"A whole section of the left does not accept freedom of expression against Islam"

Home"TO THE ONE""A whole section of the left does not accept freedom of expression against Islam"
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FIGAROVOX / GREAT INTERVIEW - On January 6th, the Republican Spring organizes at the Folies Bergères a big event «Always Charlie", To commemorate the attacks of January 2013. On this occasion, Laurent Bouvet gives the Figaro Vox a great interview.

Laurent Bouvet is Professor of Political Science at the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. He published Cultural Insecurity at Fayard in 2015.

FIGAROVOX. - On January 6, at the Folies Bergères, to commemorate the attacks of Charlie Hebdo, the Republican Spring organizes a big event entitled, "Always Charlie". What is it exactly?

LAURENT BOUVET. - This is both to commemorate, outside of official ceremonies, the third anniversary of the January 2015 attacks that began on January 7 by Charlie Hebdo, and to say that three years later, despite the threats and renunciations, we are "always Charlie!", that is to say in favor of freedom of expression and against all forms of intimidation, especially those coming from all those who refuse this freedom of expression as soon as it concerns their religious faith.

To do this, the Republican Spring joined forces with the Comité Laïcité République and LICRA, and members of the Charlie Hebdo team gave us their support. The meaning of this approach is to gather very widely, and thus show, beyond differences and political divisions in particular, that a very large majority of our fellow citizens remains, three years later, "always Charlie" and very attached to the freedom of expression.

Concretely, it will be a great day of testimonials and debates, of field actors, intellectuals, journalists, artists ... who will come to tell us why they are "always Charlie". The day will conclude with an unprecedented show, made of musical moments and readings of texts, including the "Letter to the crooks of Islamophobia that play the game of racists", the posthumous text of Charb. This day will take place in the Salle des Folies Bergère in Paris (9th arrondissement) in two parts: the testimonies and debates from 15h to 19h and the show from 20h30 to 23h. On this occasion, we will also reveal the results of an exclusive survey done with IFOP on "The French and Charlie, 3 years later". The program, information and registration (essential) for this day are available on the site.

Three years after the January 2015 attacks, what has changed?

A whole section of the youth of culture or of Muslim faith easily recognized itself in a form of Islamist radicalization

At the same time, a lot! A lot, because collectively we, as French people and more widely in Europe, have realized that the rise of Islamism and terrorism linked to it, as it has been going on in the world for centuries. years, at least since September 11, 2001, and especially in Muslim countries, touched us directly. The attacks in Toulouse and Montauban in 2012 remained an isolated event, perpetrated by one man, Mohammed Merah, and did not raise the same awareness as the acts of 7, 8 and 9 January 2015. It was also discovered that these terrorists were young French, raised and educated in France. And beyond the attacks themselves, a whole section of young people of Muslim culture or confession easily recognized themselves in a form of Islamist radicalization, even if, of course, and fortunately, the terrorist acts or jihadism Middle East remain limited phenomena.

Few too, because despite the terrorist shock and its repetition in November 2015 in Paris and in July 2016 in Nice in particular, despite the collective awareness, despite the induced changes in terms of security and the fight against terrorism or radicalization, we have seen that the threats against Charlie Hebdo or antisemitic remarks, for example, have not stopped, quite the contrary. In recent weeks, the tension around some "ones" of Charlie has shown that a whole part of this youth that we were talking about now, and with it all a part of the left, does not accept that the freedom of expression, the freedom of caricature and finally the freedom of the press is against the Muslim religion - while accepting very well the exercise of these freedoms against other religions. As if there was a specificity specific to Islam, as if this religion and it alone should have a special status in this area. Believers may think so, it may be conceived, but that part of the left follows this slope is really inconceivable.

Just a month ago Edwy Plenel accused Charlie Hebdo of making war on Muslims ...

This accusation, serious and irresponsible on the part of the director of Mediapart (Remember that Charlie Hebdo's editorial staff have been living under police protection for years, and Eddy Plenel is well aware of it) has measured how much of the left has gone astray since 2015.

It is to make the short scale to the Islamists, in the media, in public forums, in the university, in the associations, in the communes ... which amounts to making the war with the Muslims

This accusation of "making war on Muslims" as "Islamophobia" against those who defend freedom of expression without preference or exception and who fight against Islamism in its various forms is simply unworthy. . For it is precisely alongside Muslims who reject Islamism and its diktats in religious and political matters that those who Plenel accuses are fighting. Moreover, his accusations were abundantly and complacently relayed by an entire "Islamosphere", whose proximity to the theses of the Muslim Brotherhood is now manifested every day. Let's not forget that Plenel's rage spread when he was singled out for his complacency towards Tariq Ramadan and finally all of this Islamosphere, to which he too easily identifies Muslims as a whole.

