‘From Islam in France to Islam of France: The Politics of Managing Religious Issues in the French Context’

By

Professor Gilles Kepel

Professor at Sciences-Po

Expert on Islam and Middle East Affairs

12 – 1pm, Tuesday 20th November 2012

Committee Room 8, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

To attend please RSVP to: clarissa.perkins@henryjacksonsociety.org

With one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe, dealing with the challenges that arise from the divergence between French secularism and the religious sentiments of its Muslim community is something that the French government has wrestled with for many years. Following the passage of a law in October 2010 which banned the wearing of face veils in public, has the concept of laïcité, characterised by a lack of government involvement in religious affairs, been fatally undermined? The firebombing of the offices of the satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ in November 2011 over the publication of cartoons featuring Muhammed, and the angry responses to the banning of protests against the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film make clear that this is an issue which requires careful handling, whilst the deadly attacks carried out by the Islamist-inspired terrorist Mohamed Merah highlight the home-grown dangers that exist in France today.

By kind invitation of Rory Stewart MP, The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to a discussion with Professor Gilles Kepel, a Professor at Sciences-Po and an expert on Islam and Middle Eastern Affairs. With his unique knowledge of Islam in France, Professor Kepel will give an overview of the rise of religion-based tensions in France. He will discuss the interaction between the ideals of the secular republic and the religious institutions and practices of France’s Muslim community, arguing that the overlap between the two value systems is diminishing. Professor Kepel will then proceed to propose what the most immediate steps should be to ensure peaceful and prosperous co-existence between the two.

TIME: 12 – 1pm

DATE: Tuesday 20th November 2012

VENUE: Committee Room 8, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

To attend please RSVP to: clarissa.perkins@henryjacksonsociety.org

Biography

Gilles Kepel is Professor at Sciences-Po Paris and an expert on Islam and Middle East Affairs. Professor Kepel holds degrees in Arabic, English and philosophy, a PhD in sociology and a PhD in political science. He holds or has held visiting professorships at the London School of Economics and Political Science, New York University and Columbia University. Professor Kepel is the author of many highly regarded books, including The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West and Beyond Terror and Martyrdom: The future of the Middle East, and is a regular contributor to such renowned publications as Le Monde, The New York Times, La Repubblica, and El Pais.

 

Transcipt 

Rory Stewart MP

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you very much for coming. We are extremely lucky to have Professor Gilles Kepel with us today and I am looking forward very much to this because usually we hear the professor talk about the Middle East, and of course he has just returned from a very interesting trip which included Syria and Bahrain. But today, he is going to focus on something which I feel has very direct relevance to us in Britain, and indeed to Europe in general, which is the relationship between French social policy and the breakout of unrest, particularly in Seine Saint-Denis, in 2005. So, I am going to leave the professor to elaborate further upon it, but essentially French policy from 2001 involved an attempt to reclaim what the French call the lost territories to the Republic. That was a large attempted urban redesign, and four years later rather than the [inaudible] policies being revealed in peace and stability, they instead led to an outburst of rioting and the professor has now led a very serious in-depth investigation into this phenomena.

For those of you who are not familiar with the professor, I am just going to give you a brief run through his life. He is a professor at Science Po in Paris, he has degrees, more degrees than you can believe in Arabic, English, philosophy, a PhD in Sociology, and a PhD in political science. He has been a professor at the LSE, NYU (New York University of Columbia), and is the author of the ‘The War for Muslim Minds’, ‘Beyond Terror and Martyrdom’, a number of other books and writes for Le Monde, New York Times, La Repubblica and El Pais. For all these reasons we are very, very lucky to have him here today. He is going to speak for about 20 minutes and then we will moderate some questions. Thank you. Professor Kepel.

Professor Kepel

Thank you, thank you very much. Thank you very much for inviting me to the Henry Jackson Society, for the second time, I think. [inaudible] Let’s hope there is going to be a third time. Thank you Rory for accepting to chair and share this session with me. We look up to your presence in Parliament; you’re one of the foremost experts of the Arab and the Muslim world so we wish we would also have people like you in the French parliament. But I like to see you as a role model on our side of the channel.

As Rory just said, I will briefly introduce to you the way in which the French political system has dealt with, or is trying to deal with, the issue of Islam in France. As you know, from the start, Islam in France is not taken into consideration the same way that it is in Britain. For instance, you have figures saying that there is a number of Muslim MPs at the House of Commons. In France, no one would dare say that there are French MPs, or in French society as a whole, there is no such thing legally as a Muslim, Christian, as a Jew or what have you. I mean, there are no ethnic statistics. It is not allowed by law and you are not allowed to ask people their religion in the general census.

