History and Historiography

Secularism is an Illusory Defense against the Islamist Will to Conquer

By Jean-Marie Rouart, TELOS

In the face of a very real Islamist threat that has led to violence and which the proposed law on “separatism” attempts to address, it is interesting to try to raise the level of the debate. It is necessary to inquire calmly into a question that worries those thinkers least inclined to emotional reactions. In contrast to a Christianity drained of its former ambitions, why is it that Islam has not given up its virulent proselytism and instead appears to pose a threat for the future?

This is a threat that de Gaulle already recognized in one of his extraordinary communications to Alain Peyrefitte, when he declared: “We are after all a European people of the white race, Greco-Latin culture, and the Christian religion.” And he considered Algerian independence necessary to prevent his village from being one day renamed “Colombey-the-two-Mosques”—which does not at all mean that he intended to exclude other “races” or religions.[2] He understood France too well to endorse a narrow or xenophobic vision of it.

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