Crisis in France – Islam Under Attack with Marwan Muhammad

Yasir Qadhi


Channel: Yasir Qadhi

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Law The how

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many Mina most named me

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said I want to come to LA here what I can do it hamdu lillah wa salatu salam ala Rasulillah who are the Adi he will be one on one I have my bad brothers and sisters, we're all painfully aware of what is happening in France, the situation in France is escalating dramatically. And we are watching in horror as frankly as more and more draconian laws are being passed. And it seems as if the current president McCrone it is as if he is wanting to even provoke even more anger and incitement. And we hear in America by and large, I mean, the situation in France is somewhat alien to us, we don't quite understand, you know, the differences between the Muslim community in America and the Muslim

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communities in France, the histories are different as well, as well, the laws that the French Republic has are very different than our constitution here in America. And as somebody who has visited France a number of times, and interacted with many French Muslims, I have continuously been to be honest, shocked at the differences between Islam as Muslims as they exist in America, and even England versus the Muslims of France, and the pressures and the Islamophobia on them. So what I wanted to do today is to actually bring in somebody you know, born and raised in in France, somebody who's well aware of the situation very active in the community, so that he can explain to us the

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reality on the ground of Muslims in France and how different it is for Muslims living in France. So I'm very honored that I have with me about one Mohamed, who is a French Egyptian author, and statistics and he has a whole career in finance. And He dedicated the last decade and a half, almost 15 years, fighting against Islamophobia. He was chosen to be the spokesperson and then the director of a very famous organization called CCI F, which in English translates as the collective against Islamophobia. In France, this is the most prominent human rights NGO in France that is supporting Muslims. And then after this, he moved on, he became a diplomat for the Organization for Security

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and Cooperation in Europe, the OSC II. And in that position, he supported Muslim communities across Europe, Central Asia, and North America, in 2018. Brother Marwan was the pioneer obviously, he's a statistician, so he was the pioneer in conducting the first national survey of Muslims in France, which gave us very interesting statistics and analysis. Maybe we can talk to him about that. And then recently, brother Marwan founded a new organization called the Muslims platform, which is a large umbrella organization gathering hundreds of masajid hundreds of other Islamic organizations across France under its umbrella with almost 200,000 supporters. So Brother Marwan we're very

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honored and happy to have you on the shows that I'm wanting to look

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at our pleasure to be here Alhamdulillah and on top of this, allow me to say I'm very proud that I consider Marwan to be a student, I hope you'll allow me to say that, that he came in, attended some of my classes and lectures in London, he came from France, and he attended some of the lectures and classes there, and we had opportunities to interact. And he asked me some questions as well. This is almost 13 years ago, I think, how long ago? Exactly, yes. And we I gave him some advice and SubhanAllah. He told me that the some of the advice they gave him actually helped him or, you know, she helped shape with some of what he's done. So I'm very humbled and proud and all of it is from

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Allah subhanho wa taala. Brother Marwan I want to take a step back and start with the basics. Remember that most of us here in America, we really are not that familiar with the story of French Islam. So tell us roughly how many Muslims are in France? What percentage of the French are are Muslims? And also what are the main locations of the Muslims and in France, and let's say for example, Paris, what is the percentage of Muslims in the city of Paris so lay first, the demographics, of course, so we have a low estimate of Muslims, which is around 4.2 Millions. This fits into the estimate where people declare themselves as as Muslims. The higher estimate is around

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seven, 8 million so we are somewhere in between, depending on the origins or what we consider a cultural Muslim or the level of practice, but let's say conservative estimate 4.2. Higher estimate 8 million. Then in terms of where they live, major cities Paris, New York, Max say Lee

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In the area where there were a lot of factories, any area where there was a lot of mines, because at the time first generation of Muslims was working many times, either in factories or in mines in the north of France. So big cities, and historically industrial areas of the of the of the country, Paris would make up for 30% of the Muslim population, which means around like 1.21 point 5 million Muslims just in and around Paris, and this population is now mainly a second generation of Muslim population, which means that not only are they born here, but they have grew up in a French culture where they own the language, they own the culture, they own the political codes, but this is the the

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evolution between first and second generation Muslims in terms of ownership in terms of sense of belonging. So, that's the big picture I could draw for you in terms of statistics. So, Muslims in France, we have heard that they are the highest percentage in the entire Western world. That is correct. That is correct. It is the highest percentage among the wider population, especially because there is a history between between France and the country it used to control under the colonization rule. So it was very easy for Algerians or Moroccan or Tunisians or Senegalese, to come to France for work, especially since in the 60s and 70s. They needed many, many, many worker

