Conflans attack: for Cazeneuve, “we wanted to bring down a symbol of the Republic”

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Bernard Cazeneuve is familiar with the issue of Islamist terrorism having been confronted with it during the 2015-2016 wave, when he was Minister of the Interior. The socialist stands out from what he calls “Islamo-leftism”.

The modus operandi of the Conflans-Sainte-Honorine attack recalls that of Saint-Quentin-Fallavier (Isère), in 2015, where a man had beheaded his employer. We remember your very strong emotion then. Did the death of Samuel Paty stir personal feelings in you?

BERNARD CAZENEUVE. Yes, I felt great grief again. I also know that the French are never as aware of the treasure that their unit constitutes as when terrorists seek to undermine it, with extreme violence. I also think that with this attack, we took a step forward: by assassinating a teacher who wanted, through a debate on cartoons, to teach a course on freedom of expression, we wanted to bring down a symbol of the Republic. We also attacked the sanctuary that is the school. Because the school is precisely the place at the threshold of which we leave all the philosophical, religious, personal beliefs inherited from the family tradition, to enter the sacred place of knowledge, which forges free will.

In five years, the situation has not improved?

The situation is very different from what prevailed five years ago. With the weakening of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, terrorists no longer have the same means to organize massive attacks in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Since 2013, considerable efforts to increase the resources of the security and intelligence forces have been made and new legislative provisions have been adopted, such as individual criminalization for terrorism, the closure of websites calling for terrorism or the law on terrorism. intelligence… This proactive action made it possible to avoid numerous attacks.

However, they did not stop …

Today there are acts of individual violence, committed by radicalized people in territories which, for many decades, have moved away from the Republic. The slow deterioration of fundamental principles such as secularism, certain petty cowardice and mediocre concessions in the face of communitarianism, especially at the time of local elections, damaged the republican pact and weakened living together.

What “little cowardice” do you think of?

This concerns political parties whose elected officials have compromised themselves to win the municipal elections or to maintain electoral clienteles in order to be re-elected. There is also the Islamo-leftism which looks with the eyes of Chimene at certain communitarian organizations which have in them a mistrust, not to say a form of hatred of the Republic. This movement seeks to accredit the idea that the Republic is a machine for excluding and discriminating against certain citizens, that the police are essentially racist.

By dint of conveying this type of discourse throughout interviews or by subtly distilling them through unhealthy propaganda on social networks, we end up instilling in the minds of part of the youth that violence is legitimate, since the revolt is just. This speech maintains within the Republic the ferments of the greatest confrontation and the most total division. However, the humanist left is historically the opposite of this since its ambition is to see the Republic take all its children in its arms and invite it to progress ever more towards real equality.

VIDEO. Conflans-Sainte-Honorine: hundreds of people pay tribute to Samuel Paty

Should we strengthen the legislative arsenal to fight against this individual terrorism?

Even if the risk has greatly decreased in intensity, we will suffer further terrorist acts. To avoid them as much as possible, it will be necessary to continue to increase the power of territorial intelligence and to strengthen the capacity to analyze weak signals, heralding a desire for radicalized individuals to take action. It will also be necessary to continue European cooperation in the fight against terrorism, but also to intensify the fight against Islamism by increasing the number of joint initiatives within the G5 Sahel, particularly in the area of ​​intelligence. The current government is continuing this action, like those who acted in the past under the authority of François Hollande.

Will the law on “separatism” to be unveiled on December 9 be useful?

I will wait for the final text to make a scrupulous and honest analysis. It will be necessary to look for each of the provisions provided for those which already existed in other texts. For example, the law of 1905, in its article 31, penalizes the pressures which can be exerted in the name of a religion on an individual by infringing his freedom of conscience or his free will. To say that we put an end to the seconded imams is very good, on condition of explaining precisely who will ensure the training of imams in France and under what conditions. We could thus multiply the examples. Faced with Islamism, adopting new texts containing provisions which already existed and which were not applied never helps to make them more applicable, but only to demonstrate the powerlessness of the State.

It’s dangerous ?

When the Republic is attacked, if we are satisfied with the expected effects of communication, summoning concepts and words to demonstrate that we are endowed with a will greater than that of our predecessors, or than anything that is relevant and useful started with you alone, you take a risk. That of disrupting the necessary continuity of public action which is the condition of its effectiveness, but also the necessary political unity, because this always supposes great humility.

Some students consider that showing Muhammad’s caricatures is not secularism but a provocation against their religion. How to fight against this misunderstanding?

It is not a misunderstanding. It is a manifestation of ignorance that wins, of fanaticism that takes hold of minds and hearts. A form of obscurantist stupidity encysts itself, which results in intolerance and violence, in the refusal to access the reasoning of the other.

Emmanuel Macron said “they will not pass”, an obvious reference to the Spanish Civil War. Are we facing a new fascism?

I think Islamism is totalitarianism. We can see it clearly: where it has imposed itself by violence, it has called into question all freedoms and kept populations under the yoke. The fight against Islamism must appeal to the same determination and the same resilience as the fight against the totalitarian ideologies of yesterday.

How long is public opinion able to endure the occurrence of such attacks?

What struck me a lot when I was in government, in the face of the terrorist attacks, is to what extent the French constitute a people who reason intelligently and whose intuitions are correct. This is the reason why we have a duty to speak to the intelligence of the French, respecting them for what they are throughout their history. We must not, through public speech, outbursts, easy concepts, the desire to seduce, or that through populism, we spoil what the French are capable of: I mean their ability to unite and stay united. The intelligence of our people must not be spoiled by those who sometimes arrogate to themselves the right to speak in their name, summoning the greatest demagoguery.

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