In short, to wage war against Islamists is not to make war on Muslims. It is to make the short scale to the Islamists, in the media, in public forums, in the university, in the associations, in the communes ... which amounts to making the war with the Muslims.

What is the vocation of the Republican Spring created in 2016. Is it an association, a political movement?

This is a citizens' movement constituted in the form of an association of law 1901. The Republican Spring was born in March 2016 from a double statement. First of all, a desire to "do something" of a group of people, after the attacks of November 2015 and various "business" that followed, where we found that a part of the left political, trade union, associative, in the media or at the university refused to see the reality of Islamist ideology at work in different forms, terrorism and jihadism obviously but up to and including in speeches and manipulations organized to advance a number of ideas in the public debate, especially against gender equality or against freedom of expression.

A whole section of the political, trade union, associative, media or university left refused to see the reality of Islamist ideology at work in different forms.

That, then, of a political vacuum, within the traditional left, and well beyond it must be said and recognize it, around the so-called cultural stakes, starting from a fully republican position, ie both democratic (attachment to the rule of law, public freedoms, action, education and the mobilization of citizens ...); secular (around the desire to see secularism restored in its republican interpretation as freedom of conscience, cults and separation between the state and religions, and no longer misguided in a liberal interpretation contrary to its spirit as to its letter to "freedom of religion", "coexistence of cults and beliefs" or simple "neutrality of the state"); and social (it is here for the Republican Spring to reaffirm the essential dimension of equality between citizens in the exercise of their rights, in access to public services, in all the territories of the Republic , to a school of quality in particular and in terms of solidarity).

The Republican Spring takes its place in a set, among many organizations that already existed and are fighting around similar principles, of which LICRA and CLR are part like all the traditional secular milieu, while trying to instill new practices, activists in particular, with young members very mobilized - thus, the organization of an event like "Always Charlie" relies fully on this militant force, on volunteers, who have often experienced prior partisan or associative engagements but disappointing - around a theoretical corpus reworked and reaffirmed.

In 2017, the Republican Printemps remained in its watchdog and mobilization role, especially on social networks, when the principles I mentioned above were called into question. We have, for example, played a major role in the public unveiling of Mehdi Meklat's anti-Semitic, homophobic and sexist statements, and the complicities he has so long enjoyed in the media. But it was an election year, and political pluralism, which is also one of the founding principles of the Republican Spring - like the refusal of public subsidies or the collegiality of decisions for example - led us to not take sides in the entire electoral process. , from the primaries to the legislative elections, of course passing by the presidential election. This has limited our activity. This will not be the case, of course, in 2018, when we will be able to resume a more sustained rhythm, of which Toujours Charlie marks the start.

Do you claim from the left or do you welcome Republicans from all sides?

We come, with regard to most of the founders and animators, no doubt also members, of the left but we welcome of course, as long as there is agreement with the principles stated above (those listed in our "manifesto" founder in March 2016), all those who want to join us. We do not ask for papers or pedigree to anyone! The Republic is neither divided nor confiscated on any political side. We can have divergences on this or that subject, and different conceptions of public action, but when they are debated in a common framework, since the political quarrel is included in the republican framework, it does not exist. there is no reason to refuse it or to give it up. It is a question of respect for common rules and ethics of political discussion. Of course, those who refuse to abide by these republican rules and do not conform to this ethic of discussion, who do not want to rely on some form of common reason in a way, these are not welcome in Spring republican, and besides we fight them in the public space - on the social networks in particular where the excesses in the matter are unfortunately very frequent.

On the other hand, I am not very favorable to the term "Republicans of all the shores" which reminds me of the "Republicans of both banks" of the years 1990-2000. Because if the agreement must be made on the republican framework itself, its exigency and rigor, it does not make a political program so far, as it was envisaged at the time around the "sovereignism", while attempting to turn the axis of French politics towards the European question. It was a failure, a big failure. We have clearly passed this phase and this time today. The new conditions of politics, in France as well as beyond our borders, with the rise of populisms of different natures and of "movements" very centered around their leader, imperfect, unsatisfactory and precarious answers to the new stakes which jostle our conceptions and political boundaries (Islamist ideology, environmental challenge, transhumanism, widespread privatization of data, profound transformations of the productive economy and labor ...) lead us to thoroughly review the very way in which we think about politics.

