Behind the bloody attacks in France

The Islamist violence in France that John describes in his post below is the bloody tip of the spear of the Islamic world’s reaction to President Macron’s attempt to defeat terrorism. Turkey’s president, the deplorable thug Erdogan, attacked Macron’s response to the beheading of that teacher in a Paris suburb, claiming that Macron “needs treatment on a mental level.”

The Washington Post described Macron’s response as “a crackdown on Muslim organizations it accuses of fomenting terrorist violence” and a defense of the caricatures of Muhammad “as emblematic of the French values of secularism and free expression.” The deadly assaults John describes confirm the need for the crackdown and for the affirmation of freedom of expression.

In a display of chutzpah for the ages, Erdogan accused Macron of “not understand[ing] freedom of belief.” The beheaded teacher was executed for defending freedom of belief and expression — the freedoms Macron has exalted since the execution.

France responded to Erdogan’s verbal attacks by withdrawing its ambassador to Turkey.

As always with Erdogan, there is cynicism in his attack on Macron. France and Turkey are at loggerheads over the civil war in Libya as well as Turkish claims to energy deposits in the eastern Mediterranean.

Erdogan is also playing to his domestic audience. Asli Aydintasbas, a fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, explained that Erdogan’s jabs at Macron help rally members of his political base who are sympathetic to religious and nationalist appeals. In addition, they bolster his credentials as a leader of the wider Sunni Muslim world.

These statements highlight the problem. Islamist opinion in Turkey and the Sunni Muslim world denies the West’s right to uphold freedom of speech and to crack down on Islamist terrorism. In fact, there have been strong calls for a boycott French products throughout much of the Muslim world because of Macron’s response to the beheading of the teacher.

So it isn’t just a few knife-wielding terrorists who pose a danger to Western freedoms. It’s Erdogan, his base of Turkish supporters, and like-minded Muslims (likely millions of them) throughout the world.

Macron was right when he called “Islamist separatism” a danger to France because it holds its own laws above all others and “often results in the creation of a counter-society.” I don’t agree with Macron on every particular of the secularism he supports, but he’s got the big picture right.

The French people think so, too. John Sexton points to a poll in which a large a majority of the public agreed that they and their values are under attack by radical Islam.

The scales have fallen from the eyes of the French public. Too bad it took so many murders and assaults for this to happen.

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