Michel Houllebecq is a citizen of France, and an iconoclastic novelist. Many in his country regard him as the first among French writers. Muslims in France not only do not share that view, but have made attempts to silence him, for he makes no secret of his contempt for Islam and his alarm over the Muslim invasion of France. In the most recent attempt to silence Houllebecq, the Grand Mosque of Paris has decided to bring a criminal complaint against him for what it calls his “Islamophobic” views, demanding that he be punished under French law. A preliminary Jihad Watch report is here. One report on this crude attempt to silence an articulate enemy of Islam is discussed at a website run by Muslims here: “Paris Mosque Files Complaint Against French Islamophobic Writer,” by Eddie Hudson, 24PalNews, December 30, 2022:
On Thursday, the Grand Mosque of Paris announced the opening of a criminal case against French writer Michel Houellebecq over his anti-Muslim statements amid a surge of Islamophobia in the country.
The decision came after a “long conversation” between Houellebecq and another writer, Michel Onfray, and was published in Front Populaire magazine in November, the statement said.
In the article, Houellebecq said that people in France are “arming” and may attack Muslim institutions when “whole territories come under Islamic control.”
“People are arming. They buy rifles and take shooting courses … I think that resistance actions will occur when entire territories come under the control of Islam. Well, it would be Bataclan in reverse,” he said.
For the officials of the Grand Mosque of Paris, these “lapidary remarks” were “unacceptable and incredibly cruel.”
“They do not seek to shed light on any public debate, but provoke discriminatory rhetoric and actions,” he [the spokesman of the Grand Mosque] added.
The statement noted that while criticism of religion is permitted in a democratic society, the comments in the article “call for the complete rejection and exclusion of the Muslim component.”
Houllebecq nowhere calls for the “complete rejection and exclusion” of all Muslims; any Muslims who can faithfully integrate into French society — which would require their rejection of large parts of the Qur’an — would be able to stay in France.
“Under these circumstances, the Grand Mosque of Paris has decided to file a complaint… against what it considers to be an act of inciting hatred against Muslims,” the agency added.
Many non-Muslims will agree with that dismissive “when you read the Qur’an, you give up” – that is, one cannot make hide nor hair of much of it. Many others beside Houllebecq have concluded the same thing. Some may recall Thomas Carlyle’s description of the Quran “as toilsome reading and a wearisome confused jumble, crude, incondite” with “endless iterations, long-windedness, entanglement” and “insupportable stupidity.”
In 2002, Houllebecq was declared “not guilty of inciting racism” when he described Islam as “the stupidest religion.”
He further angered Muslims by comparing the Qur’an, most unfavorably, to the Jewish Bible:
“When you read the Koran, you give up. At least the Bible is very beautiful because Jews have an extraordinary literary talent.”
Another, fuller and fairer account of the latest Muslim attempt to silence Houllebecq, this one at the French website Radio France Internationale (RFI), can be found here: “Paris Mosque sues French writer Houellebecq over anti-Muslim comments,” RFI, December 2
The rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris has filed a complaint against award-winning French writer Michel Houellebecq over “staggeringly brutal” comments made during a recent interview in which the author drew divisions between “native French people” and “the Muslims” responsible for “robbing and assaulting them.”
In a statement published on Twitter on Wednesday, the Grand Mosque of Paris announced it had filed a complaint against Michel Houellebecq following “very grave comments he had made about Muslims in France”.
The statement referred to a “long conversation” between Houellebecq and philosopher Michel Onfray – the founder of “anti-system” magazine Front Populaire – published in November.
The statement, signed by the mosque’s rector Chems-Eddine Hafiz, quotes an extract:
“When entire territories are under Islamic control, I think that acts of resistance will take place. There will be attacks and shootings in mosques, in cafés frequented by Muslims, in short Bataclan in reverse,” referring to the 13 November 2015 terrorist attack on the Paris concert hall.
“The wish of the native French population, as they say, is not that Muslims assimilate, but that they stop robbing and assaulting them. Or else, another solution, that they leave,” Houellebecq is quoted as saying.
The Grand Mosque described the remarks as “unacceptable” and implied that Muslims were “not real French people.”