The republican idea is essentially political and not economic, social, cultural or religious

And this is where the republican idea, much more than the regime or the institutions that embody it, makes sense. And that contrary to what one can read everywhere today, it is a new idea, an idea for today and for tomorrow. Precisely because it is essentially political and not economic, social, cultural or religious; precisely because by making us citizens, it opens up possibilities, here and now, thanks to our common will, that our multiple identities and affiliations, our particular interests or our conceptions of the world, legitimately different, can not open us .

The republican left is no longer represented by any political party ... In the long run is the goal not, despite everything, to create a party?

You are right! The Republican Left is no longer represented not only by any political party but practically no longer in any political party. And this is profoundly lacking in public debate. The Republican Spring intends to participate in filling this void but certainly not in becoming a political party itself - not in the near future anyway. On the contrary, we want to try to sensitize and mobilize all parties and political movements around the above-mentioned principles, in a transversal way. Our field of struggle is public debate, around ideas and major political issues.

Some suspect you of being the unofficial support committee of Manuel Valls.

We suspect the Republican Spring of many things! Recently, we have been attributed, among other things, the eviction of Rokhaya Diallo from the National Council of Digital or the difficulties to fill the rooms of his upcoming tour of comedian Yassine Belattar! It gives a lot of power to an association still very young (we are not two years old) and consists of ordinary citizens who engage in their free time for ideas and principles - no struggle for places or material gratification in the Republican Spring.

Regarding rumors regularly peddled and complaisently maintained, especially in the press, our proximity to Manuel Valls, again, we are decidedly a lot. First, because, as I told you earlier, there are people of different political sensibilities in the Republican Spring, from the insubordinate France to the Republic in March and even a little beyond to the right, which would not agree to get behind this or that, Manuel Valls or another. Then because if we can share with Manuel Valls common fights, around the idea of ​​a left clemencist (in reference to Clemenceau) in particular, we did not support the primaries of the left, any more than a another candidate, and no more than another in the presidential election. Finally, because it is not our vocation to support a particular politician other than in the expression of ideas and principles that are ours. Thus, for example, we publicly support the members of France Insoumise who fight, within their movement, for secularism, against indigenous ideas (in reference to Indigenous people in the Republic) or not always reasonable accommodations with associations and personalities close to the Islamists, as we support the government ministers such as Jean-Michel Blanquer or Marlène Schiappa, and in the same way that we support, at the LREM, the deputies and activists who also declare themselves Republicans for the secularism, and not for its liberal version.

Combat of ideas and not of people, fight of principle and not of posture. That's what politics is for the Republican Spring.

The film "The Star of Christmas" was stopped during school, in Langon, because of secularism. The expression "Merry Christmas" is itself subject to controversy. What does it inspire you? Does this type of controversy not undermine the principle of secularism?

Secularism is challenged by competing ideologies, on the side of a misunderstood individualism, and on the side of all the excesses and identity manipulations

First, that the secular struggle is a serious thing, because today the very definition of what is common to us - of which laïcité as a philosophical and political principle is a key element in France - is challenged by ideologies competitors, both on the side of a misunderstood individualism, reduced to its flat and even cynical materialism, drowning in consumerism in particular, and on the side of all the drifts and manipulations of identity, around cultural fears sometimes justified but also of constructions or completely imaginary reconstructions.

Then, we must be careful, when we have an educational responsibility towards children, not to induce them to be confused. It seems to me that when you take your class to see a movie called "The Christmas star" in the cinema, we know what to expect. Or, you have to do another job. And stop a movie like this, in full session, it's really ridiculous. Secularism is certainly not that.

Finally, that it is right to keep and stop to pinpoint any dispute or inconvenience. I do not see the problem with the phrase "Merry Christmas"! That the believers use it and that those who do not believe in using another like "happy holidays" for example seems to me of the common sense. No one should be forced or forced to do one or the other. It's totally ridiculous.

All these controversies discredit especially those who lend themselves to it. Secularism is infinitely better and the battles to be fought on its behalf, and there are, are infinitely more important.

Today, it is Islam, and no other religion, that is likely to threaten the Republic. Why not say it clearly rather than continue to "slap your grandmother"?

I am not sure that Islam as a religion threatens the Republic. That Islam articulates, differently from Christianity, theological and political, because of the very different birth conditions and the first centuries of evolution of these two great religions proselytes, it is obvious. But history has also shown us that Islam adapted to different civilizations and cultures at least as much as it imposed on them. So I can not conclude that Islam threatens the Republic.

