For years, French daily Le Monde was one of the pillars of France’s large-scale campaign of silence regarding the greatest problem the country, Europe and the West in general have with radical Islam: Faced with increasing violence on the part of large immigrant Arab and Muslim communities in the Parisian suburbs, France’s elites and the local establishment have created an alternate reality in which one cannot call the problem by its name.
Terrorism wasn’t really terrorism, but a reflection of an inferiority complex, cultural differences and the challenges of assimilation. The constant cause of Muslim violence was eternal colonialism. Muslims could not be murderers and criminals because they were forever destined to remain victims of Western supremacy and sovereignty. And, of course, the murder of Jewish men and women by Muslims is never an expression of Muslim anti-Semitism, but the result of temporary insanity brought on by the excessive use of drugs or the onslaught of an unexplained psychotic attack.
With the trauma of the Notre Dame Cathedral fire still burning fresh in the nation’s collective mind, Le Monde appeared to change direction, daring to publish the findings of a government report that determined that in 2018, France saw another dramatic increase in the number of anti-Christian attacks, including the desecration and destruction of churches and cemeteries.
In 2018, France recorded 1,063 anti-Christian attacks compared to 1,038 the previous year. Over 1,000 attacks per year, Le Monde emphasized in its report, meaning an average of three per day. This is in contrast to the 541 reported anti-Semitic and 100 anti-Muslim incidents reported over the same time. The report notes that in a majority of these incidents it was Christian structures and statues that were desecrated, though there were also a few dozen break-ins and incidents of property theft at churches across the country.
The reasons for these anti-Christian attacks vary, according to the report, and they are often perpetrated by satanic cults, anarchists and neo-Nazis. But there is also evidence of anti-Christian activity by Muslims.
It should be noted that France’s Christian conservative media reported on the government’s finding two weeks ago, prior to the Notre Dame fire. Le Monde’s decision to reference the report at this time is a sign that outside the right-wing segments of French society the realization that silencing serious social and security problems does not help resolve but rather exacerbates them is beginning to seep in. The French may have fought to separate church and state, but that does mean they intend to bury their religion.
The lesson here should be fairly straightforward: Those who remain silent on the murder and persecution of Christians in distant countries like Nigeria, Syria, Algeria, Indonesia and Sri Lanka will find themselves persecuted at home. While there is no evidence that the Notre Dame fire was deliberate, the incident has opened a Pandora’s box for the silencers and the silent, sparking a public debate over the persecution of Christians in the very heart of Catholic Europe.
This discussion should not stir hatred, but it must redraw the borders of what French society is and is not willing to tolerate. Those who want to immigrate to France must adjust themselves to French society, and not the other way around. To the chagrin of our supposedly liberal media, this should also hold true for the rest of Europe and Israel as well.
Eldad Beck is an Israeli journalist and author.
This article first appeared on Israel Hayom.