French President to announce plan to fight ‘Islamist separatism’

French President to announce plan to fight 'Islamist separatism'
French President Emmanuel Macron will unveil a new policy today. Photo: AFP
President Emmanuel Macron will reveal the government's new strategy during a visit in one of the areas identified as needing to be 'taken back' by the French Republic.

French President Emmanuel Macron will hold a long-awaited speech on Tuesday afternoon to reveal the government’s new strategy to fight Islamist extremism.

“We need to accept that there is what I would call a separatism in our Republic today,” the President said in January.

The government's new plan to tackle what it has long dubbed communitarianism – or the separation of communities and lack of integration – was first announced after a deadly attack on a police station in Paris in October 2019.

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The attacker – who killed for police employees and severely wounded two others before being shot dead – was a radicalised Islamist who had worked at the station as a computer expert for over 15 years. 

It was the latest in series of jihadist terror attacks that had struck France, including the Charlie Hebdo shooting in 2015, the Bataclan massacre later the same year and the Nice truck attack in 2016.

“We will wage an unrelenting fight in the face of Islamist terrorism,” Macron said back then, calling “the entire nation” to mobilise against the threat of radicalisation.

The President also said the country needed to be “relentless with communitarianism,” but “without stigmatising our fellow Muslim citizens.”

Macron will hold the speech in Mulhouse, a town in the Haut-Rhin département in northeast France, close to both the Swiss and German borders.

He will begin his visit on Tuesday at the local police office in Bourtzwiller, before meeting with representatives from the local community.

The government said it had chosen Bourtzwiller as a destination for the president’s speech because it featured among the areas that it said needed to be “won back” by the Republic.

The government created the term Quartiers de reconquête républicaine (QRR) in 2018 to identify areas in need of a reinforced security focus and the presence of state organisations in order to fight crime, trafficking or radicalisation. 

Forty-seven areas have so far been tabbed as QRR.

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