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Portrait of Jeannette Bougrab, head of the cultural action department at the French Embassy in Finland and writer, posing for Le Figaro, on the occasion of the release of her book “Jeannette Bougrab Maudites”, published by Albin Michel.

FIGAROVOX/INTERVIEW – The modus operandi of the alleged terrorist who killed two young women in Marseille is particularly worrying, judges the essayist*.

THE FIGARO. – An attack took place on Sunday at Saint-Charles station in Marseille. Two women were killed...

Jeannette BOUGRAB. – Raw horror! Targeting women by cutting their throats and disemboweling them, as in the mountains of Blida, Algeria, in the 1990s, is not insignificant. It has political significance. According to Ali Harb, a Lebanese philosopher, violence in Islam is multiplied because its religious doxa is structured around two notions: purity and defilement. In Islam, women are considered unclean. To attack women is to respond to a literal reading of the Koran. When the international community was outraged at the rapes committed by the Islamic State, their leaders objected that they were responding to a prescription: "Everyone must remember that enslaving Kuffar families and taking their wives as concubines is an firmly established by Sharia. And that by denying it or mocking it, we would be denying or mocking the verses of the Koran. Even a Muslim woman does not exist alone. Married, she is suspected of arousing masculine instincts. So it must hide under more or less complete veils. As for the equality to which French law has accustomed us, it does not exist in Muslim countries. Woman is inherently inferior. The most incredible thing is that there are French feminists to justify it. How can their prose be published in newspapers that hoist the cause of women as a banner?

The degree of civilization of a country is measured by its respect for women. However, we are witnessing an escalation in France: women are chased from the streets and cafes and now have their throats cut and disembowelled. What freezes my blood in the aftermath of this butchery in Marseille is the very important symbolic turning point that it initiates. We thought that this barbarism would stop at the borders of Algeria, Iraq or Syria. Today, it affects France. Tomorrow other women will be murdered in atrocious conditions. You would have to take to the streets to shout that to bruise women is to murder the very body of France.

“What freezes my blood in the aftermath of this butchery in Marseille is the very important symbolic turning point that it initiates”

Jeannette Bougrab

Since 2015, there have been countless attacks of this type. Are we witnessing a trivialization? A resignation?

It was enough to watch the news channels on Sunday: this incredible barbarity was relegated to the background compared to Catalonia. More than resignation or trivialization, we must speak of denial. We dare not name the evil for fear of being accused of racism or “Islamophobia”. The slaughter and disembowelment of these women reminds me of the beginning of the FIS violence in Algeria at the end of the 1980s and the speech of François Mitterrand who explained this violence by the absence of a democratic process in this country. At the time, the French elites did not want to see reality in its monstrosity. This resulted in 300.000 deaths in 10 years. Similarly, after the suburban riots in 2005, it was explained that in Marseilles, there was a model of integration that worked, a desire to live together through the Marseilles identity. And we realize today that no part of the national territory is protected from Islamist barbarism.

In your new book, you draw a parallel with the war in Algeria. Why?

The war in Algeria represented a turning point because terror was deliberately sown in the civilian population. FLN fighters attacked soldiers as well as children and even pregnant women. Contemporary terrorism partly draws its origins from the Algerian war, more precisely from the religious dimension of the struggle for independence – a dimension that has long been concealed in favor of the nationalist dimension to which it could not however be reduced. In 2016, in a courageous book, leftist Jean Birnbaum criticized his own political family for what he called their “religious silence”. In his eyes, the left refuses to admit the religious basis of the attacks on France for fear of creating an amalgam between Islam and terrorism which could play into the hands of the National Front. According to him, this quasi-Pavlovian reflex finds its explanation in the unsaid of the Algerian war, including, in particular, the concealment of the real nature of the FLN, namely the rooting of this movement in the Islamic faith. “The Algerian revolution is founded and built on respect for the principles of Islam,” proclaimed the FLN at the time. This movement imposed on its fighters a religious rigor: prohibition of tobacco, alcohol, gambling and cut nose to those who were caught smoking during Ramadan! For fear of disqualifying this politico-military independence movement, the left preferred to silence the religious dimension of Algerian nationalism. Yet violence that is exercised in the name of God is not just any violence. It is far from being innocuous. We are the heirs of this unsaid.

So what can we do to prevent history from repeating itself?

There are very concrete things to do beyond incantations. How is it that a young delinquent, who has tried several times to go to Syria, is released with an electronic bracelet and that he can, without being worried, go and slaughter Father Hamel in a church? What was the Tunisian who murdered these two young women in Marseille doing on the territory? Not only was he in an irregular situation, but also known to the police! This kind of case should not exist. It is necessary, in the name of the precautionary principle, to be able to deprive of freedom any person directly or indirectly linked to a terrorist organization. We must reduce the discretion of judges who are likely to release radicalized individuals. This requires a change of mentality on the part of the magistrates. Moreover, as Judge Trévidic himself puts it very well, the legal texts are no longer adapted to the situation. And what is dramatic in France is that there is always an explanation to justify and clear the perpetrators of attacks or the Islamists who feed terrorism. When Danièle Obono, MP for Paris (Les Insoumis), explains that a RATP driver who refuses to drive a bus after a woman is not necessarily radicalized, but may simply be "sexist", she plays the useful idiot, not to say the accomplice, of the Islamists. As well as the nineteen supposed intellectuals who, in Le Monde, led the charge against Kamel Daoud, guilty of having denounced the sexual misery of the Muslim world – intellectuals who excused the perpetrators of the sexual assaults in Cologne. Since Sartre, this “complicity” has been specific to the left-wing intellectual from Saint-Germain-des-Prés or elsewhere. Formerly, Alain Badiou welcomed the arrival of the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh, which caused the death of two million people. Today, French intellectuals should learn from intellectuals of Muslim culture who suffered the horror of the civil war in Algeria: Kamel Daoud, But also Boualem Sansal, who despite the threats to his life does not allow himself to be impressed either by the imams who call for murder, or by the leaders of a certain French left who have corrupted the anti-racist movement to make it a tool of oppression.

* Just published "Letter of exile: barbarism and us" (Editions du Cerf, 2017, 224 p., 18 €).

Source: © Le Figaro Premium – Jeannette Bougrab: “Despite the Islamist attack in Marseille, the denial continues”

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