… Beyond Radical Secularism: How France and the Christian West Should Respond to the Islamic Challenge - VoegelinView. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
… the first thing I want to note about this topic is how many people will reflexively reject the idea that there is any such topic worth discussing. “French Muslims,” they will say, “are no different then any other French person: they are rights-bearing individuals who are citizens of the French nation, and more importantly, of Europe. And even to suggest that there could be some issue of the relationship of the French nation as such to the Muslim community as such is probably an indication of racism or Islamaphobia.”
But Manent sees such a response as a symptom of an ideological delusion, a deliberate refusal to look at reality. France is an historical entity, not an abstraction, and to be French is much more than to simply possess certain rights. And Muslims do not see themselves as atomic individuals adrift in a Gallic sea of other atomic individuals, but as members of a community of believers, the Ummah, who together share a moral way of life. Thus, the secular liberal response of denying there can even be an issue of how the nation of France relates to its Muslim population is doubly false, and starting, even with great intentions, from a doubly false view of a situation, one typically only makes a further botch of it, like one who is trying to operate on his pet frog, with his eyes closed, while repeating to himself that the frog is actually a pocket watch.