The resurgence in attacks by radical Islamists on French soil has rekindled fierce debates on Islam, secularism and discrimination in France, home to Europe’s largest Muslim population. But Muslim voices are largely kept out of the conversation.
On October 2, the day President Emmanuel Macron unveiled his plan to fight “Islamist separatism” in France, the mayor of the Paris suburb of Trappes, 35-year-old Ali Rabeh, was invited by French broadcaster CNews to discuss Macron’s proposed measures to root out radical Islam from France’s most stricken banlieues.
Rabeh began by calling for more police officers and public services in his town of 32,000 inhabitants, a working-class and ethnically diverse municipality with the unwanted distinction of having seen more homegrown jihadists travel to Syria, per capita, than any other in France.
The conversation soon veered into acrimony when one of the channel’s regular commentators quizzed the mayor about the prevalence of political Islam in Trappes, “a territory lost to the Republic”. He asked Rabeh whether he was even aware that Sharia law was applied there.
“There is no Sharia law in Trappes, nor anywhere in France,” a flustered Rabeh hit back.
Continue reading @ France 24.