France is again hit by an Islamist attack. No sooner had the country recovered from the shock of history teacher Samuel Paty’s beheading when the French were confronted with the news of the murder of three people in a basilica in the center of Nice. How the country will deal with this in the long term depends to a great extent on the administration of Head of State Emmanuel Macron.
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It is less about the immediate fight against terrorism. Since the attack in Nice, France once again has the highest level of terror warning. During the series of Islamic attacks in 2015 and 2016, in which more than 230 people died in France, the warning system was designed to protect the population. In the meantime, as has been shown again in recent days, the Islamist threat has never disappeared.
Murders are no longer planned according to the General Staff
However, the methods of the fundamentalists have changed, for example in contrast to the planned assassination attempt on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris in 2015: the simplest instruments are enough to spread fear among the population. In the face of this diffuse threat, the state in France must continue to defend itself. This is especially true for monitoring suspected threats.
Macron, however, must turn his attention to another point after the attack in Nice: the president must calm a political-Islamic debate in France that is becoming increasingly hysterical. That does not mean he should deviate from his course in defending freedom of expression. Samuel Paty was the first teacher to fall victim to Islamic terror. That is why it is correct that Macron upholds the freedom of cartoonists. But after the attack in Nice, the president is now finally facing a derailed discussion about the political environment of the Islamists.
“Islam Fascism” and “Islam Left Extremism”
The news of the attack in Nice was barely hours old when the conservative mayor of the city, Christian Estrosi, already denounced “Islamic fascism”. This battle term refers to fundamentalism, which repeatedly incites new perpetrators to bloody acts. However, it is just as useful to tackle jihadism as the term “Islamic left extremism” recently used by Macron’s Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer. Blanquer suggested that some of the left scene would secretly endorse Islamist bloody acts. If Macron does not take countermeasures, the polarization that the Islamists want threatens.