So, nevertheless, since the 1920s approximately there has been a significance presence in France coming from, at the time, the French colonial empire, who identified themselves as Muslims, something which also happened in Britain. The French state was keen to have a sort of representative body for that which was the French Grand Mosque in Paris which was opened on the fifteenth of July. For those who don’t know France, the 15th is the day after the 14th of July and Bastille Day. It was a means to reach out to what was called the Francophile, Muslim elite, to thank Muslim soldiers symbolically who had died en masse during World War 1 for the French and the allies, and also to reach out to people who would be favourable to a French colonial presence in North Africa against independence movements that used the language of Islam to rally their supporters.

This phenomenon of course changed after independence, even though the Grand Mosque remained under French control for some time. From 1972 onwards it was devoted to Algerian government representatives. In the 1980s, the institutional representation was farmed out to a foreign state, i.e. Algeria, which has a very strong and complex relationship with France, but nevertheless it was a foreign state. The issue at the time was mainly an issue of public order as 1982 was three years after the revolution in Iran. There were fears that there were threats from the Islamic Republic and therefore French authorities believed that they could side with the Algerians in a common attitude vis-à-vis threats coming from Iran. Well, things could not go on that way when the Algerian civil war broke out and therefore the French were keen to build a sort of French institution that would be representative of the Muslims as we have the Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Jewish Consistory and others.

The design, first and foremost, was to care about issues that have to do with the organisation [inaudible] food that requires special supervision. The problem was with a population of French citizens of Muslim descent that was significantly increasing due to legal immigration in the mid 1970s, and then due to family reunion and illegal and undocumented immigration. These are trends which are comparable with what has happened in Britain. Therefore, the need was felt to deal in a more accurate way with that population. The difference between the aim and the purpose of the Islamic representative body to that of the Jewish or Christian one was that in Parliament there were members of the French Parliament who were from Jewish, Protestant or Muslim decent, even though it was not politically relevant to express it, but you had no one that was from Muslim descent. Even though from the mid-1990s onwards up to the present the proportion of French residents from Muslim descent who became French citizens increased significantly. Nowadays, the majority of Muslims in France are French citizens but until very recently, until the last general elections of June 2012, there was no Member of Parliament that was from Muslim descent. This changed this year; we have 6 members of Parliament who say they are from Muslim descent. Their families came from Northern and Central Africa. To that extent it means that the Parliament which symbolises the political body, the representation of the French people, have now come over this major discrepancy. It has broken the glass ceiling if you wish; it did not allow for [inaudible] reasons, for some parts of the population, anyone coming from their ranks.

This is not to say that in French political discourse people would accept that you have a representation of minorities per se, this is abhorrent to the political discourse. There is a consensus in France against the fact that you have MPs for Muslims, Jews, MPs for Women, and MPs for what have you. The issue was that it was felt unbearable that absolutely no one from Muslim descent was a Member of Parliament, whereas the French population of Muslim descent is probably around 5 million people today. This makes France the biggest Muslim country in Europe if I may say so. This was one trend on a legal dimension. The second issue was that, going back to a representative body that has to deal with religion and the representation of Islam as such, until 2012 as I just mentioned as there was no representation of anyone from Muslim descent in Parliament, so this body in a way functioned as a political body. It was actually quite unable to do so. Therefore, the French state was at odds to define its role. Originally, it was created under [inaudible], Francois Mitterrand as something like CFCM – the representation of Islamic France. The issue was not to have the Algerian state to control it. [Inaudible] Therefore, there was a paradox of many people in France, educated in France, from parents who were immigrant workers and were not interested. They would rather go out in the society at large and do other jobs. They were not interested in the issue of institutionalisation of Islam. The ones that jumped on the bandwagon and seized this opportunity were mainly Muslim Brothers coming from North Africa, from the Maghreb, who were born in these countries and would then come to France to study at university. The paradox was that instead of having a French Islam, we had a body that organised the structure, but was under the control of opponents to the regime in their country of origin, something which led to a rather bizarre situation where a number of political entrepreneurs in France were suddenly interested in having those people side with them and in having them influence voters from the same religious descent. Because Muslim Brothers were perceived as more conservative and hostile to the left, they were courted by the French Right and by Nicholas Sarkozy, who thought that would help voters from Muslim descent to vote for his party. Whereas most voters from this descent tended to vote for the Left because they identified socially with the working class, or the ideals of the leftist French political parties. That actually led to a number of contradictions. They did not garner the votes that they expected.

