Zineb El-Rhazoui was in Montreal the other day to talk about and fundraise for Charlie Hebdo.
According to El-Rhazoui, the most elementary defence against the rise of fundamentalism is to hammer home the point that religion holds no sway with the state .
“Secularism as far as I know, is the only way to permit everyone to live in the same society, even if people are different,” said El-Rhazoui.
“Islam needs to submit to secularism and it also needs to get a sense of humour.”
See what she did there? Islam needs to submit to secularism. That’s very good.
Patrick Kessel, of the French advocacy group Comité Laïcité République, said the fight against religious aggression concerns every western nation that has benefited from the last two centuries of political and philosophical evolution — advances that have brought to heel monarchs and faith leaders alike.
“This debate is not just French — it’s not just baguettes and berets. It’s universal,” said Kessel, who is joining El-Rhazoui this week.
While El-Rhazoui made no references to the political debate underway in Quebec, she said that ignoring the rise of inequalities that are based on religious dogma leads to a slippery and potentially catastrophic slope.
“If I start to accept that the girls in France who are from certain backgrounds don’t have the same rights, that it is shocking in her community if she wears (certain clothes), or if she expresses certain opinions, or if she drinks a glass of wine, or if she has a boyfriend, then it’s finished,” she said.
“Civilization will be finished. It’s the beginning of the end.”
It’s fascism. It’s no good.