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construction workers and factory workers and mine workers to develop the economy after the Second World War. Okay, so from what I've read in statistics, maybe seven to 8% of France is Muslim, and Paris itself use it is 13%. So 30% 30% 301 out of every three, okay, little let me let me rephrase. Okay. 30% of French Muslims live in Paris and suburbs, okay, is around 10 11% of people living in France and suburbs are Muslims. Okay, so that's one out of every 10. Okay, now we understand one out of every 10 People in Paris is basically of Muslim origin or Muslim. Okay, that makes sense. Okay, I was gonna say one out of three, wasn't that much it Okay? 30%, I get enough 30% of the Muslims of

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France live in Paris. And that makes up around 10%. And therefore, really, you cannot live in Paris, or even in France without interacting with the Muslim community. They're much larger You of course, you realize in America, we are less than 1%. So there's a market difference, you know, between America and and France. Now, we all know as well vaguely that France was the first European country to begin colonization of Arab lands. Napoleon was the one who paved the way for European colonization of the Arab and Muslim world Napoleon invaded, of course, Egypt. And then of course, France, invaded Algeria and completely occupied Algeria. Now, again, most of us are vaguely aware of

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this. Can you just summarize for us in a few paragraphs in a few minutes, the history of Algeria, under French colonization and some of what France did, and how Algeria gained independence? Yes, so basically, the what we know in terms of colonial empires, whether it be France, the British Empire, the Dutch, the Dutch government, Belgium, and so on, they have different relationship to their colonies. For instance, British Empire, used to see colonies as strategic places for economic personal purposes, military purposes, geopolitical purposes. But France had a different relationship to some of its colonies. For instance, in Algeria, it was not only a colonial source, it was not

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only for resources and access to wealth and access to land, it was also a colonial problem, which means that they were living there, and they invested there, they invested politically, they invested huge from a human perspective, they invested psychologically in the invested emotionally. So basically, they had the relationship to Algeria, similar to what Israel you have to Philistine that basically this is a land that now they own, and that they are emotionally vested in this in this land. And so when the Algerian fought for their rights and for their independence or for their freedom, it was not only

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a cynical decision, or or a rational decision to leave Algeria, it was a very emotional and hard decision for friends. Basically, they had no choice because the the Germans were fighting hard for their for their autonomy. But when they came back to France, they never got past it. They never forgave to the Algerian that they were

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basically kicked out of Algeria. And they stayed with this with this past

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relationship to Muslim minorities and Muslim communities. In in France, they project some of the past they had in Nigeria. And many politicians afterwards, try to say, hey, we need to make, we need to make peace emotionally. But every time they would eat that, that trigger, the far right would come running and say, hey, there is nothing we need to apologize for. They kicked us out of Algeria. And now we need to kick them back to Algeria. And so basically, because the vast majority of Muslims in France come from Algeria, and then Morocco, and then Tunisia, the colonial relationship France had with these countries, is projected during the 80s, and the 90s, on Arabs, which will make 70% of

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the Muslim population in France. So this influences the relationship of France with its Muslims. But it has been recorded in the 80s, in the 90s, and massively after 911, from an anti Arab form of racism into an anti Muslim form of racism, which was the rise of Islamophobia. But you see that these influences of colonial times are very strong in this in this relationship. So for our viewers, they should know that the French colonization of Algeria was one of the most brutal colonizations in the world from 1832 1962, I believe it was 1960s. Seven, one was so 6262 632 years, and during that colonization, estimates vary, but a number of historians have considered war crimes to have

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recruited even genocide to have occurred, they actually use the term genocide. The Algerian genocide perpetrated by the French estimates vary, but a common statistic is over a million people were brutally killed by the French during their occupation. And of course, anybody who opposed French rule, the famous Ameer Abdullah, other ways just jihad against them, a number of you know, movements came to fight for their, their freedoms, and the French were extremely brutal in their tactics that they used. In fact, there's a very famous movie, I generally don't recommend movies, but this is a movie that needs to be seen. And that is the Battle of Algiers had actually won many awards, when,

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when it was released. And it's a semi documentary, if you can find this on YouTube, it's called the Battle of Algiers, you will see the tactics of the French Now, my question to mode one is that this was a very brutal occupation. We read about it, you know, in our history books, does the average French person when they're growing up, they go to school? Are they exposed to the realities of their countries in Algeria, what they themselves have done?

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There is a chapter in some of the history books going over colonialization as a non objective phenomenon, like, we used to own these places, and then there was this war, and then we came back to France, and then we had to leave these these countries alone. But this is never thought, from another perspective, the perspective of the Algerians the perspectives of the, of the of the Moroccans, and many things that we are going through today have a direct relationship with these, with these with these historical times. And there is a responsibility also from the Muslim community, that we're not taught this history of ours, when we grow up, and so we never get past, we

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never get past, I think an example of a very specific example, that is also valid for you guys in the in the US, you know how sometimes we say there is there are moderate Muslims, and then there are extremists. Okay, in and of itself, this expression is Islamophobic. Because it consider Islam as a dangerous substance, you take a bit of it, your mother, you just take too much of it, you become extreme. This expression comes from colonial colonial colonial times, at the time, strategically, they thought that they could turn Muslims against one another, and that they could classify moderate Muslims, ie those who support the colonial rules against extremist Muslims, which are basically

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independent is those who fight for the for their freedoms. And so colonial administrators and academic of the time said that basically, if you are dividing them, be careful, because if you are too nice, you are Islam of file. And if you are too hostile, you become Islamophobic. And it could be bad for the colonial rule. So you know that sometimes people say that the word Islamophobia has been invented by the mullahs and the Muslim to ban freedom of expression against Islam. Well, it's false, the French invented it, and the way they created it was to say discriminatory behavior toward Muslims is going to destabilize the colonial rule. So for strategic purposes, we need to be balanced

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when we divide between the between the between them. See, that's how it's so important.