The present body that deals with the representation of French Islam, CFCM, has undergone a major crisis. The strangest of paradoxes is that the body that was originally created not to have the Algerian state to control it, has now gone under the control of the Moroccan state and therefore the French state is somehow caught in a state of paradox, contradiction. The challenge from the new government, the Hollande government, is to be able to create a new body which is under the guidance of the new generation of French Muslims, of the sons and daughters of the immigrant workers, those who are born in France and identify with France. They would be much more in tune with the aspirations of the young generation. This is an important challenge. On the one hand you have some sort of political representation in Parliament; you have that body which is in the making, and in the meanwhile you have those looming social problems in the outskirts of big cities to which Rory referred to earlier on.

In 2005, while Britain was busy with 7/7, we were busy with something else. The comparison of the two is interesting. We did not have terrorism as such. We had a major social movement that even though it took place during Ramadan, and even though that some of its dimensions used the political parts of Islam, i.e. people gathered around mosques and things like that, nevertheless, as opposed to what was in [inaudible] and others it was not an Islamic take-over. There were no Al-Qaeda brigades, but it was a shock for French society. It was perceived, if you remember, that it was a wide-spread phenomenon amongst the deprived areas of French society, where people would set fire to schools, cars and what have you. It was a major riot. We in France refuse to call it ‘Muslim Riots’ as [inaudible]. But then we had to deal with that issue. What was envisioned at the time was to try to answer those riots with social measures and political measures, and to consider that actually this phenomenon was not so much a break with French society, but to bargain for more inclusion, social and political inclusion, in French society. To an extent this is how social policies towards the outskirts in the second half of the 2000s were implemented.

Now, this year, we were faced with another phenomenon which took place during the French presidential campaign that brought home-grown terrorism into French society, and France is, I believe is, still living under the trauma of that phenomenon because much has been done to deal with the issue which was originally considered as a foreign phenomenon. It was Islam in France as if it was a foreign implant into France, yet it’s from the Islam of France where we had the Mohammad Merah case of terrorist action in Toulouse and Montauban. This was a young man born in France from an Algerian family who after a life of petty crime converted or reconverted to a Salafi understanding of Islam in prison, and who was attracted to the Middle East and travelled in radical-controlled areas, who came back to France and killed in two different rounds of killing. First French soldiers from North African and Muslim descent for punishing them for serving in Afghanistan and for being traitors, and then went on a shooting spree killed that three pupils in a Jewish school in Toulouse, and one of their instructors. This created a major trauma. This was duplicated last month when a French convert to Islam was shot by the police after he was sought after, because he had thrown a grenade into a Jewish shop some weeks back.

So, we’re caught with that phenomenon which I believe has also something to do with Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries, i.e. how can we manage, how can we balance, the fact that we have nowadays in western European societies a significant amount of the population which is perfectly at home in European society, which is part of the European puzzle, which is from Muslim descent, which entered Parliament and so forth, and the fact that at the margin of that population, and within the ranks of those who are born in Europe, those who have converted to the radical brand of religion, Salafism, that we are now having to face. This phenomenon has very important backlash and effects hostility to the visibility of Islam in France. This year, after the Merah affair we [inaudible] have just skyrocketed. So we are caught with a very difficult issue here. To an extent, I believe it would be extremely useful for European public policy-makers’ in different countries to exchange notes on that. After 7/7 in Britain the whole public approach to it was seriously challenged and issues that were as taboo before, like the issue of Britishness and so forth, were put on the table.

So, I believe this is one of the very important challenges we face. We are part of a changing world. French Muslims are mainly from Arab descent which is not the case in this country. For us the Arab Spring originally led to a lot of hopes that there would be democracy at home in France and democracy for the cousins and family that were left in Tunisia and where have you. But nowadays, the fact that the aftermath of the Arab Spring has led to an uprising of Salafi movements has led to the unsettling of social fabric in Tunisia and Egypt and so forth. The backlash effect, the spill-over, is a matter for concern. Facing these issues we have those new instruments, the fact that we have MPs from that background. The question is of the role they can play as role models, how they could deflect violence, how they could promote upwards social mobility and the issue of the new bodies for the representation within the general framework of French secularism. So, these were the few elements, bullet points, which I wanted to display as an introduction and now I am pleased to have a session for questions [inaudible] Thank you.

