tv To the Point Deutsche Welle December 11, 2020 8:30am-9:00am CET
beethoven is for. beethoven is for. 322020 years or 50000 or verse 3 your own do you don't know. francis in a turbulent autumn with the pandemic only part of the reason ongoing street protests against police violence multiple terrorist attacks now president barack obama wants to take back control with legislation that critics see as a repressive turn to the right following terror attacks in october a new draft law to curb the influence of islamism would make it easier to inspect or shut radical mosques limit home schooling and otherwise widen the government's powers to restrict behavior deemed harmful to the values of the republic critics
see those values themselves as at risk of being undermined the legislation along with a draft security law is sparking pushback and protests are title today can france stop the cycle of violence. welcome to to the point it's a pleasure to introduce our guests both tsonga works for the berlin based think tank s.w. p. with a focus on counterterrorism policy in the european union and he says the islamist threat for europe remains high that france seems to have the wrong focus in its fight against terrorism. and great to have with us once again. she works as an author and journalist and says the anti-gun ism between the right wing conservatives and the left wing secular camps in france reveals the weaknesses.
country where the rules are democracy transparency responsibility dialogue compromise are still not solidly anchored. and we're very pleased to welcome us and been she is a sociologist at the university of life and she says france currently has a highly bellicose rhetoric that not only leads to extreme polarization but also prevents in-depth debate on historical and social issues. let me start by asking you. because you say you acknowledge that the threat is high the french government says that it is simply aiming at reinforcing principles of secularism and gender equality what's so misguided about. well it's the risk to conflate these much bigger social issues which do have to be tackled with the more specific threat of terrorism and i'm not saying that the reason some connection but
it would be advisable to rather be focused on specific counterterrorism measures and then have a separate debate as far as possible and as it's done now really sort of fosters polarization and really accentuates the sort of the polarization and polarization of course was one of the problems that you mentioned. you accuse the government of bellicose rhetoric but the prime minister firmly denies that this law is anti islam or even anti religion saying the goal is emancipation from religious fundamentalism in fact separation of religion and state is a long standing tradition in france it is true it's a it's a longstanding tradition but i think their words are very powerful so if you constantly use the word war in when you want to prevent something then it creates a kind of atmosphere that it's you know it has this. this feel like people
have this fear of being in a in a civil war and everybody agrees that the the the enemy comes from within but nobody takes the time to really define where and who the enemy is and this creates a very ambiguous situation which can become very dangerous for democracy. you say the rules of democracy are still not solidly anchored in france that will come as a surprise to many viewers who see france as one of the cradles of democracy and republicanism. yes the different crisis those is facing right now because there are many crisis not only islamism bringing up to the surface different structural problems that have been for 102030 years and one of the structural problem is an institutional problem the fact the power isn't concentrated in the hands of one man the president nowadays mcconnel at the expense of the parliament and also
the fact that the power is concentrated in one side which is paris at the expense of the region. is then matching the idea of compromise and of dialogue which is actually very important in a democracy the other structural problem that this crisis is showing is what you mentioned the tradition of secularism this tradition of secularism was normally intended to be a kind of framework for the relationship between states and the church and now it's being instrument allies against islam this is the 2nd structural problem and the 3rd would be the relationship that france has was it's called el paso brutal killer past and as far as hasn't really faced this history which of course creates resentment among the muslim community let's come back
to that in just a moment but i would 1st like to take a closer look at the threat to which the government is responding more than 250 people have died in terror attacks in france over the past 5 years that is more than any other western country during the same period. in mid october history teacher somewhere petite was killed in beheaded in the middle of the street in a paris suburb the perpetrator. islamist his motive the teacher had showed caricature of the prophet much. from the satirical magazine chart he did go during his lessons as an example of freedom of expression. that was followed by an attack on religious freedom less than 2 weeks later during a knife assault in a church 3 people were killed and several were injured. shortly before the stabbing the perpetrator had travelled illegally to france. a few days later friends
commemorated the $130.00 people killed and the hundreds injured in paris on nov 13th 2015 on that day multiple attacks were carried out at several locations in the city including a stadium and at a concert in the vatican theater the terrorist group took credit for the attacks which many french people view as an assault on their liberal values. there have been 260 islam is motivated attacks in france since 2012. the country is gripped by fear of another attack what are the right strategies in the fight against terrorism. yes you know how is it really so surprising that the french government resorts to martial rhetoric after dealing with this kind of a threat for 5 years. yes and no it's not surprising because france has also like you know had the tradition of brutal attacks and having recourse to.
