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Islamo-Leftism (Part 6)

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[Editor’s note: The following is a translation by Ibn Warraq and Robert Kerr of Michel Onfray’s L’Art d’Etre Francais (The Art of Being French, Bouquins, 2021), published here for the first time. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 is here. Part 4 is here. Part 5 is here.]

Let us note in passing that this gratuitous and rather unscientific association of the working classes of yesterday with xenophobia remains to be demonstrated: on the other hand, we know that many journalists, intellectuals, publishers, writers, philosophers, academics, actors, comedians, lawyers, academics, and composers were certainly not latecomers in endorsing Vichy’s xenophobia, racism, and antisemitism. When de Gaulle launched his appeal of June 18[10], it was modest sailors who were the first to respond, not academics.

The sociologist refuses to use the term “Muslims” claiming that it is a fiction, a “phantasmatic category”. However, he has no difficulty in talking about the French, the Germans and the English by reactivating the old theory of the character of peoples. The French woman will do this, the English intellectual that, the Russian thinker something else…

Moreover, the book uses and abuses this rejected concept. Essentially, one may therefore not use the term “Muslims” if one has misgivings [scil. about Islam], but if one speaks well of them, one may. Muslims are thus all followers of a “minority religion adhered to by a disadvantaged group” – the italics are the author’s…

Of course, another platitude of the Islamo-leftist method, is that the young people (largely of North African descent) who burn cars in the Parisian banlieues cannot be considered delinquents; they ransack the property of the poor out of love for France and its republican values, since this is how they can reclaim the equality that the motto of the Republic promises them. An unprecedented patriotism indeed…

Another cliché of Islamo-leftism is the criticism of secularism, which is said to be a covert weapon of war to attack Muslims alone. Our sociologist then passes from secularism to laicism, which he presents as an intolerant religion. The right to blasphemy is for him “the right to spit on the religion of the weak” – nevertheless, in his conclusion he defends it all the same…

The researcher having discovered this additionally decrees that atheism necessarily accompanies “a world devoid of meaning and a human species without purpose”. It is therefore “a generator of anguish”. The Marxist thesis of religion as the opium of the people is no longer valid: the Muslim religion is understood as the ideology of legitimate salvation to which poor Muslim victims are forced by evil capitalism…

To the question: what is the seductive appeal of Islam? Emmanuel Todd answers: “The existence of an ideal combining individual morality, a collective project and the possibility of a beautiful future can help people in their effort to become something more than frail animals let loose in a world devoid of meaning. That is why we must consider the possibility that Islam contributes positively, in certain circumstances and in some of its manifestations, to the psychological equilibrium of individuals, to good school results and to successful integration into French society” (emphasis of Onfray).  Let us recall that this ‘demonstration’ is found in a book that condemns those who marched to denounce the attacks…

If Islam provides for an ideal, a morality, a project, a beauty, a balance, good school results, successful social integration, this would merit more than peremptory assertions: we would like to see the reputed figures, those indispensable tables, the incontrovertible statistics that would validate the scientific nature of what, otherwise, is just showmanship! Unfortunately, we have a lot of figures that rather tend to prove the opposite.

If Emmanuel Todd believes that the category “Muslim” is phantasmatic, he also thinks that Islam has little to do with the Qur’an! Which is why he can turn a religion whose founding text reveals itself to be misogynistic, phallocratic, anti-Semitic and warmongering, in more than one place, into an ideology that is… egalitarian! In Indonesia, it is even an opportunity for women!

Of course, our sociologist, even if he is not specialized in religion, is aware that there are verses that frankly endorse the inequality of men and women or that theorize that a woman’s testimony is not equal to that of a man, in addition to the fact that in the case of inheritance, the shares are unequally distributed depending on one’s gender. How does one get out of such a conundrum? By denying outright – contrary to all that we know to be true and against all evidence – that these verses are still in force in the modern world.

Thus Emmanuel Todd writes: “Nowhere in the Muslim world are the rules of inheritance found in the Qur’an applied.” I doubt that in Afghanistan or Yemen, in Qatar or Saudi Arabia, to mention only two or three countries that come to mind, the Qur’an is trashed in favor of Olympe de Gouges’[11] Declaration of Women’s Rights.

In the same way, young people in the suburbs are also, according to our sociologist, more devoted to the feminist revolution than to Sharia law. Todd goes so far as to assert that the beurs[12] of the suburbs have gone “nine or ten tenths of the way towards an egalitarian conception of the status of men and women.” One can appreciate the scientific character of such an assertion: one can imagine that Max Weber would not have been satisfied with a method that could be described as “give or take”, the notorious “nine or ten”; Libération, on the other hand, even more so! Emmanuel Todd proposes a genealogy of anti-Semitism that is really something else: for him, there is no point in questioning the quranic text itself, which is full of anti-Semitic passages, or even consulting the Hadiths that confirm hatred against Jews, for whom Allah ordains slaughter, or indeed the wars waged against the Jews by the Prophet himself – anti-Semitism rather is the product… of Islamophobia!

———-

[10] The Appeal of 18 June (French: L’Appel du 18 juin) was the first speech made by Charles de Gaulle after his arrival in London in 1940 following the Fall of France. Broadcast to France by the radio services of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), it is often considered to have marked the beginning of the French Resistance in World War II. It is regarded as one of the most important speeches in French history. A part of the speech goes like this: “I, General de Gaulle, currently in London, invite the officers and the French soldiers who are located in British territory or who would come there, with their weapons or without their weapons, I invite the engineers and the special workers of armament industries who are located in British territory or who would come there, to put themselves in contact with me…“

[11] Olympe de Gouges [1748-1793] In her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen (1791), she challenged the practice of male authority and the notion of male-female inequality. She was executed by guillotine during the Reign of Terror [1793-1794].

[12] Beurs: Beur (or alternatively, Rebeu) is a colloquial term, sometimes considered pejorative, in French to designate European-born people whose parents or grandparents are immigrants from the Maghreb [NWAfrica]. The equivalent term for a female beur is a beurette.

Photo By Oestani – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36850863

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