France and its Indigenous Muslims
Let’s engage in a little thought experiment.
France is going through hard times. As if fighting the Coronavirus is not enough, it has also had to deal with two terror attacks in two weeks (the beheading of a teacher in Paris and the stabbing murders of three Christians at a church in Nice). The news has been peppered over the years with reports of terrorism in France and President Macron recently enraged the Muslim word by saying he will do what he can to ensure that Muslim immigrants to France integrate into French society and do not remain separate from it, a phenomenon that allows terrorism to grow from within.
Let us imagine that Macron is not successful and that the current radical Muslim immigrants are joined by uncontrollable waves of illegal immigrants. They storm France and, supported by Turkey and Iran, they do in France what they did across North Africa and the Ancient Near East in the years 622-750 CE. Those French non-Muslim citizens who are not killed flee the country for their lives. A very small number of die-hard French remain in the country, mostly in the rural regions where they are not as severely under the ever watchful eye of those seeking infidels to convert. They are often protected by local sheikhs as long as they pay jizya (fees in exchange for the right to live under Islamic Law as a non-Muslim).
What happens in France is repeated in the other European countries and the national borders fall under the new caliphate.
Fast-forward one thousand years. The French diaspora never gave up their dream of returning to France. They kept their language alive, their culture alive. French art grew into a recognizable style as the plastic arts became a way French people around the globe have been able to “talk” to each other in a way only they understand. Underground films and plays promote their pride in language and traditions. They have been able to maintain the culinary arts so respected by chefs around the world generations earlier. Bastille Day was and is celebrated by all and it represents their aching for their return to Paris.
Now let us imagine that the French build up an army and they successfully retake the land once named France. Now the Muslims are running and abandoning homes they had lived in for a thousand years. The victorious French tell them they can stay if they agree to abide by French law and be part of France.
But they regard the loss of their dominance as a catastrophe and they are not willing to accept it.
They argue vociferously that the French have committed genocide against the indigenous Muslim population. They call France a settler-colonial project. Some even try to strengthen their claims by declaring that their ancestry dates back to the ancient Gauls.
It is clear that some arrangment has to be made to ensure that all living within the borders of France (likely not the full extent of the pre-caliphate borders) live in safety and are free to live their lives as they see fit, as long as it is not at the expense of the safety and freedom of others. All are given individual equality but the symbols of the reborn French nation are those of the old France and Burj Hadid once more becomes the Eiffel Tower; French replaces Arabic as the national official language. These are protected by law in spite of protest on the part of the Muslim minority who claim this law is discriminatory.
I hope that nobody reading this would say that the Muslims are indigenous to France any more than your would say the English are indigenous to France in my thought experiment from 2015. It is clear that the settler-colonialists were the invading Muslims who wiped out national boundaries and created the caliphate. The returning descendants of those forced into exile a thousand years earlier are the true indigenous population of France.
Why is it so hard to understand that this is exactly what happened in Israel?