For years ‘France’, to a common man in the Muslim world was associated with the Eiffel Tower and the French Fries, however in recent years it has begun to be associated with negative connotations. Having already banned wearing of Hijab in schools, this year in April France imposed a fine of 150 Euro on wearing a face veil by Muslim women. And in September, it has now enforced a ban on praying on street. The hostility of the French government is clearly evident from these legislations, which target tenants of Islam. This exposes the true nature of a secularism that France proudly boasts about.
The foreign policy of France with regards to the Muslim world, also resembles its domestic policies. In the past the French had collaborated with the British to break apart the Caliphate into nation states, by signing the Sykes–Picot Agreement of 1916. After succeeding in division of the Muslim lands once unified under Khilafah, the French Gov. and the British Gov. maintained cordial relationship with the dictators they planted over the Muslim lands, and plundered their resources.
The French, like other nations, has always pursued its vested interests. Despite the fact that Gaddafi’s oppression of his own people was well known, throughout his entire rule the French were not bothered about the regime’s human rights record.
The closeness of the secular government of France, and the tyrant in Libya, has been evident on many occasions. During the 2005 civil unrest in France, Gaddafi called Chirac and offered him his help in quelling the resistors, who were largely North African, for which President Chirac had thanked him, although the offer was declined. Sarkozy welcomed Gaddafi to Paris, and hosted a meeting at Elysee Palace in Paris in December 2007. The French Gov. had also helped negotiate with Gaddafi over key issues, in order to bring it out of isolation, and normalize relationship with EU and the US.
So close were the ties between Sarkozy and Gaddafi that Saif al-Islam commenting on France move to recognize NTC said: “Sarkozy must first give back the money he took from Libya to finance his electoral campaign. We funded it and we have all the details and are ready to reveal everything”.
The French Government pursued lucrative deals with Gaddafi in a number of areas. In 2009 France’s minister for development, Alain Joyandet represented France in Libya on the celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of Muammar al-Gaddafi’s brutal regime.
However, this year 2011 witnessed a rapid change in the political dynamics of North African states i.e. Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Cunningly the French Government which for years had deliberately ignored the gross atrocities of the Gaddafi regime switched sides when it became evident from uprising of Muslims that Gaddafi’s dictatorship was no longer sustainable. Only weeks before siding with Arab uprising, Sarkozy had offered police back-up to the Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, while protesters were dying in Tunisia’s streets.
The French Government was swift in her actions to ensure its influence in Libya was kept consolidated. The French government was the first to formally recognize the rebel alliance under NTC, and successfully engaged in efforts to bring EU and NATO onboard for military intervention in Libya.
Sarkozy has taken an ‘intensely personal interest’ in Libya. According to Elynsée observers ‘not since the cold war has a French leader made an international conflict such a personal obsession, poring over maps and plans, having the last word on arming rebel fighters’.
The open aggression of France against tenants of Islamic faith domestically, and outright wars on Muslim lands, stands in a stunning contrast to history. The very region which France is feasting as its latest win, was once part of a formidable power in international politics i.e the Caliphate. In 1525 at the battle of Pavia, the French King Francis I was captured. Humiliated at the capture of her king, her army tried to rescue the king from captivity, but they failed. France – in utter hopelessness – than approached the known super power of its time, the Islamic Khilafah state. On 6th December 1525 the French, on behalf of their King sent a message to the Uthmani Khilafah, to seek help. The messenger met the Uthmani Khaleef ‘Sulayman al-Qanooni’, who decided to help France. Sulayman gave the messenger a letter which read: “we have received the letter delivered by your messenger, and in which you stated that your enemy has attacked your country and you are imprisoned and seek our help in respect to securing your release. We have answered your request so be at ease and do not worry”. These explicit words in which Sulayman responded speak volumes of the stature of the state in international politics. The Khilafah state used its international weight and military power to rescue the King of France and made an effective contribution towards his release. It is pertinent to note that The Khaleefah of the Muslims helped France without compensation, without occupying a part of France or colonizing any region of France in return. Rather the Khilafah state did the action as an act of goodwill.
Today, France openly and shamelessly espouses its rotten secular values, by legislating bans targeting Muslims. And moreover, it openly boasts of its new fortified influence in Libya and is eagerness to secure energy and other interests there. However the Muslims should realize the hypocrisy of French intervention and intentions which lay brazenly exposed.
It will be utterly naive if the Muslims in Libya, who have sacrificed immensely in the struggle against the tyrant, look up to western powers such as France, as friends. Instead, the Muslims in general, and the NTC in particular must heed lessons from the past, and realize that their sovereignty lies in reviving a Caliphate, which is an indigenous model of governance rooted in the Islamic ideology, and historically has worked tremendously well for the region.
For Libya, the Caliphate can usher an era free from foreign influence, and Libya would have the potential to lead the Arabs who are currently eagerly looking for a new leadership. Also this move will enable Libya to garner support from other African nations, who have suffered from foreign interventions. The people of Libya can change the status quo for the better by standing on their own feet, and thereby reminding France of the favor they have long forgotten.
Sharique Naeem is an automation engineer, and a writer and political commentator. His writings have been published in national newspapers of Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Yemen & Iran. He can be reached at[email protected]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect New Civilisation’s editorial policy.