Macron’s Clash of Civilizations Is Misguided

bdmetronews Desk ॥  The last thing the world needs amid a resurgent pandemic is a clash of civilizations. Yet this is what French President Emmanuel Macron seems intent on fomenting. And, in many Muslim leaders, he has found willing and eager partners for his venture.

From all accounts, the Chechnya-born teenager who gruesomely murdered a schoolteacher in France this month represents yet another case of online radicalization — the same force that has fueled flash lynch mobs in India and right-wing militias in the United States.

But Macron chose to respond to the atrocity with an unprecedented crackdown on France’s Muslim community, accompanied by a vociferous critique of its religion — thereby “communalizing,” to use an Indian phrase, what is a widespread social pathology.

Having asserted that Islam is “in crisis all over the world today,” Macron has now gone further by proclaiming France’s staunch support for the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed that originally enraged the young murderer.

To put it soberingly: Macron has staked France’s global reputation on crude mockery of a figure revered by more than a billion Muslims.

Self-appointed paladins of Islam, who have lately been floundering, eagerly accepted the lifeline thrown to them by Macron. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, both beset by multiple crises, have ostentatiously attacked the French president.

Erdogan even questioned Macron’s mental health, provoking France to recall its ambassador to Turkey. The boycott of French goods demanded by Erdogan is already being administered in Kuwait and Qatar. Mass protests against Macron are emerging in a broad swathe of Muslim countries from Libya to Bangladesh.

In recent days, Islamophobia has surged at all levels of French society, from the interior minister, who accused halal food in supermarkets of fostering separatism, to the assailants who stabbed two Muslim women in headscarves near the Eiffel Tower.

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