French-Israeli MP: France must outlaw political Islam

France must take far-reaching steps to curb radical Islam in its midst, French lawmaker Meyer Habib said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

Habib, who represents French citizens in Israel, Italy, and Turkey among countries in the French National Assembly, called for the government to outlaw radical Islamist organizations.

“We have to open our eyes,” Habib said. “The law of the Republic must be stronger than all other laws, of religion or anything else… For 20 years, there have been areas in France that the police do not enter because of a combination of crime, radical Islam and anti-French hatred. We have to wake up before it’s too late – and it’s already very late.”

Habib’s remarks came after the dramatic events in France in recent weeks, beginning with the gruesome slaying of French teacher Samuel Paty by a Chechen Muslim immigrant angered that Paty displayed a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad as an example of free speech. French President Emmanuel Macron defended such caricatures, and a growing movement of Muslims around the world began to boycott French goods. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Macron “mentally ill,” and France recalled its ambassador from Ankara.

Habib said the crisis between France and Turkey has reached an unprecedented level: “I don’t remember such a big crisis between France and another country since World War II. It may not be a declaration of war, but it looks like one.”

Though he is an opposition MP, Habib repeatedly emphasized he stands with Macron: “Erdogan will not divide France and he will not threaten us; we won’t allow it.”

The lawmaker said recalling the French ambassador was not a strong enough response, and that “Erdogan will only understand sanctions.”
Habib noted that “Erdogan says nothing about the Uighurs to China” – referring to a Muslim minority in China facing oppressive measures, including forced labor camps – “but he thinks he sees weakness in Europe and France.”

He also pointed out that Erdogan did not condemn Paty’s murder.

The lawmaker also took issue with Erdogan’s comparison of Muslims in France to Jews in the Holocaust, saying that he and others are trying to portray the aggressors as victims.

“I would like to remind him that the difference is that six million Jews were killed in Europe in the Holocaust while, in France nowadays, all the terrorist attacks on Jews – and on non-Jews – are by Islamists,” Habib said. “Muslims in France have the same rights as all other French people. That is nothing like the Jews in World War II; French Jews were taken to concentration camps.”

In addition, Habib said “100% of the terrorist attacks in France in recent years are from radical Islamists. We are the victims. [Erdogan] wants to say they’re the victim, but they’re the aggressors.”

As for the effort to boycott French goods, Habib remarked: “I always said they start with Jews and Israel, and then it will come to France, and that is unfortunately what is happening.”

He also said his country has a pro-Palestinian orientation, but that Gaza is still boycotting France.

“The terrorism from Gaza, Judea and Samaria is the same as the terrorism in Paris or Nice or London,” he stated.

Habib called for a ban on political Islamic movements in France, pointing to arrests of members of the Muslim Brotherhood in countries like Jordan and Egypt.

“Political Islam and jihadi terrorism are two sides of the same coin. And it quietly takes over,” he warned.

Other measures Habib suggested France take include ensuring radical Islam does not spread in French schools and require speeches in mosques to be made in French and not Arabic.

Habib also called for French intelligence services to “be on the backs [of radical Islamists] all the time,” to deport illegal immigrants spreading radical ideology and, like Israeli, revoke citizenship from those threatening the country.

“Whoever lives here must accept the laws,” he added. “That’s the minimum.”

Remarking on Macron’s efforts to help Lebanon recover from its economic decline, exacerbated by the mass explosion in Beirut in August, Habib called on the government to stop considering the military and political arms of Hezbollah to be separate groups.

“They are to blame for the economic collapse in Lebanon. Peace can only come by removing Hezbollah,” he stated. “There is no peace with radical Islam, Sunni or Shi’ite. They are responsible for the deaths of millions – mostly Muslims.”

Habib said Israel’s normalization with Sudan, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are signs of peace in the region that France must incorporate into its foreign policies.

“We should no longer deal with radicalism and take the new train in the region. Peace for peace and not peace for concessions,” Habib said, paraphrasing his longtime friend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “There is a lot of hope in the Middle East, and I hope my country, France, will understand it.”

Check Also

Iraq Needs a New Kind of Partnership With the United States

The Path to Sustainable Cooperation Two decades ago, the United States assisted the Iraqi people …