Where are you administrative today?
Theoretically, the answer is simple. Since the end of my four-month suspension, on 14 April, I have been a teacher at the IEP in Grenoble again, as have my colleagues. My principal just confirmed it to me: if I want, I can go back to school in September and no one will stop me.
In practice, it is more complicated: firstly, mysteriously – and contrary to what the law requires – there was no disciplinary recommendation against me after my suspension, which, in my lawyers, makes him legally unfounded. The administrative court will look at this point in time and its judgment will tell us how far the freedom of speech of the university teacher goes. Then, apart from a handful of friends, no one at IEP really wants me back. At least that’s what I was told. Okay, but what to do? Continue to stay at home? Should I retire? If the ministry pulls an alternative place out of my hat by the beginning of the school year – an interesting position! – I will let you know. If not, I’ll be in front of IEP students in September.
What ignited the powder? Have you questioned the concept of Islamophobia?
It wasn’t my intention. I was invited to take part in a debate entitled ‘Racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia’. I was troubled by intellectual inconsistencies in highlighting anti-Semitism and racism on the one hand and Islamophobia on the other. Anti-Semitism, racism, we know very well what it is, historians, philosophers, sociologists have researched them. But Islamophobia? It is a very recent term, a very vague term that we do not know exactly what it involves. Is this hostility to the Muslim religion completely legitimate and legal in France? For Muslims themselves, who would fall under the crime of racism? We do not know. I would like to discuss this, especially because in this case I felt a desire to downplay the Shoah and the persecution of French Muslims who were to be new Jews. They didn’t give me time. I was attacked, insulted by posters and social media posts …
Your management did not support you. Ideological participation or a simple desire not to make waves?
In any case, there is no ideological consensus between the director of the IEP and the “decolonists” and other Islamic-leftists who denigrate me. I would say that politically it is more in the center. Willingness not to make waves? for sure. But I believe that his attitude is mainly due to obvious incompetence. A few weeks after the attack on Samuel Paty, she did not see the explosiveness of the conflict. The fact that one of his professors was publicly accused of Islamophobia was very serious; she didn’t think she had to replace my colleague, who accused me of her. When the students took over and escalated these defamatory allegations, she didn’t contact me to let me know, she didn’t ask the students to delete their social media posts, she didn’t tell the prosecutor how to do it. .
Various IEPs (Paris, Lyon, Grenoble …) are the target of the sectarian left. How do you interpret it?
The victims of this are not just the IEP. We find this phenomenon at university, especially in the social sciences. And it’s not just students (those who recently broke everything at La Sorbonne), but also teacher-researchers who imported theories about gender, “race,” “decolonism” from the United States, which wouldn’t be a problem if agreed on a discussion. However, they want to force them. Tolerance and debate are disappearing. If you contradict these theories, you are immediately considered a defeated enemy. I would like to discuss Islamophobia; They rejected this debate and I was offended. The worst thing is that we reject the debate in the name of science, a militant science that no longer knows the axiological neutrality that Max Weber is dear to. As for students, they either declare themselves “offended” or become aggressive.
What is this refusal to discuss? Reducing the debate to its moral dimension? or intellectual impossibility to argue?
It is certain that the intellectual level of the social sciences has fallen considerably in recent years. Articles on gender, race, and decolonism are often extremely weak. Their authors read little, are highly specialized, do not have discipline, but are content with “studies” (“studies”) in which they come up with complex, and therefore attractive, words. And then there are the students. Their level has also dropped enormously. They did not even read works of great literature. They come to believe that they know everything and expect their teachers to give them a scientific phase that will embellish their prejudices. In addition, I think that in a world without God, the search for spirituality is all behind it …
What do you mean?
I think that all their beliefs, which are just ideologies, have replaced this god who has died since Nietzsche. My students have parents who no longer go to church, they don’t know the gospels, they don’t know what faith is … Even the utopia of communism is dead. At the same time, they have to believe in something. We have convinced them that our Western democracy is terribly unfair. They believe in the need to save the planet, and for that capitalism must be abolished … In short, they reject any rational debate, victims, that they are narrow dogmatism; their struggle has something religious in it, in the worst sense of the word. Thus, they feel the criticism of their faith as blasphemy.
You say that some say they are “offended”, that word keeps coming back. Is that honest? Or a comedy to silence the camp opposite?
It is partly hypocritical. Those who say they are insulted by Islamophobia, for example, are the ones who show immense aggression in the next minute, attack you and slander you with violence. All this does not go very well together!
As far as I am concerned, I believe that my Muslim students have been sincerely offended by my remarks about radical Islam, which I have said to shock me, especially with its violence, a place he attributes to women. But I think they taught them to be offended, to be victims. When we criticize their religion, they reject the discussion because they are injured. But if they do not want us to discuss these issues, which are so crucial for our society, they no longer have a place in the IEP. Otherwise, IVP as a training place no longer makes sense.
Do you consider yourself an informant, as stated literally in your book, which was signed by one of your colleagues?
Yes. It’s a story that came to my mind without looking for it … I talked to the press on the one hand because I had to defend myself and on the other hand because I think it interests society as as IEP trains future executives of our company. The impossibility of free discussion, the threat to freedom of expression, the indoctrination that reigns there: we must know all this. So yes, it was necessary to trigger an alert!