“Islamosphere”, “frérosphère”…, these vague and poorly defined notions must not be used to smear the Muslims of France

“Islamosphere”, “frérosphère”…, these vague and poorly defined notions must not be used to smear the Muslims of France

The public debate on Islam and Muslims is full of abstract terms such as “Islamism”, “Islamo-leftism”, “Brotherism”, “Frérosphère”, “entrisme”, etc. These terms are far too vague and, in fact, are likely to create a climate of suspicion that could weigh on all Muslims in France.

The CFCM does not underestimate the issues of extremism claiming to be Islam, on the contrary it fights them daily. However, he believes that it is unfair, dangerous and counterproductive to use, in public debate, exactly the same term “Islamist” to qualify in the same way a medical student who wears a veil and a terrorist of the DAESH organization.

Furthermore, the absence of clear definitions of these terms contributes to their extensive and abusive use, thus making any French person of Muslim faith or presumed to be such a potential victim of such “labeling”.

Thus, we recently saw that a renowned and respected magistrate, former spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice, was publicly accused by a CNRS researcher of belonging to the “frérosphère” simply because he incited through its association, young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods to try the competitive exam for the magistracy.

More generally, racist and anti-Muslim influencers take advantage of all these semantic confusions to smear French people of Muslim faith who are nevertheless exemplary. Their statements and behavior prove that they undeniably hate any situation of success, visibility, and civic engagement of Muslims in France.

More and more French people of Muslim faith or presumed to be so are noticing every day that the vagueness contained in certain terms is part of an outrageous witch hunt. They now have the impression that when they succeed professionally and invest themselves in the common good of French society, like the magistrate we have cited, their success is disturbing, and they are accused of “Brotherism” or “ entryism”.

Others feel that the very practice of their religion is problematic. That to be an accepted “good Muslim”, one would have to stop practicing Islam, or at least become completely invisible.

Finally, others do not understand why French people of Muslim faith are often vilified and suspected of “conspiracy”, simply for having had a civic conscience and expressing their support for the Palestinian people and peace or for their fight against anti-Muslim racism.

The CFCM expresses the hope that the commission, entrusted by the government to prefect Pascal Courtade and ambassador François Gouyette, can bring weighting and clarity to the public debate and protect our country from widespread suspicion with regard to French people of Muslim faith.

Camus wrote in 1944 in a text on the Philosophy of Expression: “To misname an object is to add to the misfortune of this world.” The CFCM calls on all those involved in the public debate to strive for clear language on these issues.

Paris, May 13, 2024

The French Council of Muslim Worship