PARIS — France on Monday unleashed a broad crackdown on Muslims accused of extremism, finishing up dozens of raids, vowing to close down assist teams and threatening to expel foreigners as anger swept the nation following the decapitation of a highschool instructor for displaying caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad at school.
Lots of these swept up in raids have been already in police recordsdata for displaying “indicators” of potential radicalization, like preaching radicalized sermons or sharing hate messages on social networks, authorities officers stated. Greater than 200 others — the majority already in jail — have been threatened with a uncommon mass expulsion.
However different teams focused within the raids included Muslim associations beforehand given authorities subsidies for his or her work selling higher civic relations, and solely 15 of the individuals arrested had any connection to the ugly assault on Friday.
The scope of the response was a measure of how the killing of Samuel Paty, a instructor in a suburb north of Paris, had reopened outdated wounds in France. The nation stays traumatized by terrorist assaults by Muslim extremists that killed scores in 2015, beginning with the editorial workplaces of the satirical Charlie Hebdo journal — whose cartoons the instructor had proven.
As a lot because the Charlie Hebdo killings, the beheading of Mr. Paty has struck deep contained in the French psyche as an assault on a principal pillar of the French republic — the secular public faculty system — in addition to the nation’s devotion to freedom of speech.
1000’s of individuals took to the streets in cities round France over the weekend to reveal their horror on the killing on Friday. And politicians, particularly on the best, jostled to sound the alarm towards “the enemy inside,” because the hard-line inside minister, Gérald Darmanin, put it in a radio interview, referring to so-called radicalized Muslims.
Some voices have been raised towards the breadth of the federal government’s raids, however usually the tone was set by President Emmanuel Macron’s doubtless principal challenger in 2022, the far proper chief Marine Le Pen, whose celebration has focused Muslims and immigrants for practically 50 years.
“This example requires a technique of reconquest,” Ms. Le Pen stated Monday. “Islamism is a bellicose ideology whose technique of conquest is terrorism.”
Even earlier than the assault on Mr. Paty, Mr. Macron, seeking to consolidate a right-leaning citizens that’s his solely strong base heading into the 2022 election, had launched into a marketing campaign towards what he known as “Islamist separatism” in a speech earlier this month.
The speech strengthened the thought, present on France’s proper, that there’s a massive and hostile Muslim contingent ready within the wings — the nation’s suburbs — to tear down French values. Mr. Macron vowed to finish home-schooling in addition to the observe of bringing in overseas imams.
On Monday, the police started their work at 6 within the morning, going after “quite a few” Muslims in a number of raids, Mr. Darmanin stated. “Essential police operations have been carried out beginning this morning, concentrating on radicalized people,” Mr. Macron’s prime minister, Jean Castex, stated in a speech Monday.
“Different actions will observe,” Mr. Castex promised, towards “networks and people who’re attacking our primary values and the Republican preferrred.”
Some 51 Muslim assist organizations will even be focused by the police this week, the inside minister stated, a few of which might be dissolved at Mr. Macron’s request. Mr. Darmanin known as probably the most distinguished of them, Collective In opposition to Islamophobia, the C.C.I.F., which compiles a register of anti-Muslim acts, “an enemy of the republic.”
Its former president, Marwan Muhammad, probably the most distinguished of France’s Muslim activists, stated the C.C.I.F. “didn’t have the slightest involvement” within the killing of Mr. Paty.
Already, 15 individuals have been arrested, together with members of the family of the suspect, an 18-year-old Chechen refugee named Abdullakh Anzorov, who was shot useless by the police Friday evening after the killing. Additionally in custody is the daddy of a pupil on the faculty who had denounced Mr. Paty on-line for displaying the caricatures and had demanded his dismissal. The video circulated broadly on social media.
The inside minister introduced that it might expel 231 overseas residents recognized for his or her radicalism, together with 180 who have been already in jail. These not imprisoned would quickly be arrested, officers stated. At occasions, the French authorities has expelled overseas Muslims it accuses of being radicalized. However a mass expulsion just like the one presently envisioned is uncommon.
By day’s finish it was not clear what number of arrests had resulted from the police raids. Among the nation’s distinguished Muslim preachers defended the federal government’s actions. “When the warfare has already been declared, what you want is a wartime authorities,” stated Hassen Chalghoumi, president of the French Imams’ Congress.
However a number of Muslim students raised questions — not simply concerning the raids, but additionally about Mr. Paty’s use of the Muhammad caricatures at school.
On Monday’s raids, some stated politics seemed to be successful out over good sense. “I’m afraid that there was a rush right into a sure variety of selections,” stated Rachid Benzine, a political scientist. “It’s, ‘We’re going to do these raids’ — after which they don’t have anything to do with the precise investigation. It looks like these are punitive expeditions, sort of score-settling.”
“And naturally there’s a threat that the courts will finally reject all of this,” Mr. Benzine added.
Mr. Macron will ship a solemn eulogy to Mr. Paty on Wednesday on the Sorbonne. He has already been hailed as a martyr of the French Republic. The emotion of hundreds who turned out for him throughout France was actual. An enormous gathering on the Place de la Republique in Paris recalled those held after the assaults of 2015.
However a number of puzzled about what had transpired in Mr. Paty’s class.
“I really feel prefer it’s very arduous to make use of these cartoons for strictly instructional functions,” stated Farhad Khosrokhavar, a sociologist on the Faculty for Superior Research within the Social Sciences, EHESS, in Paris.
“Secularists assume that it’s their proper, due to the regulation that permits blasphemy and any type of mockery of faith. However however, there may be the sensation that in doing so, it’s the Muslims who’re despised, not the prophet,” he stated.
“By utilizing cartoons to show freedom of expression, we don’t perceive that we offend individuals,” Mr. Khosrokhavar stated. “There are a thousand methods to precise freedom of expression, so why select this one?”
Françoise Lorcerie, an schooling skilled on the Nationwide Heart for Scientific Analysis, stated she had by no means heard of utilizing the caricatures of the prophet in a classroom setting for highschool college students. And he or she was crucial of Mr. Paty’s invitation to Muslim college students that they go away the category to keep away from being offended.
“Clearly these caricatures are wounding for Muslims,” stated Ms. Lorcerie. “I’m not so positive about presenting these caricatures, with out some kind of justification,” she stated.
From the standpoint of absolutely the worth of secularism, “it doesn’t conform to his obligation to be impartial,” Ms. Lorcerie stated. “There needs to be a mirrored image on all of this.”
Fixed Meheut and Antonella Francini contributed reporting.