France has entered a new and unhappy phase–the land of liberté, égalité, fraternité is now in its terror age.
Seven days into 2015, twelve people were murdered by radical Muslims inside the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that regularly poked fun at Muhammad, including publishing naked cartoons of him.
On Friday–known as Jumu’ah, the day of prayer, for Muslims, a series of coordinated attacks in the French capital killed over 120 people, the Islamic State caliphate immediately claimed responsibility for the barbarism.
France has always been an uncomfortable fit for its roughly five million Muslims, the first wave of which settled there after the end of its war in Algeria in 1962. Its strict secularism flies in the face one of Islam’s central beliefs–that the faith is not only a religion but a way of life, and that includes the legal code. Sure, some Muslims in France support the secularism of the Fifth Republic, but younger Muslims less so.
Of the Friday attacks, ISIS promises, “This is just the beginning.” And even if just twenty percent of French Muslims support the Islamic State, that’s one million radicals ready to tear down the nation.
Of course many French people remain in denial. While I was driving to work yesterday morning, I switched on NPR, where I listened in disbelief as a French political scientist, Nicole Bacharan, said of the Muslim immigrants living among her in Paris, “they are as French as we are.”
Has Bacharan bothered to ask Muslims–both the native born and the immigrants living in France–if they agree with her?
John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.