Rory Stewart MP

Thank you Professor. Since we have unfortunately only half an hour, I am not going to abuse my position as a chair and ask the first question myself. I hand over to you. Gentleman in the corner.

 

Question 1

I apologise for the late arrival. One of the signs of success of ethnic integration in to country is usually when the immigrant group adopts the same birth rate as the host culture. [Inaudible] in France, is the birth rate dropping or are we keeping up the high [inaudible] in certain town and cities [inaudible]

Professor Kepel

The birth rate in North Africa has gone down significantly over the last century, and significantly in France settled families from North African descents have seen their birth rates go down dramatically. Your average young woman born in France from Algerian descent that grew up in a family of seven or ten, has one, two or zero children. The birth rate has aligned with [inaudible]. The general birth rate, when you deal with peoples that have settled into France two or three decades ago as for the newcomers, i.e. people from Mali, Turkey, it is quite different. The birth rate is still very high. This is one of the reasons why the unrest of Northern Mali is such a nightmare for the French because the Mali immigrant population is probably the most fragile. It is composed of mainly young women who come to work in hotels who accept very low salaries; the buying power of this salary into Mali is huge. These are jobs that are not accepted by Africans who have settled and spent two decades in France. They still function in terms of child birth along the [inaudible] theme. Polygamy is still very present in that segment of the population. There we have families which are fractured, children who are not educated, mothers who work day and night and then you have a very fertile terrain for crime, marginalisation and there you have a significant increase in the birth rate. This is going to be a problem with which we have no experience that looks like what you had in Britain, the US, experienced in [inaudible] families that were broken and single mothers. This is another issue, but by and large after one generation, if you wish, the bulk of the population, i.e. North Africans, have more or less the same birth rate as the French; two kids and a dog, except they usually don’t keep dogs.

Question 2

The previous question actually asked a question about the residential concentration. My question is on the assumption that there is. Do you foresee that what is happening in France, you could argue is beginning to happen here. Although in many aspects, you could argue they are ahead in integration [inaudible] in the party [inaudible]. For example George Galloway formed a minority party which is exclusively a voice of Muslims, Muslims who are in some respect kind of alienated from mainstream society. Could that happen in France? The Christian Democratic Party in Germany could happen [inaudible].

Professor Kepel

Thank you. To go back to the first part of your question, and the second part of [inaudible] question to answer, It’s both, i.e. we have areas like Clichy-Montfermeil where I conducted this survey, and others where the population is predominantly from immigrant background. And that means as far as we are concerned from a Muslim background, which means that most jobs, say all butchers, are halal and so on and so forth. The restaurants are halal, it is impossible not to find halal food and this has led to a very strong backlash amongst the Muslim French. You know halal butchers have become a major theme for the extreme Right and this is one of the issues Marine Le Pen has campaigned on. Something that has to do with what is on your plate. The fact that people have mosques and synagogues has something to do with your spirit. The fact that butchers become halal is something that has to do with more intimate issues, and we have no time to get on to that, but the reason why there are so many is due to two factors. One, that your neighbourhood butcher was too expensive anyway compared to the meat which is sold in supermarkets, so they found no market, and the one who would buy the patents, the butcher’s authorisation, were Muslim butcher’s as they had access to a type of meat that is far less expensive and therefore there was a market for that which was different from the supermarket meat. At the time when families came in the late 1970s women, mothers, who came from North Africa, spoke no French and needed to find a shop where they would be understood, could not drive so would not go to the supermarket, and that led to this phenomenon that has developed significantly. The halal issue is now a big issue in France as it was in Britain much earlier. It’s a means to reinforce the barrier around a community in which halal eating, eating halal, is perceived as a claim and an issue of empowerment. The generation of fathers were ousted from the productive markets. They were put on the door, just like what has happened here. The generation of the children demonstrates its strength on the consumer market. We eat halal so we have to be reckoned with as a group and this is how we identify ourselves. This has led to a very strange development, a sort of ‘Kosherisation’ of halal if you wish. And on the other side organic. Halal in France is caught between the anvils of kosher and organic. Another thing is that it has led to, the French are very much into food and cuisine, is that there is halal cuisine. Many who are born here say we want to have Halal Beef Bourguignon, Canard Routille and not couscous. It’s a way of dispensing with mummy’s couscous. The Jews were into that also, couscous is not kosher [inaudible] is not kosher for North African Jews right. So, that’s one thing.