It wrote that the comments constitute “an incitement to hatred against Muslims” and “a call to reject and exclude the Muslim component as a whole.”
Houllebecq won the Goncourt Prize – France’s highest literary honour – in 2010.
But he is no stranger to controversy.
His 2015 fictional novel Submission, about the rise to power of an Islamist president in France, won acclaim but also sparked concern over fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment.
So here is a summary of what Houllebecq said in his interview, that so exercised the men who run the Grand Mosque of Paris:
1. The French are fearful that whole areas of their country – the “suburbs” (banlieues) of the great cities – have already been, or are now being, taken over by their overwhelmingly Muslim inhabitants, and now constitute No-Go areas for Infidels, including representatives of the authority of the state, such as policemen and firemen.
2. As a result of the violence visited upon them by Muslims, engaged in house burglaries, robberies in the street, car arsons, rapes, and murders, the indigenous people in France are“arming” themselves and may in self-defense attack Muslim institutions when “whole territories come under Islamic control.” They are prepared to defend themselves, their families, their country against the foreign invaders who have arrived only to take advantage of the generous welfare benefits France offers, but not to pledge, or feel, any loyalty to France or the French.
3. The officials at the Grand Mosque described these statements by Houllebecq as “unacceptable and incredibly cruel.”
Is it “incredibly cruel” to note that French people, or many of them, are now preparing to defend themselves against an aggressive and hostile Muslim minority? Isn’t it simply a statement of fact? Would it be “incredibly cruel” to point out that the Qur’an teaches Muslims that they are the “best of peoples” (3:110) while non-Muslims are “the most vile of created beings” (98:6)? Isn’t this exactly the kind of truth-telling that non-Muslims need to hear, since they have too often been in the past succumbed to Muslim propaganda about the “peaceful” nature of Islam?
Let the Grand Mosque once again bring suit against Houllebecq. If justice is done, the charges will certainly be dismissed. He nowhere preaches hate against Muslims, but describes Islam merely as the “stupidest of religions.” That’s an opinion — not “hate speech” — that he’s allowed to express. He predicts what he thinks is likely to happen in France. To wit: he believes that the French will be forced to fight back against the Islamization of their own country, rather than continue their slow surrender to Muslims in the country’s No-Go areas. This is a prediction by someone who has looked at the situation not through some pollyannish lenses, but sees the dismal truth steadily and whole, and is unafraid to express it. When he says that the wish of the French is “not that the Muslims assimilate,” but that “they stop robbing and assaulting them,” he is pointing to the undeniable fact of sky-high rates of Muslim criminality. He knows the French, too, now disabused of their previous illusions, have abandoned their earlier naive faith that it would be possible to assimilate Muslim migrants into the larger French society. The French have largely given up on the possible “assimilation” of Muslims, because they now realize that it is the Muslims themselves who reject assimilation. Why should the “best of peoples” want to “assimilate” into a society created by Infidels, the “most vile of created beings”?
The wish Houllebecq ascribes to the French — that Muslims “stop robbing and assaulting them” in a Muslim crime wave that never stops – is perfectly justified. The crime statistics bear out his view that there is an enormous amount of Muslim-on-French crime. Muslims make up 10% of the population, but constitute 80% of the inmates in French jails. Does the Grand Mosque really want Houllebecq, pugnacious and unbowed, to bring up in the court proceedings the statistics relating to Muslim criminality in France?
The Grand Mosque claims that Houllebecq’s remarks in his interview with Michel Onofray constitute “an incitement of hatred against Muslims.” Do they? Has he tried to whip up a mob, baying for blood? Has he preached hatred against Muslims in France? All he has done is provide his opinion of what is likely to come in France, unless the Muslim presence sharply decreases. He recognizes that Muslims may live in, but still refuse to be part of, France. For it is their large-scale presence in France that has made life for the indigenous French more unpleasant, more expensive, and more physically dangerous than it would be without that large-scale presence. That really is the essence of his message. Is Houllebecq no longer to be allowed to state what he believes are simple home truths about the dangers to his fellow countrymen from the aggressive and violent adherents of Islam, the faith which he describes as “the world’s stupidest religion”?