The trial is ongoing. It’s been almost three weeks that morning, noon and evening the French have been reliving the Charlie Hebdo shooting on all their news channels. Five years later, each testimony twists the stomach and it is on this occasion that Friday morning a young Pakistani boy throws himself on two people who had gone out for a smoke at the foot of what had been the headquarters of Charlie and wounds them with a butcher knife and then runs away covered in blood and is soon arrested.

This new attack was so poorly prepared that the assailant, an amateur, was unaware that this building was no longer the Charlie’s, but what a shock, both psychological and political!

It started all over again. It would never end. What is to be done?

More than horrified, France is afraid and since then speaks only of the jihadist threat, which is called “Islamist” when it is not described, more simply, as “Islamic” or “Muslim”. The atmosphere is heavy, very heavy, so heavy that there are resounding calls from everywhere to raise the tone, to “name things” and to become aware that there would not be a greater danger for Europe today than this terrorism and the possibility of the “great replacement”: the replacement of Christians to Muslims. Any attempt to nuance things is immediately put down to “naivety” or cowardice, and we now hear moderate and perfectly cultured people asserting that there would be an “incompatibility between Islam and our values”, that of tolerance and freedom.

So, no!

At the time of the Inquisition, should it have been said that there was an incompatibility between Christianity and respect for the human person? And when the Church wondered, in good faith, if the Indians of the New World had a soul, did this prove that Catholicism was in itself devoid of humanity?

To ask these two questions is to answer them. Every religion, including that of love of the other, has had its dark hours, its crazy preachers and its moments of fanaticism, but that is not all.

Are these Frenchmen, and who knows how many other Europeans with them, who see nothing but terror and savagery in Islam, unaware that for many centuries there was infinitely more tolerance in the ummah than in Christianity? Have they forgotten what the barbarity of the Crusades was like? Do they not know that it is thanks to Islam and its scholars open to all currents of ideas that the texts of Greek philosophy have come down to us? Do they also ignore what we owe to Arab medicine and mathematics?

In a word, are we at the point where it is necessary to recall, to repeat, to hammer home that Islam radiated a brilliant civilization when Christian Europe had sunk into darkness and that we cannot condemn as incompatible with freedom the religion that had carried so much science, art and poetry, including erotic poetry?

Yes, it’s true, one might say, but that was a very long time ago, and today…

Well today, the Muslim worlds, it is a fact, are in chaos. They are trying to escape at the same time from their dictatorships, from their backwardness and from a Western pre-eminence that they have rarely found occasion to be happy about. Like China or Russia, they are hoping for a return to the forefront of the international arena and this gives rise to the bloody delusions of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic state as well as the immense demonstrations of the Arab spring of 2011, when these peoples did not take to the streets, under fire, in favour of the Sharia but in favour of the rule of law, of liberties and democracy.

These chaoses of the Muslim worlds are frightening because they constitute a real and terrifying threat, but before making Islam the enemy to fight, let us remember that the first victims, in number, of Islamist terrorism are Muslims; that the dream of the jihadists is to make us declare a war on Islam that they are convinced they can win and that the Charlie Hebdo killers, those of yesterday and today, must not make us forget that integration works, in France as in the rest of Europe.

At the counters of banks, post offices and administrations, there is a mass of young descendants of Muslim immigrants, their third generation. In hospitals, it is no longer nurses but doctors who bear names from the Maghreb and the Mashreq, and in morals as well in the number of children, young Muslims – of Muslim origin and increasingly less religious – are no longer very different from the children of Christian families.

There will be other attacks. In spite of the mobilization of the intelligence services, it is unfortunately certain. It is largely unavoidable, but the greatest service we can render to jihadists would be to look at every young Muslim as potential terrorists and to make of them the enemy they are not.

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