After that, there is a part of the population of culture or of muslim confession, in Europe, and in France, which clearly refuses certain principles on which our societies are built, it is obvious. They are Muslims who claim to read literary, fundamentalist or fundamentalist readings, their religious principles, sometimes a total lack of culture in this matter also according to what some specialists say, and that they understand as incompatible with any other conception of the world, whether in Islam or outside. This is precisely Islamism: an ideological form given to religion that goes beyond the framework of claiming hegemony in all areas of human life, and any other cultural, religious, political or social form.

And it must be said clearly indeed, but this should not exclude all Muslims who have another reading of their religion, and who by their practice make it completely compatible with the Republic, as do other citizens from of their different identities and beliefs. The Republic is certainly not intended to replace religions and beliefs, it aims to make each of its citizens an equal in rights and duties to others, regardless of its origin, identity, faith, etc. There is at priori no incompatibility of any kind insofar as the Republic is the place of the common, in front of all particulars and particularisms. This common being the result of both a complex and sometimes violent history, rich in its contradictions and evolutions, and a projection into a common destiny, rich of its possibilities. The commons remain different between peoples, countries, nations ... In France, this common is "the Republic, our kingdom of France" as Peguy said. And if someone does not want this common and the principles that govern it, then he can not be a citizen, be it atheist, Muslim, Catholic or Jehovah's Witness ...

But I understand, to quote from the famous expression of Marx that you make, that our "grandmother" would be Catholicism or at least Christianity, which would be easier to attack than Islam.

To make respect by all religions, without any exception, the principles of the common, in this matter secularism, it is certainly not to deny the past of France

For me, to make respect by all religions, without any exception, the principles of the common, in this matter secularism, is certainly not to deny the past of France. Secularism itself is a principle that comes from our French history, it was born and unfolded in a framework irreducible to any other historically. But it allowed precisely to distance the dominant religion, Catholic, to build a common open to all, without religious preeminence. It is in the very name of this distancing that we can now offer this common framework to other believers, from other religions and other cultures. There is therefore no ambiguity about the differences to be made between Islam and Catholicism in historical and cultural matters, nor ambiguity about the equality of treatment to be reserved for both religions, as for others, with regard to secularism.

And I find as pitiful as unjust the accusations that are sometimes heard about advocates of secularism who would attack Catholics to better justify attacking Muslims. Charges that are found both on the Catholic side and Muslim for reasons that are not yet the same. To enforce common principles is precisely not to attack anyone. As if, moreover, symmetrically, there was never any anti-secular or anti-secular collusion between believers of different religions, totally agreeing that finally a believer will always be a better man than a non-believer. Believing - I did not forget about this sentence, terrible, Nicolas Sarkozy in his Lateran speech in December 2007: "In the transmission of values ​​and in learning the difference between good and evil, The teacher can never replace the priest or the pastor, even if he approaches it, because he will always miss the radical sacrifice of his life and the charisma of a commitment carried by hope.

In short, let us try to remain both rational and reasonable in this area, and to (re) make secularism the pillar of the common republican we need so much today. This will allow us to avoid many excesses and misleading identities.

Emmanuel Macron promised to speak about secularism in January. What do you expect from this speech?

I would say, probably like everyone else, a clarification of the very position of the President of the Republic on the subject given the contrary signs he has sent so far, sometimes showing his preference for the liberal vision of secularism religious freedom and the coexistence of religions (especially when he renamed the same team at the head of the Laïcité Observatory), while he also chose ministers such as J.-M. Blanquer and M. Schiappa who they clearly reaffirmed a republican conception of secularism.

For thirty years, the liberal vision has largely progressed within the state itself

But, on the merits, I am not sure that the position of the President of the Republic is itself decisive in this matter. He may choose a certain position on the subject, or perhaps he will remain in a form of ambiguity, but his function is certainly not to define secularity. This one escapes indeed to political choices on the instant even if the institutions can, by following this or that conception, privilege one compared to the other. For the last thirty years or so, the liberal vision has largely progressed within the state itself, and among many of its senior executives, as well as among many politicians. This is the effect of multiple decisions, choices and directions made by several generations of state officials. Yet this has not prevented a republican vision, less sensitive perhaps to the effects of globalization dominated by the liberal paradigm of tolerance and the normative multiculturalism it conveys, subsists and continues to be transmitted and defended.

Today, as we have entered the age of identity for both individuals and religions, it is not certain that this secularism of republican descent is, however, the most misplaced to answer. to the challenges facing us. If the Republican Spring can be used for anything, it is to demonstrate the utility of this one in the public debate


Source: ©  "A whole section of the left does not accept freedom of expression against Islam"

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