The Corner

World

Secularism Isn’t The Problem, Islamism Is

Politico Europe carries a fascinating op-ed, blaming French secularism for the terrorist assaults of radical Islamists.

Specifically, the latest round of violence follows the decision earlier this month by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo to mark the beginning of a trial over a murderous attack on its newsroom in 2015 by republishing the blasphemous cartoons of Mohammed that prompted the original assault.

This duo — radical secularism and religious radicalism — have been engaged in a deadly dance ever since.

Traditionally, French secularism requires the state to be neutral and calls for respect for religions in the public space, in order to avoid the rise of religious intolerance.

In modern times, however, it has become something far more extreme. The moderate secularism that prevailed as recently as the 1970s has been replaced with something more like a civil religion.

This is ridiculous.  First, many of the Islamist attacks are aimed at churches and clergy. An Orthodox clergyman in France was attacked just this morning.  And French secularism is much more moderate now than it was at its birth in the French Revolution. There are real obstacles for devout Muslims trying to live in the secular states of what was (and still is, really) Christendom.

But integration of Muslims into French society is not going to happen by making the French abandon their inherited worldview.