Terror's Double Entendre
The Guardian reported that, “France is boosting security at Jewish religious sites after blank bullets were fired on a synagogue west of Paris, and amid renewed concerns about anti-Semitism around the country.”
That’s a good thing, absolutely. In fact it’s brilliant that the French state is stepping up security at a place of worship, nobody should be attacked for practising their right to worship or because of the faith they follow, something the secular French state allows for (putting aside the debate on religious attire).
But I am also very angry. “Why am I also very angry?” you may ask. Good question.
I am also very angry because some idiot thought it apt to fire blank bullets at a Synagogue. And I am also very angry, because I don’t remember seeing security stepped up after another idiot (or maybe the same idiot?) decided to throw a Molotov cocktail at a Mosque in the same country.
So what was the reaction after the Molotov cocktail incident? Saphir News reports that, ‘Police are conducting an inquiry in order to shed light on this attempted arson,’ and ‘the mayor of Libourne [where the incident happened] plans to invite all the town's religious authorities, "so that we can all make a vow of fraternity and respect towards citizens"’.
Do blank bullets trump Molotov cocktails? Both can be deadly. So why the different responses?
Surely, the long list of Islamophobic incidents occurring in France would necessitate a stepping up of security at Muslim religious sites?
Some of these incidents include repeated death threats aimed at Imams and community leaders. Other incidents include arson of Mosques and Muslim businesses. Many other incidents are acts of vandalism. The French should be reminded (I’m sure they know anyway), that if nothing is done to ensure the rights of French Muslims are protected, they could end up with a murder scene the next time French police are called to a mosque. Earlier this year, an Imam in Belgium died in an arson attack on a Mosque.
The answer lies in how the French classify the acts of violence and in turn, one would guess, their responses to attacks on Synagogues and attacks on Mosques.
Put simply, an attack on a Synagogue is seen as an act of terror. You know, al-Qaeda-type terror and not mindless violence and criminality,that attacks on Mosques and Muslims are seen as. The French President said as much. The Week reported that, ‘[President] Hollande responded by vowing the “total mobilisation of the state to fight all terrorist threats”’ after violent criminal acts took place against Jews and Jewish sites in the country.’
So unless Islamophobia is ‘upgraded’ as a threat by the French state, French Muslims shouldn’t expect much assistance from the French state in fighting Islamophobia.
And there you have it. Arson, violence and death threats aimed at Muslims are obviously not terroristy enough to be taken as seriously as arson, violence and death threats aimed at Jews.