Tribune de l’ambassadeur de France dans le quotidien The Jakarta Post (30/10/2020) [id]
“What President Macron really means”
The terrorist attack that took place in Conflans Sainte-Honorine on Oct. 16, in which a teacher was beheaded when leaving school, aroused strong emotion in France. A national tribute was paid to him. France has suffered repeated terrorist acts on its territory for several years, like Indonesia. President Emmanuel Macron has therefore presented a strategy which aims to isolate and fight against this terrorism, which takes the form of radical Islamism.
In the light of certain declarations and calls for a boycott of French products in recent days, it is my duty to denounce the erroneous or biased interpretations of President Macron’s speech. I will summarize the main points of his strategy, but above all I invite everyone to read this speech.
First, it is radical Islamism that is targeted. President Macron clearly identified the target of this strategy, an ideology – radical Islamism. All democracies and almost all member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference are fighting this radical Islamism, which is often an incubator for terrorism. This has been the case in France for several years, like in Indonesia.
Second, reaffirming secularism as the guarantor of freedom of conscience and of religion. The President recalled the importance of secularism, the cement of society in the Republic, which is the foundation of the freedom to believe or not to believe, the possibility to exercise one’s religion, and the neutrality of the state. Secularism is in no way means erasing religions from the public sphere.
Third, a clear refusal of generalizations. The President clearly indicated that he would be intransigent concerning any generalization, distinguishing the vast majority of French citizens of Muslim faith from the militant and separatist minority who are hostile to the values of the Republic. I want to say it again clearly : the first victims of radical Islamism are the Muslims themselves.
Fourth, support of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM). Main interlocutor of the state in France, the CFCM stated that “the values on which (…) our secular, indivisible, democratic and social Republic with its triptyque motto, ‘Liberty, equality, fraternity’ is built, allow us, Muslims of France, like all our fellow citizens, to practice freely our religion or not to practice any religion, to build our mosques and to fully enjoy our rights.” Finally, the CFCM states that “No ! We, Muslims, are not persecuted in France. We are full citizens in our country. Like all our fellow citizens, we have guaranteed rights and duties to fulfill.” The fight against terrorism is a complex and global issue which can only be fought through long-term work, requiring increased cooperation.
To conclude, I would like to reiterate that France’s position has always been to protect fundamental freedoms, reject hatred and fight against terrorism, just like its strategic partner, Indonesia.
The writer is French Ambassador to Indonesia.