It’s a complex claim but this takes place mainly in poor outskirts and where mixed marriages, which were a great pride of France, do not happen anymore. The French think we are superior to you because we eat with everybody and we sleep with everybody as opposed to the Brits who do that behind closed doors. In Clichy-Montfermeil that does not happen anymore. You only eat halal with fellow Muslims even though they say we share, but that is not true. You do not intermarry anymore. It is completely different in the city centre where, on the contrary the population mixes freely, where you have many mixed couples and children who have a mother from North Africa and a father from France, domestic France, metropolitan France and so forth. This is a new sort of situation and the new generation of MPs come from the second part, i.e. from the ones that were integrated and mixed with the majority population. To a large extent they are not a problem as the upward social mobility functioned like it functioned for immigrants from East Europe and Southern Europe in the past. The problem is located, just like in Britain, in the areas where there is no significant mixing, where you have say pockets of poor, I would not like to say it but my English only allows me to say so, poor white trash populations which, as they say in America, are left aside and which clashes with the dominant Muslim population such as Rochdale phenomenon. This is where we have a major problem with a looming far-right phenomenon which is now concentrating and using the recession and issues of unemployment, concentrating on these issues and which is campaigning on the theme that the state is doing too much for immigrants. That we pay taxes for them and we have no return. As ethnic French we are being discriminated against by the state in favour of the immigrants is something you are aware of here. We have a party which has enabled to capitalise on that which is the National Front.

Question 3

Would you be able to give us any thoughts on the impacts of the developments that you mentioned during your talk on the principal of Laïcité which is a founding principal of the French Republic?

Professor Kepel

Yes of course. I was a member in 2003 of the commission STASI which has nothing to do with East Germany’s Stasi. Even though some people, some of the Islamists, would see it that way, but it has something to do with the late Bernard Stasi who was a Member of Parliament in the [inaudible] Committee. It was created by Jacque Chirac when he was President in order to deal with the issue of veils in schools. It led to a lot of noise afterwards as we recommended that no garments of an ostentatious nature should be worn in schools, which of course led to us being labelled as being racist in the whole world. The impact of that measure as I could see it in Clichy-Montfermeil seven or six years after was rather positive because school masters instead of [inaudible] day in or day out, now they could do their jobs. Female Muslim students who were keen on wearing a veil could take it off as they entered school and put it back when they go out of school. This has not created such a major discrepancy and it has been accepted even though it is not liked. In terms of the Laïcité phenomenon – (which is secularism, but it is untranslatable, French is a language that cannot be translated. It can be approximated by secularism but it is more than that. Laïcité means that there is no such thing as an established religion. I mean the President Hollande is not the chief of the church of France and religion has no legal significance at all. Like as when you marry in the Church of England you do not have to register, which is of course abhorrent to the French. The Brits are abnormal. It’s a very strong thing.) – Due to the fact that we recommended those measures during the STASI committee and that we also recommended pluralism, religious pluralism; that there should be a day off for Jewish festivals, and for Muslim festivals, something which was not accepted by the Chirac government. It was only the repressive dimension implemented as opposed to what we suggested. Therefore, Laïcité or secularism is perceived by many activists in Muslim populations as being anti-Islam, as being part of this phobia ‘plot’ which is lambasted [inaudible]. This has led to very strange phenomena.

