Islam is too serious a subject to be left to extremes, whatever they may be. And the university cannot be held hostage to partisan squabbles. It is unacceptable for a researcher to be threatened with death for writing about the Muslim Brotherhood. Whether we approve of it or not, the work of Florence Bergeaud-Blackler must be able to be debated in an academic setting, free from all pressure. When it comes to Islam, the French university is clearly at an impasse. Under the influence of terrorism, the ideological background has gradually taken the first place.
The debate has crystallized between two tendencies that have become, over the years, two irreconcilable camps. As if the public debate had to be reduced to the quarrel between “Islamophobes” and “Islamo-leftists”. Our country, which has a long tradition of research on religion, deserves better than these simplifications. French society has been experiencing a demographic upheaval for several decades, with the rapid increase in the Muslim population on its soil. More than ever, it needs a university that works to objectify this phenomenon and its consequences, in a dispassionate way, with lucidity and coolness.
What is most distressing in this affair is the ease with which certain stakeholders seem to fall into the traps of the time, starting with the mixing of genres. The role of a researcher is to offer his contemporaries keys to understanding the world. The role of a political leader is to listen, to take positions and – if necessary – to act decisively. If we don’t elevate the intellectual debate on Islam, if we don’t urgently get it out of instrumentalization, we are condemned to watch the fundamentalists and the far right make short work of themselves.