Two Years after Samuel Paty’s Death, Islamist Violence Remains a Real Threat to France

On October 16, 2020, Samuel Paty, a teacher at a French high school, was beheaded by a young Muslim man after showing a picture of Mohammad to his class. Liam Duffy observes that, on the two-year anniversary of the murder, prominent French newspapers of the left, right, and center lamented the fact that little seems to have changed. As Duffy explains, they had a specific reason for their pessimism:

[J]ust days before the anniversary, a schoolteacher was forced into police protection after receiving death threats and anti-Semitic abuse in a letter promising the same fate as Paty. Another teacher was threatened by the relative of a pupil for merely discussing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons in class.

Far from being deterred by the knowledge of Paty’s fate, campaigns and threats against educators have continued unabated in the two years since, and in some cases have crossed the Channel.

There’s a sense that schoolteachers are on the frontlines in the defense of republican principles, [what in the U.S. would be called democratic values], which is under assault from the religious right (Catholic or Islamist) and the identity-obsessed left. But it is France’s Islamist scene that clearly sees the classroom as a frontline. A confidential government report recently sounded the alarm that Islamist “influencers” have been waging an online offensive to destabilize institutions and undermine laïcité (official secularism) in the school. Large accounts on mainstream social-media platforms encourage young people to confront staff on matters of religious contention, to pressure other students, and deliberately to violate school rules on dress code and religious attire.

Read more at UnHerd

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Islam, France, Radical Islam

Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict