On 16th October 2020, a French teacher was killed. The teacher showed Charlie Hebdo’s controversial cartoons. Those cartoons were based on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and disrespected the Prophet in the most hideous way imaginable.
The murder of the teacher-led to the increase of Islamophobia in France. Islamophobes had a free opportunity to speak against Islam and Muslims. They expressed their hatred by supporting the cartoons. And the one who was leading the exponential rise was the President of France himself. Emmanuel Macron said that he wishes to eradicate Islam and its followers by imposing more strict laws. He said so to save his own political career and regime. He used Islamophobia as his foremost tool.
Why did the French President use Islamophobia to promote his political reign
The street protests in 2018
Ever since 2018, there has been an ongoing social crisis. The public has expressed their opinions in the form of several protests. Specifically, street protests took place. People came out on the roads. The purpose was to let the government know that their social policies weren’t doing any good. That they were extremely unhappy with how the government was working.
And the public was right. The protests weren’t meaningless.
The policies that the government was developing all had some major flaws. They kept failing almost consistently. The government created the policies but had no clue as to how they should be handled.
The leaders were completely oblivious about the management of the laws and as a result, the country was suffering.
The faltering state of the country in 2019
More affirmation of policies was made. And just like before, these policies were also incompetent and were of no use to the public. The demonstrations included the price of fuel which rose significantly. This was hard on the people as the rate of inflation was already high.
Unemployment is one of the many problems that French citizens were facing. There were almost no jobs for the people who were looking for them which led to more economic issues individually.
Police violence was already a rising matter. It’s not like racism wasn’t a thing before the President openly decided to be islamophobic.
Once when the President was asked about police brutality against minorities in France, he said that French people shouldn’t talk about police violence. It’s not permitted under the state of law. Their words are unacceptable.
If we talk about the statistics and research done on this topic, it can be evidently seen that ethnic killing is something that happens frequently. Minorities are at risk of being victims of police ferocity more than white people.
Everything listed above affected the success of Macron a lot more than he initially thought.
When the pandemic hit globally, every country was touched by it. The way the government handled the pandemic was certainly not ideal.
This crisis did not help his era. After the elections held in June, which were municipal in nature, he was subjected to failure once again. The Greens movement took precedence which endangered his government even more than before.
Now, he doesn’t have much time left to gain the trust and confidence of the people. That is because the presidential election is set to happen in 2022, precisely in April.
He has made many mistakes already and the reaction hasn’t been favourable. Now he can’t afford to make any more errors.
What he needs now is to get a grip on his already fading government.
And just how can he do that?
France is a country mostly filled with right-wing supporters. Majority of the population is narrow-minded and don’t support any liberal agendas or progress.
So, he used hate-speech to win the next election. If he said something against Islam, he would gain the attention of islamophobes. As a consequence, he would gain their long-lasting support and ultimately their votes for the next election.
When Samuel Paty, the islamophobic teacher was murdered, the French president took that moment as a chance to make an effort to stay in power.
What did Emmanuel Macron say?
The French President and his interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, met several other leaders at the Élysée Palace.
The La Parisien reported,
“Two principles will be inscribed in black and white: the rejection of political Islam and any foreign interference.”
The President said that he will declare new and updated measures. In his words, he will handle ‘Islamic separatism’ in France.
The actions that he said he will take include the following:
Home Schooling restrictions:
He said he will force strict restrictions on homeschooling. In a pandemic where people are advised to stay in their homes by medical professionals so that COVID-19 can come under control, he is proposing punishments for Muslims who are staying in the safety of their own homes.
Issuing Identification Numbers to children:
Identification numbers will be provided to children to track that they are at school. Parents who don’t comply will have to pay fines and can also face jail time.
Monitoring of Sports Centers:
Sports organizations will be monitored to prevent them from becoming a place for Islamist preaching.
He also approved sending back the Imams in France back to their countries and not allowing Imams to enter in France as well. He added that radicals have filled the country.
The President’s Islamophobic comments made people angry in Islamic countries.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the president should receive mental checks.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, tweeted,
“Hallmark of a leader is he unites human beings, as Mandela did, rather than dividing them. This is a time when President Macron could have put healing touch and denied space to extremists rather than creating further polarization and marginalization that inevitably leads to radicalization.
Once again, Islamophobia has taken place and the elimination doesn’t seem reachable.