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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  April 18, 2017 4:30am-5:00am BST

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government has told the bbc his country is prepared to launch a nuclear strike — "all—out war" — if the united states decides to attack it. the vice foreign minister also said missile tests would continue, "weekly, monthly, yearly," despite international condemnation. donald trump has telephoned turkey's president — recep tayyip erdogan — to congratulate him on his victory in sunday's referendum, which will give him sweeping new powers. international observers have criticised the fairness of the poll, and opponents hope to challenge the result in court. mr erdogan is extending the state of emergency in turkey for another 3 months. facebook is speeding up the way it handles violent videos and other material violating its standards — after video of an apparent random killing stayed on the site for more than two hours. the alleged gunman is still on the run. now it's time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk, i'm stephen sackur.
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is something rotten in the republic of france? as the country prepares to elect a new president polls suggest record levels of apathy and disillusion among french voters. a spate of terror attacks has sown insecurity and sparked a heated debate about immigration, islam and france's identity. my guest today is pascal bruckner, a writer and public intellectual in the grand french tradition. is france living through an age of decline? pascal bruckner, welcome to hardtalk.
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thank you. we are talking with a french presidential election very close. does france feel ripe for the sort of political shock that we've seen in recent times both in the uk over the brexit vote and in the united states with the victory of donald trump in the presidential election? i hope not, with all my heart i hope we won't face the same electoral results that you had with brexit and that the americans had with trump. so we're doing everything to avoid the passage to the far right with marine le pen. but at the present time we have two opposite candidates, jean—luc melenchon, who is a communist and a great admirer of putin, and we have marine le pen, the head of the ex—fascist party and also a great admirer of putin. so it seems putin is pulling the strings in france as he did
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maybe in the states. my question wasn't so much about the individual candidates or their ideologies but more about the mood about the public. i suppose if one is to generalise massively in the uk and the united states, we saw peoples who were angry, they were fearful and more than anything else they wanted to send a message, a very powerful message to elites they believed had betrayed them and left them behind. is that something that france has too? yes, it's exactly the same thing in france. people are puzzled, they're indecisive and they might bend over the saviour, whether extreme left or extreme right, who could carry out their anger. of course, what happened in france, like many other european countries, is that the working class went from the communist party to the far right because the working class felt abandoned by the elites, the leftist elites, and this scenario might reproduce itself in paris in ten days in may.
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i want to come back to the race and the personalities in it and their ideas later, but i do now want to put to you something that i find quite shocking and that is in your recent writing about the state of france today, you've said that for you one of the two biggest dangers and challenges facing the french republic today is political islam. islamism. are you serious about that? yes, i'm very serious. we have the greatest muslim community in europe, 5—6 million, and the greatestjewish community, so there's a strong risk of clashes.
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we know the muslim brotherhood on one hand, the salafists on the other hand, try slowly and then constantly to re—islamise the muslim population of france and turn it against the republic. it has been said overtly by many mouths, many clerics of muslim confessions. i think it's a risk because france is a privileged target. if france swings over to the re—islamisation of french muslim citizens it would be a victory for all the fundamentalists. the point is you began by saying we have 5—6 million muslims in france, you then proceeded to talk about a very small minority who take on board the ideas of the political islamists, the salafists, and a very tiny minority of that minority who actually consider
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or engage in violence. and to conflate that with the fact you've got 5—6 million muslims in your country is to do something both misleading and possibly very dangerous. no, it's not the fact they are engaged in violence, as you said, it's a minority. there was a poll made last summer by l'institut montaigne about the state of the muslim population in france, they said that 50% of the french muslims consider themselves like ordinary citizens. they practise religion but in private. amongst a very young generation, 28%—30% consider that the sharia should pervade over the republican law and they would like to come back to the early times of the prophet. so when president francois hollande in the wake of... i can't remember which, but one of the terror attacks in the last couple of years, which have killed over 200 people, they've been terrible, but after one of those attacks
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he used the language of a war. of course he declared a state of emergency, which still continues in your country, but he talked of a war. the same concept that george w bush used back in the aftermath of 9/11. do you think of this as a war? it is a war because if you go to paris you will see soldiers and policemen everywhere. it is a kind of low—key war, you know? it's not a war with trenches and tanks. as we know, attacks can come out everywhere at any moment of the day. we see this week, last week, in london three weeks ago what can happen, any kind of person can take a car or take a knife and try to kill as many people as possible. but i'm not afraid.
