Terrorist attacks are nothing new in France. Ever since the deadly Islamic raid on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015, the French police have counted at least 20 serious terrorist attacks carried out by Islamists, resulting in 250 deaths.
Yet the wave of attacks which France has suffered in the last few days are a special case.
We must speak of a civilizational clash of two dogmas which cannot live side-by-side. On one side, we have the secular Republic which is based on freedom of speech and freedom from religious symbols in the public space. Without these values, France would contradict its own identity.
On the other side, we have Islam which does not permit depictions of God and his prophets, especially in the form of caricatures.
By accepting millions of migrants for two generations, Paris was convinced that the former ideal will easily win because everyone will want to live “French”, embrace modern ideals, and learn to love the prosperity that France offered.
This prediction turned out to be false. Partly due to permanent economic stagnation and high unemployment, there were not enough rightful places in French society for everyone, especially when many of the French themselves struggled with economic upheaval. Muslim migrants were therefore living apart from society from the very beginning.
Emmanuel Macron himself admitted this by declaring war on “Islamic separatism” and its attempts to construct a community in French society which is governed by its own laws. He also announced the subjection of mosques and their imams to French authorities. He believes that “French Islam” can be created.
Things have gotten so out of hand, however, that such a plan remains doubtful. A huge divide has grown between the Republic and radical Islamists. This conflict is being expanded by the Islamists against the Church, which means that they are aiming to destroy not only secularism, but also the entire Christian heritage of the West.
There is much that points to both sides becoming increasingly radicalized. We might even see a huge limit being imposed on France’s open migration policy. Hardening relations with Turkey may also be a harbinger of a huge shift in Paris’s foreign policy towards the Muslim world.
And maybe Paris may even pursue a rapprochement with Warsaw with its policy of rejecting mass migration.