France has closed down a Muslim publishing house for selling books that promote Islamic history and commemorate key Muslim figures who fought in the name of Islam, continuing its Islamophobic campaign to hurt Muslims sentiments in the name of French secularisation.
In a tweet, the right-wing Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin targeted the Muslim publisher NAWA Editions saying that it had an editorial line that was “anti-universalist” and was in direct opposition to the “Western values” adding that the publishing house was publishing content that legitimized jihad.
These works pointed out by the French politician include a biography of the seventh-century Muslim commander Khalid ibn al-Walid (RA).
The French government has been very quick to defend and even celebrate the controversial colonial-era commanders and figures who epitomize the brutal history of imperial France. However, Muslims could be labelled as extremists for publishing and celebrating personalities important to their identity and history.
In a statement, the NAWA Editions condemned the “purely political” move by the state. Other publishing houses expressed their alarm at the “drift of the French political model” towards executive dissolutions of Muslim organizations without due process.
France’s latest Islamophobic actions against a Muslim organization are part of a pattern that has seen the state closing charities that represent Muslims.
Last year, France’s anti-Islamophobia advocacy group CCIF followed the treatment of France’s largest Muslim charity Baraka City. CCIF is the only organization in the country collecting data on rising anti-Muslim violence in the country. In its findings, CCIF cited a fabricated connection with “Islamism”, which is a loose term that the government repeatedly uses against organizations that they deem to be in opposition to their political model.
The NAWA Publishing agency on its website describes itself as an organization that aims to “promote the human and political sciences born of Islamic heritage” and “contribute to the revitalization of these disciplines by studying the Western world and sciences, modern political ideology and doctrines”.
Organizations outside of the publishing industry have also come out in support of the unprecedented actions directed at the publishing house. Supporters of the NAWA Editions said that after the targeting against Baraka City, the CCIF, and the mosques, the French regime has now turned to the publishing agency to face the same fate written by Gerald Darmanin’s repressive policies.
France’s far-right leader Marine Le Pen is ahead in the polls for the 2022 presidential elections and is widely known for her anti-Islam and anti-Muslim stances.