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i don't think the issue is terror. the terrorists won't win, they have no way to transform the population. i think the strategy of the fundamentalists is much more clever. they want to win through predication and persuasion. let me ask you a very blunt question, do you think france has a muslim problem? yes, like most countries in europe. you would use that phrase? i actually picked it up from your book. yes, yes, of course. i think this problem is also, as i said in the book, is also a symptom. i'm not the only one to say that. are you aware that for so many people watching this programme, to talk of a muslim problem is incitement. it represents the sort of inflammatory language that far from engendering a thoughtful debate about islamism and security
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and french identity, actually pits communities against each other and lumps the vast majority of muslims who live ordinary french lives, just like you do, with those tiny, tiny few who have bought into an ideology of violence. well, it's not exactly the case, i'm not the only one to say there's a muslim problem. most muslim french intellectuals say the same and the problem with islam is islamism, it's integrism, that's why they say to ask us, sometimes in vain, to be aware of what is going on. you know we are very close to algeria and in algeria there was a terrible civil war in 1992 which caused 200,000 dead people and this could happen again after the death of bouteflika. so yes, there is a danger and a problem and i think we should... you say might most intellectuals agree with me. many intellectuals do not agree with you. 0livier roy, who has written and studied extensively on islamist extremism in france, he says, look, at root the problem here is a sort of cultist ideology amongst young
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people, nihilistic ideology, which then finds an expression through islam but islamism isn't the root of their psychosis. do you understand what he's saying? yes, but i totally disagree with him. i'm not the only one, like gilles kepel, who in my eyes is a real specialist of islam because he speaks arabics and he makes enquiries... so does 0livier roy. he's just studied 100 case studies in france of young men who were radicalised and took on violent acts. he's studied their lives and their beliefs and this is his conclusion. but 0livier roy doesn't know the arabic world. he's a specialist of central asia, afghanistan, pakistan, iran. he's not very familiar with the arabic world, he doesn't speak the language. gilles kepel is more aware of the real situation, more aware of the risk. and what happens those last years
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in europe and france, what is happening every day now in st petersburg, in stockholm, last night in germany, is it proves that the optimism, the deliberate optimism of 0livier roy unfortunately does not fit and match reality. when you talk of a muslim problem you make those millions of muslims who live in france perfectly peaceably very uncomfortable. but you also seem to question the very notion that in france today there is a worrying strain of islamaphobia. that is there are many people in your country who are now deeply prejudiced against muslims and adopt discriminatory practices against muslims too. do you deny that is a problem? yes, i totally deny it and i'm going to tell you why. i think france offers to the muslim population a unique chance in europe. the chance to be... to adopt certain religious indifference. the chance to believe
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and not to believe. that's exactly what france offers to muslims and that is why the fundamentalists have such a violent reaction because they're very afraid to see all those people from muslim origin coming from algeria, morocco, tunisia or sub—saharan africa, little by little abandoning their ritual, ramadan, their religious practices, and become ordinary believers like we have ordinary christians orjews who go to the mass sometimes, who do religious feats, but don't care about religion. mr bruckner, you are, i called you a rather grand public intellectual, you write in paris, you have a comfortable life. how can you tell me islamaphobia doesn't exist? put yourself for just one minute in the position of a poor second
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generation north african immigrant living in a banlieue who has no chance of a job, and we know from the official statistics that it is much harder to get a job if you have an arabic name than if you have a traditional french name. put yourself in their shoes. don't call it islamaphobia, please, call it racism, because this is a real word. what i don't like in the word islamaphobia is that it blends two different meanings, first of the persecution of the believers, which of course is a crime in every country, and second the criticism of a religion and criticising religion is a human fundamental right, and so those people are not being harassed or discriminated against because they are muslim but because they come from maghreb, because they come from africa, because they come from asia. so let's not make religion the key of all these problems. forgive me but you are the man who talks about the muslim problem, so perhaps you are at the root of this issue yourself.
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let me quote you perhaps a significant voice around the world, that is the un secretary general, who just the other week said, "one of the things that fuels terrorism is the expression in some parts of the world of islamophobic feelings and islamophobic policies, and islamophobic hate speech." he has no doubt that there's such a thing as islamaphobia. yes, i knew this quote and i think it puts everything upside down. why has islamaphobia started at the first step? because there were all those terror attacks during the last 20 years. the terrorists have generated hatred of their own religion. they have generated islamaphobia, the hatred of islam, which, by the way, in france is not so strong because the statistic of the last two years made by the human rights commission show that the amount of anti—muslim acts have considerably decreased by 60%. that's the glass half full but the glass half empty
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is that there are still every year scores, getting on to the hundreds of attacks, specific attacks, on muslims because they're muslim in france. no, no, no. i'm first you have to understand, that we have had two terrible — three terrible terrorist attacks, against charlie hebdo, on the bataclan, and in nice. and so, if the people reacted after charlie hebdo, the french behaved in a very civilised way. there were no pogroms, there were no mosques burned, no one has been killed. and who has been killed in the last year injuly? a catholic priest, of 83 years, because he was catholic, by two radical islamists. we should not put everything upside down. i think the french have reacted in a very decent and civilised way,
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if you compare them with the americans after 9/11. yeah. why are you, so, it seems, lacking in self—confidence when you think about france today? you seem to think that there's a real problem because you claim voices like yours are being censored, gagged, because it's become politically incorrect to say what you say about muslims and about islamaphobia. but in fact you have a fantastic platform. you're on french tv all the time. everybody reads your articles and listens to you on the radio. in france today, there is a debate, and you're a part of it, so why do you argue that you're being censored ? i'm not saying i am censored because i'm not muslim. for me, it's easy to speak, but those who are censored are muslim intellectuals. think of women, ladies, people coming from the maghreb. think of kamel daoud,
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the algerian intellectual who is now the object of a fatwa in his own country. bueller senecal. even young writers like sonia mabrouk, for instance — she says she's called islamaphobic. she displays the image of a free muslim woman who refuses to wear the islamic scarf, and peope threaten her. so i'm not censored, of course. sure, i dare say people threaten her, but people also threaten those who go onto a beach with the so—called burkini. well, you've called that a racist uniform, and some have actually concluded from your words about racist uniforms that you want to make muslims invisible in france today. no, no. i have two answers to your question. first i didn't say it was a racist uniform, i said it was a provocative uniform.
