France’s President Emmanuel Macron is launching a fight against “political Islam” in his nation as he calls for a return to “the art of being French” in the divided country.
“I want to give hope to progress by asking everyone the best of themselves, by finding the art of being French, be both rooted and universal,” Macron said in what he is calling “Act II” of his term as the French leader, Le Point reported.
“We are above all the children of the Enlightenment,” he said, according to the news outlet which described the new term — from 2019 to 2021 when he will be contending for re-election — as a kind of “social pact.”
Macron noted the end of the first “Act” of his presidency, which commenced in May 2017, and indicated he would be focusing on different issues moving forward, including an “intractable fight” against a form of political Islam which he contends has been at the root of creating parallel societies striving to “secede” from French society.
The French leader “seems determined to break the mechanisms of fracturing and identity withdrawal that are currently thriving in the country,” according to Le Point, which noted Macron’s reference to “open and inclusive patriotism” and a vision that includes a French secularism.
“Secularism is the possibility of believing in God or not believing in Him… of never imposing on society a religion or detracting from rules of the Republic to do this,” he said during the press conference at the Elysee Palace.
He continued, “Nowadays when we talk about secularism… we’re talking about the clannishness that has crept into some neighborhoods in our republic…we’re talking about the people who, in the name of religion, are pursuing a political project that wants to secede from our republic.”
Macron vowed to tighten control over foreign religious funding which he felt contributed to the problem, citing Turkey in particular.
“We must succeed in clarifying things because the Turkish project is today a totally antagonistic politico-religious project,” he said in the nationally televised speech, which followed months of a “Great National Debate” which he announced in response to the Yellow Vest protests.
According to Breitbart News:
Last year, the French president had made overtures at reforming Islam in France that would see an increased French influence on the training of imams as well as an overhaul of the organisation structure of Muslim groups.
A study that was conducted as a part of a project advising Macron discovered that the radical form of Islam known as Salafism had an almost monopoly on the intellectual currents of Islam across the country.
French-Tunisian Islam expert Hakim el Karoui of the Montaigne Institute, who authored the report, recommended tackling foreign funding of imams to counter the phenomenon.
In the report, el Karaoui had noted the rise of foreign influences pushing more radical strains of Islam among the Muslims in France, as “halal” versions of Airbnb and ride-sharing apps have surfaced.
Terror attacks in and around major cities like Paris have been blamed on the radicalization of Muslims in the areas and Macron has vowed to face the divisions in the country head-on in language that would seem familiar to supporters of President Donald Trump.
“To be open, you must have limits. To welcome, you need a house, so you need borders,” the French president said this week, proposing to “refound our development policy and our migration policy.”
Macron stated that he believes a “strong sovereign Europe” is a Europe “that holds its borders, which protects them.”
“It is a Europe that has a well-founded and common right of asylum, and where responsibility goes with solidarity,” he added.