UPDATE 21 / 09 / 2021: The hearing on the dissolution of the association Collective against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) took place on 3 September 2021. The association reports: “The rapporteur of the Council of State brushed aside most of the complaints made by the Ministry of the Interior, in particular that of apology for terrorism. The only and main grievance retained is CCIF’s definition of Islamophobia (including institutional).”
Update: On 19 November, the Minister of Interior officially communicated the decision of dissolution to the organisation.
Stetament by CCIF (Collective against Islamophobia in France) in reaction to the threat by France’s interior minister to dissolve the NGO working against Islamophobia, published on 19 October 2020. Unofficial translation from French – Original statement here
Ten years ago, the dissolution of the CCIF was demanded only by the identity groups of the ultra-right, which our association has several times condemned for incitement to hatred and apology of terrorism. Because the CCIF chose the law, it was then accused by these small groups of making “judicial jihad”; this because it was unbearable for them to be condemned by the justice system of the country whose Reconquista they claim to be undertaking. At the time, the expression was ridiculous.
This accusation of “judicial jihad” has now penetrated the political class in power, which in 2017, in order to be elected, claimed to be a roadblock to the extreme right. The dissolution of the CCIF is today being demanded by the Minister of the Interior himself, Gérald Darmanin, in the name of the bill against “separatism”, a bill that we denounced as early as February 2020, when the word was introduced into public debate by President Emmanuel Macron in a speech on the Republican Reconquest. We showed how this warlike discourse could provoke what it claimed to fight: isolation and marginalization.
What has happened in ten years? How has identity-based and racist thinking, the heir to fascism and totalitarianism, found itself at the very heart of the state, in its government and senate? How have ideas that are still considered extreme right-wing become normalized in public debate? This is the whole process of Islamophobia that we have been denouncing, especially since 2015, since the state of emergency, and which today brings us this political attack. Not knowing how to react to the terrorist attacks, the government has, each time, wanted to make demonstrations of force, most of the time illegal, by attacking in a violent and deliberate manner Muslims, most often harmless, presented as “Islamists”. This strategy has not only been ineffective – terrorism has not disappeared – but also harmful and dangerous, because it responds precisely to the terrorists’ agenda. It validates their model and confirms their discourse.
After having defended thousands of individuals and legal entities targeted by discriminatory and unjust measures, it is now our turn to pay the price. As in many of the cases we defend, the CCIF’s challenge corresponds neither to a factual nor a legal reality, but to a political will: to criminalize the fight against Islamophobia.
Today, there are serious questions to ask the intelligence services, whose resources have been directed more in recent days against associations wrongly labeled “separatists” than on the real signs of terror presented on Twitter by the terrorist of Conflans, already several months before the facts. This is a highly clever diversion on the part of the Ministry of the Interior to deny its responsibility and its failure to preserve the security of all citizens.
As we have said, and this was very quickly demonstrated by the various investigations and media publications: the CCIF had absolutely nothing to do with the campaign of harassment that led to the despicable attack in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. The very fact that we have to recall this is an insult to our team, our members and all our partners, who know how we work. The facts in this case are simple: several days after the video was broadcast and circulated, we were seized by the parent who made the video in order to open a discrimination case, based on the fact that the teacher allegedly asked Muslim students to leave the classroom during the presentation of a nude cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad. The first thing we did was to ask this parent to immediately withdraw this video and to stop all communication on this subject, waiting for someone from the assistance to come back to him to initiate the procedure of verification of the facts, which in the end could not be done since the irreparable took place. In view of these facts, we will take legal action whenever we are defamed or our honor is sullied by false allegations. By accusing us, without proof, of being responsible or even linked to this abominable act, the Ministry of the Interior is signing the end of the rule of law.
In these dark moments, we have a choice to make: either we play the game of terrorists of division by targeting Muslims, or we unite society, fighting both terrorism and all forms of racism. With these statements on the dissolution of the CCIF, these political figures are playing the game of terrorists, dividing society and forcing people to choose between fighting terrorism and fighting racism, instead of uniting and fighting both.
By circumventing the law, and by assuming that he wants to “get messages across” through political acts, Gérald Darmanin is acting outside and against republican law. The raids are thus no longer a tool to control real criminality, but a means of political intimidation. Under the pretext that current laws would not allow him to “fight against Islamism,” the Ministry of the Interior is thus breaking the law while waiting to modify it. This is a major blow, opening the way for the extreme right in its quest for power. If Muslims are told that they no longer have the right to defend their rights, it is a sign that terrorists and racists have won. Our freedoms are at stake for all of us.
The campaign that is being waged precisely against the CCIF, as well as other associations such as the Omar Mosque, “Learn & Understand”, Barakacity or Ummah Charity, is part of a troubled political dimension. For several years now, the government in power has been developing a repressive strategy of persecution, which seeks to politically kill any dissent… in the very name of “freedom of expression”.