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To learn our history, to understand our present and understand the root causes of these political behaviors. So again, a very important point here, that very common tactic of the of the colonizers, England did it as well, and France did it as well is to divide and conquer is to find within the local population, those that might be a little bit sympathetic, and then adopt them as basically being the true the moderate. So this is a very good point, I didn't know this, that the division of moderate and basically radical is coming from the French. And they're the ones saying anybody who approves of their rule becomes a moderate Muslim, and anybody who opposes the rule becomes a fanatic

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or a fundamentalist. And a very interesting point that again, the white washing of history, I just gave a recent talk as well about history, the importance of history, we need to know where we came from what has happened to us, and both Muslims and non Muslim French they really do not know the history of colonization 132 years was a Algeria was occupied. How can that be ignored when now the children great great grandchildren of those very Algerians are now in Paris in France? How can that reality be ignored, but again, as brotherhood one says, a complete whitewashing a complete taking out of the negatives, a very positive portrayal of how the French ruled benignly and then they were

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kicked out by those savages who didn't want us. And now we're back to where we started. And it's their loss. Basically, this is the narrative that is being foisted on the people. And we have to educate ourselves and understand the reality of that brutal occupation. Brother, but one as well, I want to ask you that, can you explain to us the French concept of lace city, and how that differs, you know, from other secularism, for example, in Canada and England and America, that the secularism of France is very different than the secularism of America. So can you give us a definition or an example of the city? And for the first part of the question, how it applies to other religions other

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than Islam, and then we're going to come back and talk about Islam, but for now, lay city visa vie, the Catholics and the city, Jews and other religions. Okay, let's do a flashback in the in the beginning of the 20th century, at the time, the church of France had a lot of power and influence. And after the revolution, and the enlightenment, and industrial revolution, and the rise of what we know, as political theories of of progress, there was a discussion about the place and the importance of the church, and then the churches within the Republic. So there was a very heated debate, to control and marginalize the influence of the of the of the church. And the idea was that

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lazy day, ie the separation between political power and religious power within the Republic is going to solve the issues. And there were two understandings of lazy day. One was to demonize religion, exclude religion, silence religion, and it was really represented by a politician named Emily Cohn. And then we have today, people who are on his, on his ideology, like former Prime Minister Manuel Val's, like, Parliament's like counting for us, or the Minister of Education

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blocker today. So he has like this very narrow view of ICT, that basically religion is an issue, we need to ban it. Even if we don't say even if we don't say it, it is harmful to society. These are ideologies we need to get rid of. And then there was another political figure, his name was at ECW. And he was more reasonable. He was still for the separation between political power and religious, religious churches and cults. But he said, religion in and of itself is not a problem. The Rule of Life city is not against religion. The rule of iCj is is about like a legal principle of separation between the democracy and the institutions and religious communities. But fundamentally, it is a law

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of freedom for every religion to be practiced freely, as long as they don't try to take ownership or take control of the of the, of the of the political powers 100 years later, or eight years, eight years later, this debate came back in the in the discussion when Muslims started being visible. The second generation of Muslims, those who studied in France, there was this idea that if they study at the School of the Republic, and that if they if we give them a chance to to go to university, over time, they will get away from their suburb, they will get away from their family, they will get far away from their religion, but that's the exact opposite that happened. The more they were educated,

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the more they were civically involved. The word the more they had access to influence. The more they were the closer they were to their families.

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The closer they were to their Deen, and among the among the sisters, some of them started started wearing the headscarf. And this was never forgiven by some who thought that, okay, you guys, we gave you education, we gave you access to French society. And instead of becoming like us, you go back to the models and the rules and the influence and the traditions of your family, and of your faith and of your religion. And we wouldn't even listen to this generation of Muslims. Because they would say, hey, the reason we are so proud of our faith is because we're French, and we enjoy this freedom. And this is because we've learned critical thinking and sciences and literature that we're proud that

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this is part of our heritage, and we don't have to silence it. But this this discussion never happened. And they were seen as ungrateful, I will say, ungrateful Arabs, we brought you the friends, we accepted you, you were welcome in our schools. And now you turn against us by going back to your historical historical culture. So that's how the lysator debate came back in our discussion in 89. This was the first the first case and since then, it has been a poison in in the French discussion, every six months, every year, you have a controversy or Halal controversy, or a burkini controversy, destroying the political discussion in France by creating mass diversion from any

