The New York Times ran an op-ed in which a political scientist questioned whether France was “fueling Muslim terrorism” in its attempts to stop it.
Posted on Saturday, the editorial came just after a Tunisian, who carried a copy of the Koran, attacked worshipers in a French church and killed three on Thursday.
Thursday’s attack in the Mediterranean city of Nice was the third in less than two months that French authorities have blamed on Muslim extremists, including the beheading of a teacher who showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in class after the images were republished by a satirical newspaper targeted by an attack in 2015.
After citing how the French authorities defended freedom of expression, French political scientist Vincent Geisser argued in The Times that the country’s leaders mistakenly believed that “the main cause of terrorism” in the country was the inability of Muslims to accept the secular culture of the country.
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President Emanuel Macron, suggests Geisser, has inflamed tensions by trying to fight “separatism”.
Geisser adds: “The president’s notion of ‘separatism’ seems to assume that a significant minority of Muslims are tempted to distinguish themselves in one way or another from the rest of French society … But this diagnosis is questionable, and it risks being self-destructive: It can itself endanger social cohesion. ”
He concludes by arguing: “The warning against the alleged risk of separatism will not help to mobilize French Muslims against radicalism or to encourage their sense of belonging to the nation – quite the contrary. ”
“In fact, it is the rhetoric of the French government that could end up convincing some Muslims that they are indeed different from other French people. The country’s rulers may well speed up the creation of precisely what they fear: a distinct Muslim identity and community within France. ”
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Geisser argues that Muslims actually support secular values and suggests that they experience discrimination under the guise of liberal values.
“Muslims who challenge secularism [secularism] generally do so against a newer and more ideological interpretation of it which is sometimes brandished to blame Muslims for their failure to integrate, as well as other social ills, ”he said.
“They feel and fear that this inherently liberal principle will increasingly become a cover for anti-Muslim racism, a concept distorted and deployed to make racism respectable. ”
The New York Times did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
The post faced a wave of repulsive Twitter users, some of whom accused The Times of supporting terrorism.
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” Is the @NY Times to fuel terrorism by apologizing? Asked Claire Lehmann, editor-in-chief of Quillette.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.