In his book ” few months of my life “, published on May 24, 2023, Michel Houellebecq looks back on his exchange with Michel Onfray in the magazine Front Populaire. He renounces this text which he describes as idiotic and writes: ” I apologize to any Muslims this text may have offended – that is, I’m afraid, pretty much all Muslims”. He also specifies that he tried to have this issue of Font Populaire withdrawn from sale without succeeding.
In the program “la grande Libraire” on France 5, Mr. Houellebecq returns to the link he was able to make between Islam and delinquency and declares: “I don’t believe that Islam makes you delinquent, I would even say on the contrary. I think that no religion favors the development of delinquent behavior (…)”.And to conclude: The problem is not Islam, it is delinquency, and indeed, there is a problem with Justice.”
Asked on the same program if he was expecting a pardon, Mr. Houellebecq replied in the affirmative. The UMF, like all Muslims in France, takes note of this approach to which it cannot be insensitive.
On the one hand, forgiveness is a central value in our Muslim faith and its mere evocation provokes in our hearts a feeling of humility, which pushes us to respond with extreme benevolence to those who ask for it. On the other hand, too many people have made statements detrimental to Islam and Muslims without ever expressing regret or asking for forgiveness. Also, the gesture of Michel Houellebecq must be appreciated at its fair value.
By this open letter, we want to express our reaction to this approach of the writer and the future of the complaint that we filed, for Incitement to discrimination, hatred or violenceagainst the management of the Front Populaire, as well as Michel Houellebecq and Michel Onfray.
This complaint, presented by our counsel Maître Najwa EL HAÏTÉ, calls into question numerous passages from the third special issue of the magazine Front Populaire, published on November 29, 2022. Here, we are content to recall the three main ones:
- ” When the Reconquista, model of the reconquest, began, Spain was under Muslim rule. We are not in that situation yet. What we can already see is that people are arming themselves. They get guns, take lessons in the shooting ranges. And these are not hotheads. When entire territories are under Islamist control, I think acts of resistance will take place. There will be attacks and shootings in mosques, in cafes frequented by Muslims, in short Bataclans upside down. And Muslims will not just put candles and bouquets of flowers. So, yes, things can go quite quickly. One of the most remarkable things about the reactions to the “Letter from the Generals? “is the proportion of French people who expect a civil war in the near future”.
In a second passage, Mr. Houellebecq further develops his reflection. His conclusion is akin to a terrible form of apology for terrorism against Muslims:
- “Leftism, I only half believe in it. I’ve always had trouble taking it seriously. I see it as something that has been happening for a very long time, let’s say since 1945, which is a slavish imitation of everything that is done in the United States. (…). We cannot fight against what comes from America. We are not mentally equipped for that. Which brings me to this distressing conclusion: our only chance of survival is if white supremacism becomes trendy in the US.AT“.
- Onfray asks him if his novel “Submission” is a science fiction book, Mr. Houellebecq answers him: ” Oh no. It’s anticipation“.He also asks him about the theory of the great replacement: Do you believe in the great replacement? “. Mr. Michel HOUELLEBECQ replies:
- “At first I was very shocked that it was called a theory. It’s not a theory, it’s a fact. […] Renaud Camus is a good writer, there’s no doubt about it. So he found a great replacement or, to be more precise, the modification of the ethnic and religious composition of the European population. This is statistical evidence. There is just an overwhelming demographic reality (…). Limiting the human population is impossible. It would be necessary to control, to control births, and the West cannot control African births. Neither do African countries. This is going to end badly, indeed. Europe will be swept away by this cataclysm”.
By the very admission of the killer of the 51 faithful of the two mosques of Christchurch, in New Zealand, it is this theory of the great replacement and the writings of certain French intellectuals who inspired him!
Consequently, we consider that the massive distribution of the third special issue of Front Populaire, to which is added the transmission of extracts from the text in the press and on social networks, present a threat against Muslims that we hope to end through the use of justice.
From our point of view, Michel Houellebecq’s approach is honourable, but incomplete given the seriousness of the threat it engenders. We believe that this approach must also encompass these three passages mentioned above. They are just as detrimental to the security of Muslims in France, if not more dangerous, than the passage on the assimilation of Muslims to delinquents.
Also, is it necessary that Mr. Houellebecq clarifies his position on the theory of the “Great replacement”, and that he reconsiders the first passage which is similar to a real incitement to hatred and violence against the Muslims of France .
By his complaint, the Union of French Mosques does not target the leadership of Front Populaire, Mr. Houellebecq or Mr. Onfray as individuals. We simply want to condemn the remarks made and raise awareness of their dangerousness for national cohesion.
We would like Michel Houellebecq to initiate a formal and more offensive procedure to stop the distribution of the Popular Front number, and to state his position clearly on the subject of the three passages that we have just mentioned.
Under these conditions, the UMF will then study with its legal adviser the possibility of abandoning the complaint against Michel Houellebecq, while maintaining it against the management of Front Populaire and Michel Onfray, until obtaining the condemnation of these remarks as well as the stop broadcasting them. We will not allow their dangerousness and threat to be underestimated.
With regard to the forgiveness expected by Michel Houellebecq, we can reaffirm to him that our faith enjoins us to respond favorably to his request. Any Muslim, in love with the essential values of his faith, will be able to provide an answer in his soul and conscience.
Union of French Mosques