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economic, health, educational, social problem in the country. So that's, so is it true to say that lay city was a historic concept that, you know, 100 years ago, some discussion occurred, some laws were passed, but it wasn't really nothing really happened until it was weaponized against, in particular, Muslims and Islam. Is that a you what you're what you're trying to say? Like basically, in terms of the 89 recurrent recurring thing, weaponization is the is the is the right is the right word. It was the legal principle of independence and freedom of religion. And it's been recomposed, weaponized, as a used as a tool for excluding Muslims, marginalizing Muslims, stigmatizing Muslims,

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as the most visible, most dynamic, monotheistic religion in the in the in the country. And it was also a very potent political tool. Because in the 80s, racism was about you dirty Arab go back to your country. And the far right was demonized and clearly identified for speaking like that, you migrants, new refugees, your Arabs, you black people go back to your country, but the language was recorded. And instead of saying that, they would say they wouldn't say any more you dirty air of the back to your country, they would say, we need to reaffirm the principle of lazy day, then be strong about this. And everybody would understand that we're talking about these people, the hijab is and

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the bearded guys and the Indian Pakistani the Arabs, the black people living in a suburb, everybody understands this, it was a way also to normalize racism into the French society, to the point where now, the far right is the strongest political force in France, and everybody else fell in the trap. So this is this mirrors what is happening across the globe, where blatant racism really is now, politically incorrect, ie you cannot speak about a person's skin color directly anymore. So what has happened is that you bring up another identity, which is basically in our case, Muslim or Islam. And they say, Oh, this is not demonizing of a particular race anymore, but in reality in France, it

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really is of one demographics and that's primarily the North Africans and the Muslims over there. And so they then use this term lay city to pretend as if they are reaffirming some mythical past of France that was pure you know in that regard, and then they use this to then harass and intimidate Muslims in their policies. Now can you give us some examples of laser tear as it has applied to the Muslim community? What how has it impacted? Muslims tell us what is the reality on the ground for the last 1520 years about laser tape? I'm gonna take like real cases so that you you get a feel and you can like transpose to the to the US. Imagine you want to go to school you wear a headscarf and

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then people tell you that either you take it off or you just go away you are expelled from the from the school and this is for your own good. You are a mother, you want to take part in a school outing. You take some of your free time, you take a day off sometime from from work because you want to help the school and instead of thanking you, some people will try to expel you from from from this. You're a kid at primary school and you say Bismillah when when you are at the canteen before before eating and someone is going to report you way way

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You will not say Bismillah when you start eating a meal, you can say, but some teachers, they will report you and it will go to the radicalization helpline. And then people will start saying, hey, we need to we need to start an inquiry on the parents because they maybe they are radicalized, because they thought their children say Bismillah or Allahu Akbar or Salah seven logical when going to when doing How is this not fascism how this is not I didn't even know about this like, you can't even just say the car and the medicines, your personal life your eating your meals, I was a biller. This is this is literally bordering on a NEO fascism. Now, of course, these cases, you you solve by just

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a simple phone call, or and you remind them that this is totally illegal. And that, of course the law is on the side of the of the of the kid. But the fact that you have to do it, in and of itself is an issue. And the work of the collective against Islamophobia in France, for the last 16 years now has been just to do this has been to protect what are the sisters, elderly people use, who either do not have access to their rights, or they are so stigmatized, so humiliated, so

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excluded from the conversation in their work in their local community in their school, that they absolutely need the help of the human rights organization to say, Hey, this is legal. This is not, this is Lacey day, this is discrimination. Now, you either you get back in line and respect the law, or we take legal action to support this person. And that's how, for instance, we challenge the burqini bans. That's how we want hundreds of of cases of discrimination, to support and create case law that was protective, not only for Muslim communities, but for all communities. Because when we restrict these fundamental freedom for Muslims, it is harmful for everyone. The laws that ban

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headscarf from school, it banned also the keeper for our Jewish co citizens in Ban also the turban for the sixth, it banned any religious symbol for youth for young children for families who did nothing wrong, who were normal French citizen until some political figures said hey, I think we can make a political win through this by stigmatizing these guests.

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Standard this is what is happening with the rise of the far right. So I want to also ask you, the what we've read in the news is that the Muslim populations of France, especially the the North African populations, that they are ghettoized, and stigmatized, they're marginalized barriers are put not just in terms of the religious headscarf, whatnot, but even in terms of, you know, education and jobs and whatnot. So can you tell us a little bit about this? Like, is there systematic racism in Paris against people of, you know, Muslim background, and how is that manifested, like, even tell us some of your own stories about yourself and your friends, so that we understand, of course, so

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basically, it's just a big, big figure among Muslim communities, you have 70% coming from North Africa, 10% from Sub Saharan Africa, 10%, who are Muslim reverts, and 10% from the rest of the world. These are your Egyptians, Turks, Indian Pakistani backgrounds, and people who make up most of your North American community here, they make up like 10% of the only 10% of you guys, you guys are 7%.

