World News: France, Fanaticism, Religion and Samuel Paty

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While many questions arise after the assassination of Samuel Paty, a history and geography teacher, by a fanaticized adolescent, the question of the intellectual permeability of certain individuals in a global context of ignorance and psychological manipulation also emerges.

Gone are the emotions and the legitimate astonishment which followed the assassination of Samuel Paty, after showing caricatures of the prophet Muhammad to his students as he attempted to explain the trial of Charlie Hebdo collaborators. Now it is time for questions. And it is clear there are many.

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The investigation undertaken will certainly make it possible to identify the chain of responsibilities which commanded such an act. However, there remains a question which may remain unanswered and which refers to the intellectual and psychological fragility of some, like the teenager who murdered Samuel Paty.

How then can a section of the population show itself to be permeable to the discourses carried by radical Islam? The answer is of an abysmal complexity and draws its source from a multitude of social and political realities, proven or fantasized, which serve as breeding ground for this discourse which goes beyond the framework of the Republic.

The latter, perceived by supporters of this discourse as oppressive and castrating, is therefore one of the first targets that Islamic radicalism aims. He is certainly not the only one because many extremist speeches make, or are made, of the Republic, the mother of many evils.

Discourse and Exclusion

In addition to the constitutional element, there is also an often manipulated ignorance of holy texts, associated with an intellectual inability to master the concepts of individual freedom, freedom of worship or secularism.

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Intrinsically linked in the republican pact, these three principles are also regularly undermined by all extremists who see in them forms of deviance that the holy texts condemn or, more simply, do not explain. And for good reason, they were not written with this in mind.

However, the permeability of certain individuals, heavily influenced by apparently powerful and founded speeches, is thus capable of degenerating into dramas comparable to the one we have just experienced. If some, and rightly, call for education again and again to put an end to this inertia of ignorance, the bearer of violence and hatred, it is also imperative to specify that this vicious circle is regularly fed by a whole group. factors that are known but too often poorly understood.

Thus, radical Islam is nourished by the feeling of exclusion experienced by certain believers who are poorly or not integrated into their host societies, from the rationality which is also poorly understood in contemporary democratic regimes for many marked with the seal of secularism, returning religious belief to the private sphere, or even a feeling of victimization or martyrdom felt by these fragile fringes of the population, a feeling itself maintained by radical speeches quick to denounce all the existing contradictions between democratic societies and holy texts.

Society and Preachers

Without taking the time, and on purpose, to explain that religious belief and faith belong to the private and not to the public, to the private and not to the institutional, the radical discourse depicts a society hostile to the faithful against which we must then rise up and fight those who defend or promote it.

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Closed and hermetic discourse, the radical statement willingly excludes all openings towards contemporaneity because this would reveal its contradictions and its errors. Far from reaching even the value of a scientific substratum, the radical discourse does not appeal to its simplicity which turns out to be nothing other than intellectual poverty without proven support or scientific historical or sociological support.

Here then is a modest attempt to explain the permeability of certain individuals guilty of their present or future acts, victims of their intellectual and educational weakness.

Placed under the control of skillful preachers with a seasoned dialectic, these same individuals become the dependent pawns of a company with visibly incompatible aims with our democratic, secular, and globalized societies.

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Religion should set the captive free, those enslaved to a detrimental mindset or lifestyle who carry emotional wounds, and not to enslave him to skewed doctrine, wrong thinking, or personal power trips. Any doctrine in the wrong hands, those with false agendas, will result in indoctrinated, fanatics.

And to conclude with this maxim of Condorcet, also guillotined in times of fanatic extremism, "we must teach what is enough not to depend."


Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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