French president Emmanuel Macron has doubled down on his pledge to tackle “Islamist separatism” in France, declaring that those who wish to follow anti-Enlightenment values should do so elsewhere.
“When I talked about separatism, what does it mean?” Macron asked rhetorically in an interview with Al Jazeera, a news network owned by the Qatari regime.
“[T]here are groups [of] violent extremists who act in the name of Islam and by hijacking religion, who teach, within the framework of associations, using all the freedoms and rights that the [French] Republic offers, that our country offers, they teach that we must not respect France, that we must not respect our law, that we must somehow get out of our laws,” he explained.
“They teach that women are not equal to men. They teach that little girls should not have the same rights as little boys. Not our values!” he declared.
“I’m telling you very clearly: not our values! We believe in the Enlightenment, and women have the same rights as men. It is vital. And so, I will never, never, never accept an association, even if it would be in the name of a religion, that would promote [the idea that] a little girl is not the equivalent of a little boy; she will not be given the same education, she will not be given the same opportunities — because it’s not our values,” he vowed.
“People who think like that, let them do it somewhere else, but not on French soil.”
“We believe in the Enlightenment, and women have the same rights as men… People who think otherwise, let them do it somewhere else, not on French soil.”
Powerful comments by French President Macron 👏 👏 👏 pic.twitter.com/9jWBP0znJD
— James Bloodworth 🇷 (@J_Bloodworth) October 31, 2020
Macron stressed that his message to such associations, which he has been making efforts to shut down in recent weeks, that “on our soil” they will not “establish their rights to separate a part of society.”
“We must fight against them, very clearly, because they decide to separate,” he said.
“It is not against Muslims that I say this again. It is against these extremists, violent or who do not want to respect our rights, because it is the key to protect the French people — and in particular those of Muslim faith — because I don’t want a little girl, because her parents believe in Islam, which is quite their right in France, to find herself taken by one of these association, and to be thus, in fact, mistreated on our soil. I can’t accept that,” he explained, slightly confusingly.
“So, when we spoke of this word separatism, it is not against any religion of any kind, but against the use in the name of a religion of certain practices, and we also cited other practices that also exist on our soil and that are the results of other religions or other groups,” he said.
Macron, a “centrist” generally regarded as having a left-liberal attitude towards mass immigration and diversity until recently, has faced fierce denouncement in the Islamic world for his rhetoric on Islamist separatism and his support for people’s right to exercise their freedom of expression by, for example, caricaturing the Islamic prophet.
France has suffered multiple radical Islamic terror attacks stretching back to the massacre of a number of employees of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in 2015 for this “blasphemy”, with Macron himself becoming something of a hate figure in recent days.
Muslim UFC fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov riled up his more than 25 million followers on Instagram with a post saying “May the Almighty disfigure the face of this scum [Macron] and all his followers, who, under the slogan of freedom of speech, offend the feelings of more than one and a half billion Muslim believers” in the wake of the controversy, while mass demonstrations in countries like Pakistan and at French embassies in Western countries have seen the Tricolore and likenesses of the president burned and trampled.
Muslims Burn and Trample French Flags, Macron Posters in Pakistan https://t.co/VItQNfY4tH
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 1, 2020