France, and what it represents, appears in many respects to be a priority target for political Islam in general, and for its extremist avatars in particular. This not a coincidence, since France embodies a singular conception of freedom of expression inherent to laïcité, which it has historically elevated to the rank of a cardinal republican value. “France is an indivisible, laïque, democratic and social Republic. It ensures the equality before the law of all citizens without distinction of origin, race or religion. It respects all beliefs.” It is precisely this respect for all religious beliefs that has been called into question and manipulated for largely political purposes by neo-Ottoman Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid the controversy generated by the republication, on September 2, 2020, of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed by the Charlie Hebdo weekly newspaper.
- In our fast and consumerist digital way of life, we have forgotten how important it is to disagree. When we look at the world through the lenses of our mobile applications and social media, we only see a fictional image reflecting what we want to hear and to see. Cass Sunstein extensively analyzed this dangerous vicious circle in which people socialize and interact virtually with people that have similar thoughts and tastes, while sharply opposing anyone different. This widely debated and studied phenomenon of polarization is very much related to the contemporary tragic event of the terrorist attack on the French history and geography teacher, Samuel Paty in front of a school in the Parisian suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.
- France, just like the rest of Europe, has changed so much since 1905 that socio-political pressures to review the relation between State and religions has become a must. The bill recently put forward by its government aims at a global reform that would, if passed, directly impact freedom of worship, claims Philippe Portier.
- “It seems today that the acceptance of secularism within the Muslim world is extremely far away. It is as if, on the basis of deeply-held convictions, Muslim society were demanding a form of not exactly theocracy, but certainly a ‘moralisation’ of public life.” So says Abdou Filali-Ansary, director of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations at the University of Aga Khan, London. The director and founder of the Moroccan literary review ‘Prologues,’ Filali-Ansary is also the author of a number of works on the reformist tradition within the Islamic world, including L’Islam est-il hostile à la laïcité? (2002) and Réformer l’Islam? – Une introduction aux débats contemporains (2003). He recently spoke at ResetDoc’s Istanbul Seminars 2011 (19-23 May).