Two weeks after presenting his strategy against “separatism”, the Head of State is in a hurry to act after the assassination of Professor de Conflans. An act that he immediately qualified as a “characterized Islamist terrorist attack”.
“One of our fellow citizens was assassinated today for teaching freedom of speech, the freedom to believe and not to believe.” Visibly upset, Emmanuel Macron was keen to designate precisely the gesture that plunged France back into horror: a “Characterized Islamist terrorist attack”. In front of the Bois-d’Aulne college in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, he spoke Friday evening, after hearing, with his ministers Gérald Darmanin (Interior) and Jean-Michel Blanquer (Education), the testimony of the principal whose he greeted “Remarkable courage” It front of “Pressures” that she had to manage in the days preceding the tragedy.
The Head of State ended his brief address with a call for unity: “We are first and foremost citizens united by the same values, a story: this unity is essential.” It was in much the same terms that he concluded his long-awaited speech on October 2 on his strategy to fight against “Islamist separatism”: “We are a nation of citizens. (…) I will not give in to those who want to divide us one way or the other, because I believe that our greatest treasure is this block that we form. “ Admittedly, this call to “unite” was not enough to silence the critics. The far right was of course indignant against the supposed passivity of the government. The Republicans party is not left out, his boss Christian Jacob declaring Friday evening: “Big speeches must give way to big decisions against Islamist terrorism.”
But one can easily imagine the outburst of protests, the trials in indecision, even in complacency, which would have swept over the last few hours if the Head of State had not spoken on the subject recently, after months of trial and error more or less. less assumed. In Mureaux, in the same department of Yvelines where the Conflans-Sainte-Honorine college is located, Macron had chosen to name things more explicitly than he did at the start of his five-year term, when he said he was thinking about the fight against “Communitarianism”. “What we need to tackle is Islamist separatism. It is a conscious, theorized, politico-religious project, which materializes through repeated deviations from the values of the Republic (…). Since this is the heart of the matter, let’s tackle it and name it ”, he had declared to Les Mureaux.
Risks of “stigmatization”
Before arriving there, he will have hesitated for a long time. Part of Macronia indeed advocated caution, stressing the risks of “Stigma” of all Muslims in France, faithful to the line that Macron himself wore during his campaign and at the start of the five-year term, while he opposed the identity speeches of the right and ultra-republicans of the Vallsists.
While declaring war on “The Islamist hydra” after the killing in the police headquarters, Macron warned in October 2019 against the “Fatal shortcut” too often, in his eyes, between Islam and the fight against terrorism. This is why he first considered clearly distinguishing two issues: the fight against “Communitarianism” on the one hand, the organization of Islam in France on the other. He finally chose to address them in the same speech: “I want there to be no confusion or amalgamation. (…) But it is clear that there is a radical Islamism which leads to deny the laws of the Republic, which leads to trivialize violence and which has led some of our citizens, of our children, to choose the worst. ” In Mureaux, the Head of State noted that the protests “Freedom of expression and the right to blasphemy” were driving “Insidiously” to radicalization: “Nearly 170 people are being followed for violent radicalization here, in the Yvelines”, he stressed.
Much of this talk was about school, and about “The excesses that exclude thousands of children from education for citizenship, from access to culture, to our history, to our values, to the experience of otherness”. He himself described as “radical” its decision to make compulsory, from the start of the 2021 school year, school instruction for all children from three years old, prohibiting home schooling. To this company of “Republican awakening”, he therefore added, in the same speech, several measures supposed to promote the emergence of a “Enlightenment Islam”: financial support for the initiatives of the Fondation pour l’islam de France in the fields of culture, history and science, development of the teaching of the Arabic language in public schools, creation of a Scientific Institute of Islamology … What, according to him, to do with France “A country of excellence in the study of Muslim civilizations”.
Ambitious company which obviously takes a long time to develop and produce its effects. Macron recognizes this himself, when he concludes that for “To be loved” of its children, the Republic must know “Give them a future”. Friday, in front of the college of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, he estimated that by targeting a teacher, “The terrorist wanted to bring down the Republic in its values”. “They will not pass. They will not divide us. We will join forces ”, he hammered, as if to ward off the feeling of helplessness in the face of a threat so difficult to neutralize.