repression in a certain way. but also no it should not be the answer i guess like to have a very very warlike myths over it that we have also seen in the war on terror right i mean like the. the the words are very important and i think we shouldn't we shouldn't let this happen that as if there was a civil war going on. i would like to add i mean the threat is considerable but we are really not in the same situation as in 2015 to 17 anymore so it doesn't help making this analogy is all the time but i call i mean there are things to be taken care of but at the current moment we had individual attackers improvised means who killed their a few people i don't want to really great this but we shouldn't be panicking in other words the scale of the threat now is smaller than it was at that time where we can all do well there will be
a new major attack but the last sequence of attacks has not been of the same quality and there isn't a need to respond forcefully just not in how has this series of attacks how has it affected the french society in general how is france changed let's say since of dough and. there really is a real demoing former or authority from the society and you can see actually that of course the evolution of this terrorist attack going hand in hand was the evolution of french society wanting more and more this kind of responses the mccraw and the government giving now to this society. and this separatism we're talking about you were mentioning the civil war or the government is actually fostering we must not forget actually where that comes from and. the muslim brothers had this and they are the 1st to use the vocabulary of them and us.
the infidels who deserve this so we should also be very aware of where the problem comes from i want to come back to the separatist aspect in just a moment but let me ask you to talk a little bit about the particular situation in france because as i understand it an unusually high share of european jihadists are in fact young frenchmen why is that what makes france unique well one could give a very long answer to that but 1st of all of course france has the biggest muslim population in europe and it does have some structural problems we heard about so there is a potential reservoir of native people who don't who are in search of a new identity of identity and that is exploited by certain actors so i would also say this is the 2nd part of the equation it's not only structural problems but also
active recruitment active ideology and fronts inherited some of this already in the ninety's from algeria and wars and there is a particular north african networks at work here so it's historically grown threats it's persisted serious. it's not of a new quality and hence i don't think there is a need to loft a lot of the law to repress it and. let me again come back to the topic of polarization because. touched upon the french government actually sees polarization as rooted in separatism saying that islamised social services radical mosques are creating parallel worlds and values that are diametrically opposed to the values of french republicanism is there something to that argument. i mean it's clear that there has been
a violent incident and brutal incident i mean there is and there are problems in that but at the same time to go back to this richar ache and say they started it and they're going to continue this it would only. suppression will only it will only increase violence again right i mean if if they started it then we will have to again go back to the roots of the problem which is not only them coffee but also like you know problems that you have also mentioned colonialism social problems racism so we we cannot just. just. say that there is a problem and we're just going to use oppression joe then you talked about french values values of democracy in your opening statement is there an argument here that if france truly wants to reinforce the fundamental principles of the republic it should be doing more for it got the t. and me today those 2 founding values equality and brotherhood.
i'm not sure actually the problems are really linked i would say it's much more linked to the past force and the problems france has to integrate the 2nd 3rd generation of those who came after the even more a specifically to from us one big problem of france is that they build cities in the parish very to you know to welcome these general these migrants coming from the former colonies so that. these won't you what when they moaned you and this was actually translated as suburbs yes it is which actually exposes as you know and so it's also also an urban mistake exclusion and i think this kind of his conclusion is even stronger than social inequality.
or are all you know it's this physical exclusion of muslim communities out of the city center. in one french village where numerous young people have actually joined the islamic state the mayor says that the government partly at least bears responsibility for doing too little to integrate them is this ultimately also about social exclusion and is a serious clampdown simply easier than perhaps putting into place the kind of social reforms that would really make a difference. well security measure is always better to communicate but of course to really do them effectively is maybe just as hard as promoting integration but you know i think every case a slightly different and i fully agree there is a problem with the bomb and you at the same time we also see that not all the
attackers have come from this kind of particular setting that we have cases like in the village where it's other forms of social network to drive people to attack so there's no one size fits all explanation what i would be in general more concerned about of france is that france has been late with preventive strategies and in comparison to strong repressive strategies they recognize it. is a topic of discussion but there is a lot of talk and seemingly very little structural changes happening afterwards and so i think that will be a very negative outcome of this debate if one's to change it but it might be just presidential declarations and no infrastructures to really make it happen. meanwhile parallel to this debate over the new law and islamism france has also been seeing ongoing protests over police violence and also over a new security law that would limit citizens' ability to film examples of police repression president is fond of saying that french democracy is color blind that if
you're a french citizen it simply absolutely doesn't matter what color your skin is is he wrong to say france have a problem with not only dealing with its colonial history but simply with racism michael is also the one he said. if you don't have to the. right color like the right skin color you are controlled 3 times more he also admits that there is a problem a structural problem racism problem within the police but also within the larger french community and it's very unfortunate that east. laws are discussed at the same time right i mean the law on the general security and the law against islam islam which is actually not named islamism it's it's used to be cold separatism and now we're like they are calling it again. strengthening the principles of republic
