Chairman of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (CAREP) in Paris, an organization funded by Qatar, François Burgat calls on Muslims to express their opposition to the “French stance against radicalization” at the polls.
By Ian Hamel
“The score that the National Rally plays for us on the drum, the right plays for us on the saxophone and the left on the flute,” says François Burgat. This means, for the former director emeritus of research at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), that the vast majority of French people support a “process of criminalization of the Muslim population”. Under these conditions, “we have to strike a blow at the polls. We have to touch on a raw nerve.” Since there are six million Muslims in France, “the balance of power is not so terrible (…) We must mobilize on the electoral field,” adds the author of Face to Face With Political Islam.
In François Burgat’s mind, it is not a question of encouraging Muslims to engage in political, right-wing, left-wing or environmentalist groups, but rather of drawing up Muslim lists, thus promoting communitarianism.
Moreover, this “we” is significant. Because it seems to confirm the accusations made against François Burgat by Mohamed Louizi, the author of Pourquoi j’ai quitté les Frères musulmans. François Burgat would not only be an academic in love with his subject of study (the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamists), “he is a fellow traveller of the Brotherhood and we can even wonder if he is not himself a Muslim Brother”, asserts Louizi.
In front of an audience that had been won over in advance, at the CAREP headquarters on October 18, Burgat gave it his all at a conference entitled “La France face à la radicalisation”. According to him, if the anti-Muslim stiffening crosses all Europe, it is France that has taken the lead. “Due to its headscarf hysteria, it is losing credibility. The Anglo-Saxon world is laughing at us,” he says. And he denounces “the intellectual decrepitude of France”, the “typically French feature” that pushed France at the time of the colonies to turn Muslims into mindless idiots by teaching them “our ancestors the Gauls”.
Certainly, it is not a question of denying the countless horrors committed by colonization, but picking out such outdated arguments does no credit to a former research director at the CNRS. And what to think when François Burgat rejoices that “the Arab left are pathetic in the polls”, or when he mocks “secular feminists”?
Even more serious, the former researcher accuses the French “system” of “preparing the next Mickaël Harpon”, named after the killer of the Paris police prefecture. If we follow CAREP’s Chairman’s reasoning – who calls the four police murders an “event” – by criminalizing Muslims, France is trying to push some fragile and discriminated people to commit the irreparable. In other words, it is France that voluntarily manufactures radicalization! Finally, according to Burgat, the most bloody terrorists are innocent victims of the West’s selfishness and iniquity.
Haoues Seniguer, a teacher at Sciences Po Lyon, notes that the “‘good’ version of Islam [by François Burgat] would be that of the Islamists, who would interpret it as it should be, in accordance with what its deep essence would be: an integral Islam, normative, ‘identity’ therefore, and politically oppositional”. Forgetting that Islam is “a secular religion that has long dispensed with Islamism”, he writes in an article on the Mondafrique website, entitled: “Pour François Burgat, les islamistes ont toujours raison.”
It is true that the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (CAREP) in Paris is a subsidiary of the CAREP Doha Institute, headed by Azmi Bishara, an Israeli Arab who has been based in Qatar for about ten years and who is an unofficial advisor to the Emir. The French political scientist is also a loyal regular at the Doha palaces, which have become his favourite canteens. This could explain why for months the former researcher has been constantly denigrating Qatar Papers, the book by Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, and their documentary “Qatar’s War of Influence over Islam in Europe”, broadcast on Arte.
This makes the French-speaking site Oumma.com say: “Amazing! The man on the left, who howls with the wolves, is thus outraged that the ultimate slavery-like theocracy should be attacked, where money flows freely, a criterion which, it is true, would make any absolute monarchy charming”. A little clarification, François Burgat, like Tariq Ramadan, his best friend (they met in Egypt in the early 90s) still claim to be left-wing…