In Western countries, freedom of expression is more important than in the rest of the world. Many times the views expressed about Islam have been contested in these countries, but the anger against France has been more aggressive than the rest of the countries. Calls to boycott its products are also appearing amid the ongoing protests against France during the latest controversy. In such a situation, the question arises as to what is the reason for this anger against France. The answer lies in the history of France, its secular policies and the severity of the president whose attitude is deemed insensitive.
What does the history of France say?
The largest Muslim population in Western Europe is found in France. There are 5 million Muslims in the country with a population of 6.7 crore. It was once a French colony in Africa and the Middle East and today’s population joined from there. However, attempts to include Muslims in the country have been flawed. According to official doctrine, all citizens of the country must consider themselves French above their religion or community. However, because of this, people who look different, dress or speak a language are perceived differently and face discrimination from majority Catholic society. This has led to anger within the country’s Muslim community, which views the country as disrespectful of their traditions and racist towards people coming from Arabia or elsewhere.
France has so far kept control of the countries of its colony through economic and cultural ties. Its mark is visible in its military deployment in other countries. French forces have taken action against Islamic fundamentalists in Mali and Syria in recent years. Thousands of French soldiers are stationed in Africa. For this reason, the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and other organizations are urging action in France so that, under pressure, France withdraws its army.
In 1905, a law was introduced in France under which Church and government were separated from each other. After that, there was a provision for all religions to live peacefully in a neutral country. Even then, the crucifix was torn from classrooms amid aggressive debate. A century later, the poll reveals that France is one of the least religious countries. Secularism is supported by both the left and the right. The number of Muslims in France is increasing and with it the rules of secularism are also increasing. Even in 2004, the Muslim headscarf and religious icons were banned, there was a lot of debate in the country.
The hard position of the macro
France has come under criticism in recent decades, but incumbent President Emmanuel Macron faces considerable outrage. Their photos were burnt by the demonstrators. In fact, Macron is trying to pass a law that will take action against Islamic fundamentalists. He says these people incite some communities against the country and threaten other pillars, including schools. Following the recent incidents, the government took action against Muslims who taught intolerance and shut down those organizations that violated the country’s laws and rules. However, the words he used also angered him. He also advocated cartoons that hit Muslim countries.