After Terror Attacks, Muslims Wonder About Their Place in France

Eiffel Tower the most well known landmark of France

Source: New York Times

French officials’ attack on “Islamic separatism” and the “enemy within” has Muslims questioning whether they will ever fully be accepted.

By Constant Méheut

IVRY-SUR-SEINE, France — At age 42, Mehdy Belabbas embodied the French republican promise of upward social mobility: the son of a Muslim construction worker of Algerian descent, he was the first in his family to attend graduate school and served for 12 years as the deputy mayor of the working-class city where he grew up.

And yet for the past two weeks, Mr. Belabbas has been thinking about just one thing: “I’m wondering if I should leave France.”

Mr. Belabbas’s thoughts stemmed from days of heated — if not hostile — public debate, largely fueled by President Emmanuel Macron’s own ministers, that started in response to the gruesome beheading of a teacher by an 18-year-old Muslim extremist and was refueled by what officials believe was an Islamist terror attack in Nice on Thursday.

French officials have vowed to crack down on what the hard-line interior minister, Gérald Darmanin, has called “the enemy within,” closing a mosque, proposing to ban several Muslim groups the government considers extremist and even suggesting the elimination of ethnic food aisles in stores.

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