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Okay, and they have like different very different sociological background. So some of them will have like very good studies and access and so on. Some of them are still struggling. But for the first generation, second generation, they were put in what we call the bayou, the suburbs. In the US, the suburb usually is kind of a middle class type of area, you have like nice houses, here is the ghetto. So the suburbs is that where you have your your social projects, and we're like, putting people there with low with low wages, and low, low income, low rents, so that they can live there and work directly at the nearby factory. And literally what volume means in French is the place

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where you ban people bomb. Lee, I did not know this is the place where you ban bad people. Yes, this is the the association. So it's very telling. So first, at the Education stage, you have different levels of access between a school in the bayou and a school in central Paris, you don't have access to the same opportunities, you don't have access to the same quality of living, even the cleaning of the streets is not done in the same in the same standard. So from a very early stage, you grow up with the idea that you are not at the same level at a power level with other French citizens. For instance, I'm going to give you a figure police controls industry identity controls

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In the industry, if you're Arab or black in the suburbs, you have a higher an eighth factor higher chance to be controlled by the police. And so sometimes when we were younger, we knew that we would be controlled by the police. And mom would say, hey, don't forget your ID card, because otherwise you will go to the princess. And you know that you will be controlled sometime by the same police officer in the same day, they know you since you are a kid. But they control you as a way to humiliate you sometime and tell you tell you like bad things tell you basically your place. And as you grow up, you have access to different opportunities than now. Muslim communities are

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overperforming, from the studies perspective. And because they make a higher proportion, in the top schools in the top engineering schools or business schools, medical schools, but coming from a very, very difficult background. And sometimes we need to really understand that this is not opportunity. This is survival. So people who access these, these excellence, these excellent jobs, and sectors, it's not because someone came and tell them, hey, the Republic is going to help you know, they were living in the suburb, they had to wake up at five in the morning, go to the university, finish the university, go to their night job, support the parents and the brothers and sisters, and then be the

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first Arab be the first black man or woman in their area, to go and attend medical school to go and attend the best engineering school. So now with the second generation, we know that we have to give back we know that we have to support and help and oriented, some progress has been made in terms of equal opportunities, we are far so very far from from from there. But we take ownership of this by doing like open days in engineering schools or in medical schools, people who can can have like some coaching so that they know that when they attend the tests, they have the better chance to to go through and to and to be admitted in the in the in the university. So this is changing very fast.

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But we still don't have access, equal access to housing, to education, and in health. And this is creating sometimes a feeling of humiliation, a feeling of inequality, which is not only a feeling it's based on the reality and objective reality, which is that if you come from the suburbs, if you are black, if you're Roma, if you're Arab, if you're Asian, you don't have access to the same opportunity. And you can break the wall, you can break the glass ceiling, but individual success, sometimes heights and makes an excuse for collective failures. And this is the this is the this is the key problem that we have in France, with with minorities, I'm sure you guys have the same in the

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in the US. Every time you talk about inequalities, you will have stories and say but I know exactly the person that he played the game right? He checked all the boxes. Yeah. So you see that the system works over? Yeah, the system, the system works to discriminate, but he broke the system to get that to get past the system is for the majority, and the majority of people don't have access to equal opportunity. Now here in America, we have the Equal Opportunity Act, which was which was actually passed into law in the 1970s, where it is illegal to discriminate against somebody from a different background to skin color or whatnot. It is illegal if it is somehow proven in France, is that the

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case? Or is there subtle discrimination? Or is there blatant discrimination when you apply for a job? Yeah, there are very strong discrimination laws, which are protective, if you can prove. But the difficulty is that the discrimination case is sometimes hidden. The discrimination will they will not say blatantly. We don't want Arabs here. They don't say they don't say that, they will mask it through like an issue of competency and because the tests are not transparent, because there is no data to verify whether you respect diversity in your company or in your institution, then you cannot prove the discrimination case. At the systematic level at the at the higher at a at a macro

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level. There has been a number of surveys that were done by either academics or independent agencies showing the discrimination case by watching how many people do police controls how many people have access to this training or that training. But because we do not have ethnic data or diversity data, we cannot control how good we are doing or how bad we are doing as a country as a company as an institution when including minorities. And there's this

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idea that we're colorblind. In, in France, because it's a notion of universalism. But basically, the reality is that you don't see colors when you need to include them. But you see these colors when you need to discriminate against them? Yes. And so there is this form of hypocrisy, where we are Universalist, as long as we stay among ourselves. Yes, exactly. True point here. So here in America, you know, I'm, of course, being very simplistic here, we have the divide between the right and the left, and generally speaking, you know, the right, you know, generally speaking, does not want any Muslims at all, you know, and they're very blatant in their Islamophobia. The left we have our

