Tag Archives: halal meat

Riposte laïque: when secularism strikes back

9 Mar

Riposte laïque (Secular riposte)  is a web site founded in 2007, that claims defending the ideas of secularism without belonging to any political party or faction. Even though one of its founders, Pierre Cassen, is a former Trotskyist, some of the contributors have more right background. Moreover, some of site contributors seem to be tightly-bounded to Bloc identitaire, a French political movement belonging to the far-right political milieu. Majority of their articles focalizes on Islamic threat, these days especially on the halal meat polemics.

CC: Riposte laïque site

Robert Albarèdes is one of the most active contributors on the site Riposte laïque.  Politically active for more than 30 years, he if one of the site co-founders. Nowadays that retired literature professor “cultivates his garden” (reference to Voltaire’s Candide that he appreciates a lot is not random) in his house in Provence and writes for Riposte laïque on the topics he is passionate about. For him, as well as for the other site contributors, secularism is a French national symbol.

1. Could you say that there is an opinion proper to the whole team of Riposte laïque?

Riposte laïque is a free media, in the way that every contributor is personally responsible of his content; we don’t have a common policy. However, we have a common idea that unites us all, and that is the secularism and its importance in the French society. Except for that, our contributors, permanent or freelance, can be from the far-right or the far-left party, nobody cares. We are all different, each one of us has different sensibilitie and idea about politics. Yet, our writing about the secularism issues isn’t positioned on the right or the left angle of political scene.

2. In your opinion, what would be the biggest issue related to secularism at the 2012 presidential election?

Secularism is one of the pillars of our society. It’s a connection between the different layers of society and it should be threaten as equally important as crisis, unemployment or European integration. We consider that today there is an interior and an exterior threat to secularism, the first one coming from the religions inside our country, the second one from European institutions. I think that the “importation of Islam” in France by immigration  is a way to destroy secularism , to abolish the 1905 law and prepare the field for the European federalism that will reintroduce the Churches in the public sphere. Yet, the candidates apparently don’t think that secularism is that important these days.

3. What do you mean by that?

My personal opinion is that the candidates are using the concept of secularism in a completely random and inappropriate way. Moreover, their proposals are anti-secular, especially in the cases of Mr. Hollande or Mr. Sarkozy. They manipulate public opinion. These two biggest parties want to eradicate the secular system. Secularism, shouldn’t be misused in that way.

I find that Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (leader of the party Arise the Republic, former fraction  within the ruling Sarkozy’s party) and Madame Marine le Pen have the most coherent proposals on secularism. My opinion is based on statements written on their websites or pronounced during their public speeches. However, Jean-Luc Mélenchon (leader of Left Front) and Nathalie Arthaud-leader of Workers’ Struggle , a party with a long secular tradition-also defend the concept of secularism.

4. Riposte laique has been often criticized for its authors’ radical opinions on Islam and immigration. What is your response to this kind of criticism?

On the site, we defend firmly our positions on secularism. Of course, that provoked a strong reaction of those who don’t agree with us. Let me recall you that Rousseau and Voltaire were also criticized in their time because of their positions. The freedom if speech if one of the fundamental human rights. That means that we accept to be criticized, but we also give ourselves the right to criticize the others. That is a democratic debate that takes place on the internet.