giotto, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Michelangelo, Bach, …., leaving one a spiritual cipher with a shallow and trivial egoism.

This is indeed what has obtained in these times, but it signifies the death of the West. Charlie Hebdo doesn’t signify toleration, but, rejection. And the law, here anyway, recognizes “fighting words”.

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  robert scheetz

the fruit of a long and continuing history of vicious imperialism?

Yes, Islamic imperialism.

Derek M
Derek M
3 years ago
Reply to  robert scheetz

If they had depicted a rabbi they wouldn’t have been murdered by fanatical Jews, likewise with Jesus and Christians

robert scheetz
robert scheetz
3 years ago
Reply to  Derek M

Right, they would have been arrested for a hate crime, tried and jailed. Whereas muslims are fair game for even the most vicious hate crime.

Ray Thomson
Ray Thomson
3 years ago

Hard to disagree with any part of Mr Lichfield’s evaluation. The obvious takeaway is that the British Home Secretary and other prominent Ministers of the Johnson administration, would do well to curb their enthusiasm for publicly targetting and defining members of certain professions – teachers, lawyers, judges and, most recently, Archbishops, have all been named – as ‘enemies’ of Tory policies. Otherwise, I fear there’s a real and present danger that, in the permissive environment generated by such behaviour, disgruntled individuals with far-right leanings, may well be groomed into taking matters into their own hands.

David Bell
David Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  Ray Thomson

We had to have one who was going to raise the “far right” as the boggy man. This has nothing to do with the far right and everything to do with Islam’s intolerance!

clem alford
clem alford
3 years ago
Reply to  David Bell

Absolutely.

namelsss me
namelsss me
3 years ago
Reply to  Ray Thomson

I thought they already did – remember Jo Cox?

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  namelsss me

It was just one guy. There isn’t really an organized group behind such attacks.