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issues with that they don't like some of the our morality and whatnot, but generally speaking, the left wants to embrace us as you know, token, you know, in our diversity, like, you know, you remember when Hillary Clinton was running, you know, she had the somebody come and speak from a Muslim background. So the left wants to embrace Muslims as the token plurality, obviously, I'm not endorsing other aspects, because, you know, they don't like certain moralities that we have. But still, it is true to say that in our case, in America, the left is embracing of the Muslim civilization. Is that the same in France that the Left Party wants to have the Muslims, you know,

00:36:13--> 00:36:50

and embrace them? Or is there some other issue that we need to be aware of? Not? Not exactly, it's very difficult from that perspective, that's politically, the biggest challenge to the fight against Islamophobia is that if I want to transpose in terms that the audience will understand, imagine that in the French system. Trump is Trump. That's the that's the far right. And then you have like the conservatives, which are almost on the same line as Trump, they wouldn't say we want to ban Muslims from entering the country. But they will say we want to ban terrorists or expel terrorists, but we're targeting the same people. Then you have

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Joe Biden, who comes in place and say, Hey, we don't need to ban everybody. But let's control these people and make sure that they don't become radicalized. And they say, Hey, you can i are supposed to be progressive, you are supposed to be inclusive, you know, but we also need to protect ICT, and then you turn to Bernie Sanders. And then Bernie Sanders say, Hey, I have nothing against Muslims. But clearly, we need to reaffirm ICT. And if we fought against the church in 1905, that's not to accept hijab in our house, in our audiences, and you know, conferences, that's okay, you guys can vote for us. But you will never get a seat at the table at the decision table. And then you start

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wondering, Hey, you guys, all of you guys are asking for my vote. But what do you do? What do you do for me, not as a Muslim, as a citizen, I don't expect from you guys that you only address Islamophobia. I expect from you guys that should be decent political figures, and address all issues from an equal standpoint. And then when a sister comes on TV, to talk about economics, then she has to face two weeks of hatred, because before she even starts talking about her issue about the money policies, or leverage policies, or financial markets, she will be harassed on the set. First, thank you. Thank you for tomorrow. Thank you know me for coming. We're happy to have you here today. Do

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you condemn terrorism before you even talk about the kind of waste? But do you come then, did you come then, because we went on your website. And we didn't find any soul and condemnation of the past, like 1000 terrorist attacks in the country. And then even if she, for whatever reason, managed to turn things around and talk about the actual issue she came for. Then she has to face a Twitter storm for two weeks, then close her Twitter account, or Instagram account, and go back to doing something else with her life. And that's the same thing for every Muslim figure that comes on TV and becomes visible becomes public, except if open the bracket, they validate the racist ideology, which

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targets their community. So now, if you are an Arab, saying that Islamism is bad, that you want to target any any hijab is a danger. That's a political statement. We want to break the Republic, then you become famous Arabs, the native informant, the this the moderate person, the people who we put on the front cover of magazine, as like going against political correctness, really courageous, burning the hijabs and we have plenty of them in America. Fox News has its black book that every every time they need a token, you know, person, they have specific people we know exactly what you're talking about. The same thing goes there. We have some of those. Yeah, we have three of them.

00:39:42--> 00:39:59

We have the factory of Burma one, when you have such a high concentration of Muslims in France. I mean, you know, 789 percent is not small. If Paris is more than 10%. You know, Muslim, how can you not possibly have politicians that are catering just for their own courtesy for their own sake?

00:40:00--> 00:40:45

Hey, how can you not have politicians that want to get the Muslim vote? I want to ask you a blunt question. What percentage of Muslims roughly are actually voting and even involved? Are they even involved in the process? That's the that's the that's the key issue. You have 70 to 80% abstention. During the election, Muslims don't vote. So there you have one of the problems. I mean, in the French situation, yeah, yes. But you have to you have two issues. You have one, which is religious. For many, many years, you have the Imams claiming that voting is haram, getting involved democratically is, is haram. And so it took time for the shoe Under Armour to explain to set a

00:40:45--> 00:41:28

framework where people know how to get involved, how to get involved, and still at the same time, be truthful to their faith. So that was one issue. Second issue is that, basically, in France, Muslims and suburbs, voted with faith. So basically, when they will voting with someone for someone, they say, Hey, we vote for someone who's going to change the game for for for everyone. And then they realize that these are politicians, and that they make alliances and the shift position, and they realign their their position after they're after they are elected. So now they vote for the opposite person, and then the opposite person to the point where they are so disappointed about the political

00:41:28--> 00:42:14

process, that they don't want to get involved cynicism, the culture, the culture of lobbying, the culture of pushing for measures, the culture of following that, after the vote to be involved in the discussion, when you are elected as a senator, or as a governor, as a local representative, representative, this discussion and this culture of lobbying, educating, being community organized, this culture is close to zero in, in France, is just in the past five, seven years, when this becomes this becomes a thing. And the only few, let's say, minority figures who accessed the political game, it just took one mandate to turn them around, they were all like, we're going to

