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Why does France cause such anger in the Muslim world



Paris (Associated Press)-Many countries, especially in democratic Western countries, advocate freedom of speech and allow publications that mock Islamic prophets. So why does France provoke protests in the Muslim world and call for boycotts, often the target of deadly violence on the fringe of extremism?

Its cruel colonial history, firm secular policies and tough president (considered as insensitive to Muslim beliefs) all play a role.

France strengthened security measures at churches on Thursday and mourned three people killed in attacks with knives-this is the latest news attributed to Islamic extremists in recent years-which are some of the reasons the country has been hit by fires.

history

France is the country with the largest Muslim population in Western Europe. In a country with a population of 67 million, France has a Muslim population of more than 5 million, which is the legacy of its colonial rule over most of Africa and the Middle East.

However, the country̵

7;s efforts to integrate Muslim immigrants have faltered. The official French doctrine on color blindness aims to ignore ethnic and religious background and make all French citizens be treated as equal French. In fact, ideals often encourage discrimination against people who look, dress or pray differently from historical Catholics, rather than prevent such discrimination.

In France’s poorest and most remote communities and their prisons, Muslims are disproportionately high. This breeds angry vagrants who believe that their home country is sinful and disrespectful of Islamic traditions, or are merely racists opposed to Arabs and other immigrants who have enriched the land of the French Empire.

Although people born abroad have recently carried out Islamic extremist attacks on France, French-born youths have been behind the worst bloodshed in recent years, many of whom are related to the Islamic State group.

Military footprint

France has maintained a more personal role in the former British colonies, especially through economic and cultural ties, which is also obvious in how France deploys its troops abroad.

In recent years, the French army has interfered with Islamic extremists in Mali and Syria, all of whom are the property of former French people. Thousands of French soldiers are now sent to the former colonies of the Sahel in Africa to perform the same tasks.

France’s military presence has intensified the online appeals of Islamic State, Al-Qaida and other extremists to retaliate against French land in an attempt to force France to withdraw.

Strict conservatism

Much of the current anger comes from a cartoon recently republished by the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The cartoon images of the founder of Islam deeply angered many Muslims, who thought they were blasphemous. But these comics were originally published in Denmark in 2005, and similar pictures have been published in other countries with high freedom of expression.

Although French officials often say that France is the cradle of human rights and global democracy, its target is France, and France’s most distinctive feature is its unusual attachment to secularism.

The concept of French secularism is often misunderstood. It was born in a law in 1905 that separates the church from the state and aims to allow all religions to coexist peacefully in a neutral state, rather than the government responding to the powerful Roman Catholic clergy. During the painful public debate, the crucifix was torn from the classroom wall at some point.

A century later, opinion polls showed that France is one of the least religious countries in the world, and a small number of people regularly participate in religious ceremonies. Secularism has received broad support from the left and the right.

As the number of Muslims in France increased, the state imposed secular rules on their behavior. The 2004 ban on the use of Muslim headscarves and other exaggerated religious symbols in schools is still divided, even if it will not shock many people outside of France. A 2011 law banning the veil made Muslims feel insulted again.

Frank president

In the past few decades, France has been subjected to extreme attacks by leaders of various political factions, but the centrist President Emmanuel Macron is a particularly popular target. In protests in many countries this week, protesters burned his portrait or stepped on his feet.

This is partly because Macron plans to introduce a law to suppress Islamic fundamentalists, which he believes is making some communities opposed to the state and threatening the pillars of French society, including schools. After the recent extremist attacks, his government expelled Muslims accused of preaching intolerance and shut down groups deemed to undermine French laws or norms.

The words used by the president also caused indignation. He said that the planned law is aimed at Islamic “separatism”, which has raised concerns about the further alienation of French Muslims.

In the memorial for a teacher who was beheaded for displaying a caricature of the prophet, Macron gave a speech praising tolerance, intellectual and religious freedom. But he caused anger, including the Turkish president, because he said: “We will not give up caricatures” and France should “reduce Islamists.”

Macron earlier described Islam as “a religion in crisis worldwide” and his position is “firm” in many Muslim countries.

As the voice against the French protests grew louder, he wrote on Twitter: “We will never give in.”

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Elaine Ganley of Paris contributed.


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