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French conservative editorialist in hot water after citing poll on radicals

A French opinion writer, Ivan Rioufol is in trouble after describing radical Islamists as supporters of the “ideology of the Islamic State”.

Published: May 2, 2017, 11:15 am

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    Rioufol is currently under investigation, and may be subject to a criminal procedure because of his remarks after the French audiovisual authority, CSA, received about 40 complaints, as revealed by Buzzfeed. The replay of the show is not available on the CNews website any longer however.

    The editorialist was invited on April 21 on CNews where he said that “27 percent of French Muslims claimed the ideology of the Islamic State”.

    The CSA declared on Tuesday, 25 April, that it had opened a file after the remarks by Rioufol, an editorialist for Le Figaro, made on CNews last Friday. As a guest on the show “L’heure des pros”, presented by Pascal Praud, the opinion writer quoted from a poll by the Institut Montaigne showing that “27 percent of French Muslims claimed the ideology of the Islamic State, and 50 percent of young Muslims of the suburban neighborhoods”.

    The poll he quoted on CNews, was conducted by Ifop on behalf of the very liberal Institut Montaigne, and was published in September 2016.

    It divides the Muslim population living in France into three categories: 46 percent are “secularized”, totally secular; 25 percent have “Islamic pride”, being defined above all as Muslim and proud of the public expression of their religion; and 28 percent of the “Ultras” are living in breach of republican values, and polled in favor of the wearing of niqab or burqa and polygamy.

    The latter group is overrepresented among young people, as 50 percent of Muslims under 25 years of age are members of the group, according to the study.

    It is thus the last group, the 28 percent of Muslims, that Ivan Rioufol reproached for adhering “to the ideology of the Islamic State”.

    The Institut Montaigne complained on Twitter on Tuesday that the panel of respondents “was not questioned on Daesh,” and “in no case can the findings of our inquiry feed your comments,” the think tank added in their response to the editorial writer.

    According to AFP, Rioufol meanwhile denounced the “intimidation by a religious minority”.

    But it may no longer only be a religious minority. The recent European Values survey shows much more than 70 percent of all French Muslims and 69 percent of British Muslims say that they wanted sharia law to replace democracy.

    A new survey conducted by the thinktank European Values found 44 percent of Muslims in Europe have beliefs that correspond to radical Islamic fundamentalism, clouding the prospect of migrant integration.

    Researchers from European Values, based in the Czech Republic, defined Islamic fundamentalism as a belief in returning to the roots of Islam, coupled with an adherence to a strict interpretation of the Quran.

    The survey discovered 54 percent think of the West as an enemy of Islam. Among fundamentalist Muslims, 72 percent of respondents said they would use violence to defend Islam.

    The results prompted a strong reaction from Radko Hokovský, executive director of European Values, who said Islamic fundamentalists are determined to apply their religion in a way that could potentially destroy personal freedom. He warned the Czech Republic should learn from the disaster that is Western Europe.

    “The Czech Republic should not repeat the mistakes made by some Western countries with strong Muslim communities,” Hokovský said. “Liberal democracy must be able to defend itself.”

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