00:42:14--> 00:42:53

change the system from within, let's get involved with the with the candidate. I'm going to campaign I'm gonna rally for this for this candidate for Hassan and then for Emmanuel Macron, lookback points something something is saying something decent on the hijab, on what happened in Algeria. And so let's vote for him and all that. And then as soon as they are involved the shift position, and either the guys get expelled, or they fit into the fold over some time. So there's a lot of work that also needs to be done internally amongst community Subhanallah it's really sad. And again, I mean, this is not the time to talk about this. But honestly, this there's so much potential within

00:42:53--> 00:43:31

our own ranks, and yet because of views that are simply incorrect, I mean, this notion of voting being haram, this is something that is very easily refutable in our times, there's something that in the 80s we used to hear this and yeah, there are, you know, a few hardcore Ultra yonder, you know, there are people like that, but mainstream, the Muslim ummah has now understood and recognized that this position cannot be tenable. And it is really an impediment for your community when more than 10 15% of Paris is Muslim background, this is something that is truly untapped potential. So I hope inshallah we can work or at least you and your community can work to change that from within time

00:43:31--> 00:43:54

was winding up, I want to ask you two more questions. The second to last question. Tell us what you and your organization are doing, especially in the current crisis, what have you and your organization done? And what do you think the Muslims of France what is and what is your prediction, if you like, or how do you feel about the future because it looks very bleak to us, but you tell us and give us some good news, inshallah. We hope inshallah.

00:43:56--> 00:44:42

Okay, so the collective against Islamophobia has been designated by the Minister of Interior, an enemy of the Republic. lodestar was intended. Yeah, that's the name of he here he called us and why, let's that's the interesting part. Why is the collective against Islamophobia an enemy of the Republic, because CCAF claims that there is state sponsored Islamophobia in France. So for saying what is actually the reality at the grassroots level, we are the target of a dissolution as a as an association. And then if they don't find this, they will look at the social networks and they will say, Hey, you had a tweet there. And someone replied to the tweet something sexist or something and

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Semitic or something against the government, and we hold it against you that you didn't publish a condemnation of the of the of the of the tweet, or you invited this Imam to your annual fundraising. And the Imam said that he will

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against this or against that. So you are responsible for what the Imam said. And if you disagree with that you should have published something on your website. We went on your website, and we looked at every condemnation of terrorism, but some are missing, or we think that the words that you used, were not strong enough, were not strong enough. So these are the type of motives that are being used. But what is what is the issue really, is that the CCAF has been too efficient for the last 16 For the last 16 years. It won its cases, it challenged the burkini ban in 2016, in over 30 cities across the country's, and it did so without any public support. It didn't receive money from

00:45:42--> 00:46:27

the government, or foundation or from abroad only with volunteers, and lawyers who work on minimum on minimal condition. And you gave a sense of pride to Muslim citizens, and not only to Muslim citizens, because in the volunteers, in the workers in the supporters, and even in the victims, you have non Muslims, I take an example. There was this lady she had cancer and because she was going through chemo, she was losing her her hair. So to cover the lack of hair, she was like covering her hair with her head with the with the headscarf. She's been excluded from the gym for this, well, as a Muslim, she wasn't even Muslim. So the problem with CCAF is that they are addressing reality, they

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are speaking truth to power. And for this, they are criminalized to the UN, I think for us citizens. That's really a big, big lesson. Imagine that an organization like care, because these are, these are equivalent in the in the US imagine that someone calls now for care to be the saluted, that any person associated with care, any person working with care, any community supporting care will be classified as extremist and enemies of the United States. This is how serious the situation is. But I want to end on the Goodman note on this, on this on this question. If we are the target for such a hate campaign, that's because the Muslim communities are organizing, if we are also demonized, and

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if the CCAF is targeted, it's because as a human rights defender, it is succeeding at its mission. If sisters are excluded from some medical school, or for some top school, that's because they are so talented, and so successful, that they reach the level where they are in the competition pool for power for representatives at for access for influence. And this in and of itself is a huge victory not only for Muslim communities, but for France as a whole. Because when you look at the football team, and the soccer team of France, you see that this team is diverse, diverse, diverse, ethnically, but it's also diverse religiously, and it's diverse in the way people are Muslims,

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Christians and Jews, and that they don't give away their religion and they are still role model for our for our youth. So we need to really get involved here and you guys in the US really need to understand that what we are going through in the in, in the French context is really a situation that you need to take lessons from so that you don't fall into the into the trap and you stay mobilized. Stay involved, stay supportive of all the brothers and sisters work to protect you who work in your best interest to protect your fundamental freedoms. So again, I'm sorry to be so blunt and when are you very good, Frank question. Hi. Overall your your assessment of the future from

