It is assuredly the case that you’ve heard enough about the novel Coronavirus and the annoying US election. It seems, looking at any front page, the media is overwhelmingly consumed with those issues, but a dramatic and violent event has been unfolding since October 16 which the world seems to be totally ignoring.
Not only is it a dramatic event but it has dramatic implications, and here it seems, that the significance of the event has been lost on the media. Maybe it’s because it’s across the ocean, what does a Canadian need to know about that? Then again, what does a Canadian need to know about the US election? There are other things going on, which are just as important or even more important.
Here’s a story, in 2015, an attack in Paris was sparked by cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed printed by magazine Charlie Hebdo. The trial of the suspects of the attack began this year, to commemorate it, Charlie Hebdo republished the cartoons. Little did they realize what was to come. On October 16, French teacher Samuel Paty, was murdered and beheaded by an extremist after he showed the cartoons in class to incite debate about free speech.
Consequently, protests ensued in Paris and all over France proclaiming that they would not surrender to terrorism. Whilst the media continues to pump out the regular stuff about the novel Coronavirus and relentlessly address the American election, the ensuing event has been sidelined or not discussed at all.
“Samuel Paty … became the face of the republic of our will to shatter terrorists, to do away with Islamists, to live like a community of free citizens in our country. We will continue…” French President Emmanuel Macron said. Macron promised to fight “Islamist separatism.” However, “Islam is a religion that is in a crisis all over the world today…” was Macron’s most inflammatory statement. Then Macron’s pal, Erdogan, escalated the situation.
Macron needs “treatment on a mental level” Turkish President Erdogan responded, “Muslims are now subjected to a lynch campaign similar to that against Jews in Europe before World War II.” Erdogan decried Macron’s statements as “Islamophobia” and said, “It’s like they want to start the crusades again.”
Erdogan’s response triggered the French to recall the French ambassador from Ankara, which is pretty bad just by itself. Other Islamist leaders compared the “Islamophobic” content to Holocaust denial and said that the blasphemous cartoons should be banned in France and called for a boycott of French goods.
Macron did not just speak though, he acted, in a manner revolutionary for a European leader, and certainly newsworthy one would think. French authorities began cracking down on Islamist organizations and radicalization networks. France has so far shut down 70 mosques and other places linked to organizations considered to be radical in nature.
As a consequence, religious violence surged. In Nice, several people were knifed. In Lyon, an Orthodox priest was shot. More attacks raged in Paris. A Remembrance Day ceremony by the French consulate in Saudi Arabia was attacked with an explosive!
When in Vienna a radical Islamic gunman went on a rampage, Austria joined France’s struggle and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he expected an end to “misunderstood tolerance” in Europe. Austrian authorities have imitated France in cracking down and so the event spread to all of Europe.
“This is our Europe. Our enemies must know who they are dealing with. We will not give up anything,” Macron defiantly said via Twitter following the events in Vienna.
There was some reconciliation though, in case the reason for the silence is it’s too controversial for them. “Let us not fall into the trap laid by … extremists, who aim to stigmatize all Muslims,” Macron has said. This conflict is not one between Austrians and migrants, but between “civilization and barbarity,” Kurz said. After the stabbing in Nice, Turkey extended its condolences.
However, massive Muslim protests have broken out, especially in Islamic countries, over the cartoons, Macron’s response, and the actions taken. Although, some Muslims agreed with Macron. “…’ Islam is in crisis’ is not an anti-religious phrase. There is a phenomenon called political Islam and the world is experiencing the brunt of its violence,” according to Egyptian writer Farouk Yousef.
Speaking of Egyptians, has anyone heard about the Egyptian spy charged in Germany for spying on Chancellor Merkel? Numerous important events are underway in Eurasia, for instance, an investigation of war crimes committed by Australian commandos. Also, not only have the two sides in the Libyan civil war agreed to a ceasefire, they’ve agreed to hold elections in 18 months.
In the end, the conflict has become one between all of Europe and political Islam. The event is a dramatic shift in European politics to assuage the discontent that has arisen over the past decade and crickets from the media.
Artwork (left) courtesy of R. J. Matson
Photo (right) courtesy of astroAwani