London – On Friday 17th September, the French Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin initiated the process to dissolve a Muslim owned publishing house, the NAWA Editions. The bank accounts of the publishing house and those of its main writers – Aissam Ait Yahya and Abu Souleiman Al Kaabi – were frozen as a result.
The justification given by Darmanin was that he considers the editorial line of the publisher as being “anti-universalist and clearly challenging Western values” and for having “published several works legitimising Jihad” – including a biography of Khalid Ibn al-Walid, a revered military general from 6th Century AD and some translations of the medieval scholar Ibn Taymiyya’s writings.
This move follows a pattern of dissolutions-by-decree by the French government over the last year that have targeted Muslim civil society organisations, including the humanitarian charity BarakaCity and the advocacy organisation Collective to Counter Islamophobia in France (CCIF).
Aissam Ait Yahya, told CAGE:
“This dissolution procedure is neither the first nor the last: its aim is to stifle, banish and eliminate any critical Muslim spirit which challenges state policies and it’s orientations. This is our unforgivable crime: to have given scientific and intellectual weapons to a generation of French Muslims.
In our case, this is made worse because we attacked the heart of French political philosophy and, unlike others, we did not exclusively focus on some of its excesses. We have shown how its notion of Republic, it’s Secularity, its definition of Nation, identity and citizenship are in themselves radical, and easily converted to political extremism which can eliminate its opponents. And we evidenced this by reviewing the whole history of modern France, the particularities of its Enlightenment and its colonial policy towards Muslims.
Even Darmanin’s false assertions confirm all of our analyses. He wants to frame our criticisms against the heart of French political philosophy as attacks against Western universalism. However, French universalism is absolutely not representative of that of the West: except in its most liberticidal, arrogant and extremist version.”
Muhammad Rabbani, Managing Director of CAGE, said:
“In the lead-up to the French Presidential election next year, the Macron government are escalating their use of draconian powers to outflank the far-right competitors of the National Front, while making life for Muslims in France intolerable.
This provides further evidence to the notion that the French state is currently conducting a widespread campaign of legalised persecution against its Muslim citizens through the likes of its ‘Systematic Obstruction’ policy.
The French government must be challenged in its repressive and censorious exercise of executive power before it becomes normalised”.
Image used courtesy of Flickr/Luca Lubatti photography (all rights reserved)
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