of the republic say republican principles so i think there micron or the general debate is not clear about which what who the enemy is again and the bait is very emotional so i think there are the actions that are extremely emotional from the side of the state that can really be a problem and make people who don't belong to the majority society in threat. would you say that france has a problem with systemic racism at least on the part of the police oh yes like like every country i mean you know are the one of the problem of the police abuses in france is also just linked also to the way the police is strange. there was since june this june of this year the training of the police has been reduced of from 12 in the school to 18 months so you see
a young polish man arriving and try you know to maintain the order an explosive situation having a rifle you know are sold frightful sometimes and they are not absolute is not trained in germany the focus is much more on ethic social skills and soft skills and this is not taught in from us so i don't know if the problem the racial structural problem is more worse in france than in germany but the preventive way to prevent it is of course. they're weak in front of us. not only from muslims within france but also from a number of countries abroad especially muslim countries there has been a backlash in reaction to the government's response to the recent terrorist attacks even including calls to boycott french goods why has this touch such
a nerve abroad and should not be worried well domestically and maybe only strengthens and but it takes 2 to tango maybe we could say i mean i wouldn't put the blame squarely on microland to sort of make an aggressive rhetoric and sort of al you made was sort of muslim countries i mean of course everyone was happy to jump on it and make his own domestic points for that and sort of sort of pretends he's the protector so i mean that's the trap we're seeing and so i think probably more cruel and selfish as assad would maybe domestically strengthened by it but for mr gigi point of view for europe as a whole i think would all be better served giving an offer to people who like to take up and say look they don't like us and i'm your leader after all even if you live in europe i think that's something we should really avoid so that may come back to the point that you made about it possibly strengthening mccraw domestically because the fact is following the latest terrorist attack security has high
priority not only for the president but also for many french citizens macaws crackdown on islam islam is supported by a majority of voters according to polls with a wide majority saying france is form of secularism in danger. people are citizens must be protected are citizens of islamic faith must be protected against the evil of radical islam. i'm saying this because the intention of the islamists the intention of these ideologues is to turn part of our population against the republic. and we cannot let that happen. but. as i'm in speaking of resonating with citizens and voters would you say that the vote on the new law on islamism which is scheduled for october 2021 is this very much about french elections and are we seeing essentially the french government
motivated as much by political opportunism as by principle. i think they the way the word has mobilized within the right wing since years is really trying to add it to the 3 pillars like they. did and to get like you see to as part of from. has been there already and i think michael is trying not to lose the. right to being part of the society and put a lot of emphasis on without taking the time again. to define what it is that what has been what what what it was historically and what it came to represent today being that unique french form of secularism. dean to what extent
can be sure of continuing domestic political support for this course if i look at recent polls they show 79 percent of the france french agree that islam islam is at war with france 72 percent of socialist voters also agreed with 90 percent on the center right that is pretty astonishing level of support do you think that will begin to wobble. well actually there is. inside the political families themselves. many of the lefts are actually traditionally very secular so they would be for a law on the separatism in the name of sacred reason but many another part of the list is actually defending the old so a little bit like you know the religion of the poor or the religion of the koran ised which is also a tradition on the list and on the right there is also
a separation in the right from the between those who defend religion you know. of cattle like circles and those like sarkozy for example or the minister of interior who are leading a real war for security them which is actually an excuse for a war against islam is and so it is instrumental izing secularism to actually lead a war again against islamism and we are celebrating this 150 years of the rule of separation of the state and the church 905 and this new law was announced on that very 1st yes yes but it is a perversion of this original let me take us back yes or you can speak to one moment but maybe because we're almost out of time combine it with another look at
our title we asked whether this can stop the cycle of violence what would be needed to stop it well 1st of all we are not in this terrorist violence cycle no i let me repeat this point we have attacks but we're not well we're so we are 1st to take a breath and calm down and i think that would be the 1st thing that should happen then yes we should separate these kind of debates about counterterrorism and wider structural debates as far as possible that would also help to diffuse the tension and let me ask about this domestic issue and not a french domestic policy expert but a colleague of mine made a very interesting analysis that showed well came to polls saying he's not right nor left but now the party system is so fragmented that that doesn't work anymore so he has to go to the right and there is actually a growing population in the countryside in contrast to many other countries the rural france is growing and that's also one of the reasons why he's probably going in this direction so all together i think let's just kind of of the steam and i
don't think france has to do anything actually you know do you think that mccaw can unite this very deep. why did a country divided not only by islamist separatism but i'm obviously very divided in other respects as well i don't think so not with a war restore ike he cannot do that and at the moment i think he is pushing also. the law that supposedly that is going to supposedly. ban filming the police and i think it's a very very forward wrong direction that michael is going to geraldine in 2 sentences the right approach well i redefined their freedom you know freedom is not only the freedom of expression soft but it's also the freedom for others to practice their religion thank you very much thanks to all of you for being with us today and thanks to you out there for tuning in see you soon.
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