When we did the survey in Clichy-Montfermeil one of the questions was [inaudible]. We interviewed 100 people at length. Two-thirds identified themselves as Muslim, one third as non-Muslims. Among the Muslim group, responses to the question ‘Do you believe the French state respects Muslims, Christians or Jews?’ was “they don’t respect Christians anymore. Laïcité, i.e. French secularism has destroyed Christianity in France and therefore it is the enemy of Islam as it wants to destroy Islam the same way it has destroyed Christianity. There are no Christians in France anymore. They have disappeared” and that leads to very matter of fact issues on the ground. In Islam the doctrine, as Rory knows, one can marry, if one is a Muslim man, one can marry a Christian or Jewish woman without her being compelled to convert to Islam as the children will be Muslim because they follow the religion of the father. Not that I approve or disapprove. In France, most of the respondents would say “no, if we marry a French woman, we don’t consider she is Christian, a person of the book, anymore as they are not believers anymore so she has to convert to Islam first before she marries”. The Laïcité issue is perceived as a threat and all the more, so other answers to the question were does the French state respect Islam – “No, it doesn’t. We are being persecuted. This law was not against religion in general in school, it was against Islam on purpose” and so forth. When the question comes to Jews, “they are not only respected, they are feared”. Why is it that they are feared? “Because they made no compromise. They keep Kosher very strongly. They do not intermarry and hence in order to be empowered we have to imitate the Jews, which generally we would not like because they are followers and backers of Israel” and so forth. This is a phenomenon which is new, i.e. instead of, (again I am talking of these areas which are marginalised and enclave communities and not the mainstream in the big city), instead of identifying with the mainstream society and building your upward social mobility and your integration process, you identify with another group which is perceived as even more minority than yourself because it is reinforcing its cultural difference to some instance, its cultural stagnation. This is also a representation of Jews as we have the same as is the case with Muslims, i.e. a population from North Africa who live in the outskirts, have a very strong kosher identity which is abhorrent to most Jews who live with the rest of the population. They do not live apart. This is a phenomenon which has to do with people living in a global system. Wherever there is a strike on the Gaza strip this immediately transfers into the playground, the school yard in France, between Muslim and Jewish kids and so on and so forth.

Rory Stewart MP

We are coming to the very end, so, I am going to take two questions. The gentleman here and the gentleman in the corner. SO, we take two together

Question 4

I was wondering about a possible co-option or identity amongst the majority of non-Islamic population in France [inaudible] No one [inaudible] admiration of the arts and sports or whatever. Do not speak of [inaudible] Islam [inaudible] But is there a degree of fear amongst the wider population that [inaudible]

Question 5

Sorry to mention or remind you that there was recently some ghastly murders in Toulouse.

Professor Kepel

Yes I mentioned them earlier.

Question 5 continued

How is French society trying to say in France “whatever your differences as far as the Middle East is concerned, we have to find a way to live in peace”, because there is an increasing violence and unease in France. There have been acts of violence [inaudible] I would like to have your insight on that.

Professor Kepel

To a large extent, I already dealt with that issue in the beginning of my presentation. So, I don’t know whether you were here. So, I’ll focus mainly on your question. Actually Zinedine Zidane epitomised a sort of the role model of the little guy who came out of North African immigration with whom the whole of France identified. Racist France had one hero, a super hero who was called Zinedine Zidane, and when you ask the French what is their preferred dish they say couscous. But things have changed. It is not the same anymore, as you know the French football team has not been as successful of late as it was in the past. The Islamisation of soccer or football has had unforeseen developments. When we had the scandal in South Africa when the French team walked away on strike, this was due to tremendous problems of morale within the team which were largely linked to the fact that a group of Muslims and converts claimed they would not eat if the food was not halal. And so you have the diet of the French football team that had become halal, something to which the others who were non-Muslims objected and this is something which broke the whole spirit of the team. Zinedine Zidane would be considered by some who play in Britain [inaudible]. There are role models of a universal nature and there are also others and that has to do with policies of the country we mentioned recently, Qatar, which has bought French football, which is buying stadiums and teams here also, in [inaudible] and so on and so forth. That makes out the claiming of the Islamic identity something that has to do with the financial value of football players and the attractiveness of this club in France for instance and so on and so forth. This is one thing.

There is a major debate in France about Qatar’s policies in France. Qatar is buying insurance all over the world in order to reinforce its strength as it is only a country of 200,000 people which is the wealthiest in the world and the second biggest gas importer. They need France, they need to buy friendships. This has led into this very strong phenomenon of buying football rights, TV football rights, which traditionally in France were the means to finance French cinema. So, after a while, if they buy those rights, does this, is that going to imply, will there be no French cinema in the future? This, and also the politics in the outskirts, the boosting of the Islamic identity through associations, and so on [inaudible]. This is [inaudible] and needs a wider debate. All these issues are dealt with tomorrow at Chatham House for those interested or at the LSE.

Rory Stewart MP

Let me extend an incredible thanks to the Professor. Secondly, of course, as he has just pointed out, he will be speaking at both Chatham House and the LSE if you wish to continue the conversation and debates. Thank you also to the Henry Jackson Society for hosting such a distinguished visitor in parliament and all indeed for coming today, and we look forward to seeing you again soon. Thank you.

 

HJS



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