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French Muslims? pessimistic optimistic what like you're born and raised, this is your land. You know, you are also from North African background as well. I mean, you it because I've had people actually asked me like, you know, for how long are they going to endure this? Should they leave the country with that? So it's your country you've been born and raised there, you have no other you know, passport. So you tell me like what is your assessment and had tell us as American Muslims, like, how do you feel? Um, I'm gonna be honest, like I've never been before. As, as a human rights activist, having spent 1015 years now working on these on these issues. I will say I'm, I'm born for

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this. I grew up with racism. I was the first Arab in my school, I had faced police violence, I had to go through all of these stages. So I'm fit for this for this game, but as a father, I don't want this for my kids. I absolutely don't want this for my kids. And I don't want this for my grandchildren, if my son which is my age, or my daughter, which is my age and has to get involved in the human rights organization, because otherwise future generation will be a threat. It means I have failed in my in my membership. So now we are building the Muslims platform to have both legs, the defense leg through the CCF and the construction leg through the Muslims, Muslims platform and this

00:49:59--> 00:49:59

project is

00:50:00--> 00:50:45

The project of our life, the survey, and this community organizing, and all these Janessa had education projects that are building our community. This is our legacy for future future generation. But I tell you, with some sense of gravity, if we Muslims of this generation do not succeed in changing the balance, like really restoring some sense of equilibrium in the, in this French democracy, respecting fundamental freedom, and respecting the Muslim community, then the future generation will be in danger, Muslim communities, but all communities because the far right will win. And we will fall into fascism one step at a time. And I hope that I take the responsible

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decisions and make the right choices. And all the leaders in France do the right choices, so that we will reach this stage as part of the you know, brother Well, one it is as if you are and your community is engaged in its own civil rights issues, you know, that America not to compare, because there's no comparison each one is its own case, but it is literally as if you are, you know, carving out a way the way that you've described your plight and your situation and the the responsibility is on you. I really feel that Subhanallah you have a huge burden. That is also like you said, You were born for it, Allah azza wa jal is testing you because he knows you can handle it. And you know, you

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are in our two hours, we pray for you. Final question, what can we do here in America? You know, what can we do when we see what's going on? What is your advice to us in terms of practical helping? And overall, what do we do here? Yeah, so number one, make sure this doesn't happen to you. Organize, mobilize, support your organization, be strong, don't think that someone is going to take care of it, do it, get involved, this is your responsibility. If you reached the stage, where there are social injustice, ethnic and religious injustices, that's our collective responsibility. So number one, get involved locally. Number two for us in France,

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raise awareness on what is going on in in France, and don't raise awareness in a superficial manner. Get involved, understand what is actually going on. That's why we write books. That's why we write articles on that respect, allow me to be blunt, don't be American, no, use your orography get past your borders, understand what is going on in the world, not only in the North America, but South America, Europe, Middle East Africa, because what is going on outside has influences for for for for you. And if you really want to support us, you can make complaints in a polite, firm documented manner to your French embassies locally, you can raise awareness in the media, take interviews, show

00:52:42--> 00:53:27

the situation in in France, convey the press releases of the collective against Islamophobia, with the fact sheets and all the information and you can also support us now the collective against Islamophobia is going to move its activities somewhere else in Europe to protect the teams and to protect the continuity of our work, because we face 1000s of death threats. And this is a dangerous, this is a dangerous time now. So you can also support us the website is And you can you have a an English version of the of the of the website. And then of course, when you feel that you that you need us because I used to do this a lot in Asia and in in, in North America, we

00:53:27--> 00:54:07

would come some sometime to the US to the to Canada to give trainings to share experiences to raise awareness on the situation in France. And then we'll try to build this bridge between communities because at the end, we share the same experience on many issues. It's part of the Brotherhood one honestly it has been truly inspiring, talking to you because really you are a statistic nation, you are a person who worked in corporate office and then left all of that to dedicate your life to NGOs into helping the Muslim community, I do not hesitate to call what you are doing one of the types of jihad that is very important. Let the French government quote me, this is an educational jihad, it

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is not a jihad of of the what they portrayed as jihad of the minds it is that you had of changing people's perception and it is something that inshallah you will be rewarded for. I'm very humbled and honored that our paths have crossed and you know, we have some association as well. And I make lots of dua for you. Brothers and sisters log on You said I want people to see what we aware of what you're doing right? That's ie at the end right islamophobe B T right yeah, and there's an English page as well so log on See what you can do if you can help out with your do as with finances if you can invite him to do training or whatnot lots of benefit over there. May

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Allah azza wa jal make your situation easy brother Marwan we make to offer you and all the Muslims of France Jezza como la Hi Ron, and we ask Allah subhana wa Tada to protect you and your loved ones and all your community. Thank you for sharing your time and your experiences with us and hope inshallah we can have you on again and our path

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