Is France at breaking point? | The Stream

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    The French city of Nice is in shock this week after a man stormed into a Catholic church with a knife, beheading one woman and killing two other people.    The attack came two weeks after teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded near Paris by an attacker who said he was angered by the teacher using cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to teach a class about freedom of expression.  President Emmanuel Macron’s subsequent defence of such cartoons angered some Muslims in the country. And comments the president made about “Islamist separatism” and earlier remarks about the religion being “in crisis” prompted demonstrations in several Muslim nations and strong rebukes from leaders such as Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan and Pakistan’s Imran Khan. “France is under attack … we won’t surrender anything,” Macron told reporters outside the Notre-Dame basilica after the incident in Nice, doubling down on his position and labeling it “an Islamic terror attack”. The attacker, who was Tunisian and shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he carried out the killings, was shot and arrested by police.    The French Council of the Muslim Faith condemned the attack and called on Muslims in France to stop celebrations marking the birthday of the prophet “as a sign of mourning and in solidarity with the families of victims and the Catholics of France.” The attacks, and Macron’s comments on Islam and defence of the caricatures, have put a long-running and rancorous debate about Islam’s place in France’s avowedly secular society firmly back on the agenda. Muslims in France say they have for decades faced rampant Islamophobia. A 2019 study carried out by Bertelsmann Stiftung found that about 40 percent of people in France viewed Islam as “a threat”.   In this episode of The Stream, we examine France’s internal security challenges, its government’s often fraught relationship with its Muslim communities and consider the potential impacts of this latest attack – on Muslims and non-Muslims alike.  Join the conversation:  TWITTER:  FACEBOOK:  Subscribe to our channel #aljazeeraenglish #ajstream #France

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    In This Story: Bertelsmann

    Bertelsmann is a German private multinational conglomerate based in Gütersloh, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is one of the world’s largest media conglomerates and also active in the service sector and education. Bertelsmann was founded as a publishing house by Carl Bertelsmann in 1835.

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    Emmanuel Jean-Michel Frédéric Macron is a French politician who has been President of France and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra since 14 May 2017. In the legislative elections a month later, Macron’s party, renamed “La République En Marche!” (LREM), secured a majority in the National Assembly. At the age of 39, Macron became the youngest president in French history.

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    France is a republic and the largest Western European nation. Through expansion and colonisation in the 17th and 18th centuries France became a great power and still retains territories around the world. It has a seat on the UN security council and is the world’s fourth most wealthy country with a high standard of living and strong cultural identity.

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  • In This Story: Islam

    Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that Muhammad is the final and ultimate messenger of God. It is the world’s second-largest religion with 1.8 billion followers or 24.1% of the world’s population, known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 49 countries.

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