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i'm not against the burkini. as you know, the conseil d'etat, they said it was not a problem. but the only question i'm asking to myself — in two months, the beaches will be open with the beginning of summer. will women in burkini, will they admit besides them women in bikinis, women topless, even naked? as you know, in france we admit nudist portions of beaches. will they tolerate these kinds of swimming suits next to them? so if the women in burkinis are very tolerant to the women that are naked, we are living in the best of all worlds. and another question. so women have to wear the burkini. why don't men wear burkinis themselves? why is it a one—way road? why do men not have to wear burkinis and islamic scarf? what's the reason for that? let me tell you something. the last time i got into a deep discussion about burkinis
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and beachwear in france, it was with marine le pen, and it strikes me that, although you come from a different political tradition to marine le pen, right now, with your focus on the muslim problem, your focus on what you say is this illusion of islamaphobia, your focus on what people wear — you are on the same platform in france today as marine le pen. you know, in the 30s, when people said that the soviet union was not a paradise, there were concentration camps, and the gulags, people said, "don't say that, because you are speaking the language of the imperialists." and so your argument does not go with me. does it make you in any uneasy? not at all. that on this issue you and marine le pen sound remarkably similar.
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yeah, me and marine le pen, and also a list of progressive french muslim intellectuals — andino bidah and fet islamah and many others — who refuse to be directed by islamic fundamentalists. it's not because marine le pen says, it's light at midday that i'm going to say it's raining. so this kind of rapprochement is normal. it's a game. but it doesn't dissuade me to think like i think, because i've been saying that for 30 years. 0k. let's then raise our eyes to a wider horizon than this one about muslims and islam and that aspect of french culture and identity. let's think of france in the biggest perspective. there was a bestselling book by another philosopher not so very long ago called decadence — the life and death of the judaeo—christian tradition. and it started a whole school
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of writing, particularly about france, called ‘declinisme‘, that idea that france is on a sort of unstoppable downward trajectory. do you feel that? well, you know, it might be a self—fulfilling prophecy. if you say you are in decline, you will inevitably decline. but no, i think we haveof course many symptoms of decline, and french people are fearing everything — europe, immigration, radical islam... and you're part of that fear creation, are you not? no, i'm not, because i say we have to face that problem. and we have ways to absorb five or 6 million or more muslims, and turn them into ordinary french civilians. let's be proud of our own traditions. that's what i say in my book. and my book is a homage to islam. i'm not against islam, i'm against fanaticism, which we've seen with catholics and protestants. how does france get its mojo back? i think we need a leader, a real leader. you voted for sarkozy in 07, you voted for hollande in 12, and you renounced both of them. so it suggests to me you've got
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a fundamental leadership problem. i know — most of the votes in france are negative votes, but, after all, england voted also for brexit. only the future will tell us if it was a mistake or a benefit. but i think france needs to restore the authority of the state, because there is no authority. there is no pilot of the plane. when you walk in the cities of france, you don't feel the authority of the state. we need some new... someone young, new, and capable of giving a project to this country which is doubting deeply of itself. well, young and new. that, iguess, points you in the direction of emmanuel macron. well, he is the only one available today, and he's not so bad. we have to do with the offer. and of course he blends a kind of republican tradition and the anglo—saxon tradition also — free enterprise, free market, and i think france has too many
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nostalgias over communism or state directed economy. ijust wonder whether in part it's a loss of self—confidence in france being a major global player? partly in ideas. i talked at the beginning about the grand tradition of the french public intellectual. maybe you're part of this lack of self—confidence today in france. i'd be sorry if i were, because most of my books are quite — i try to re—give confidence to my fellow citizens. i suppose the question is, do you feel the rest of the world still listens to france? yes... in fact, yes and no. i think france has lost a privileged position after 1989, when it was a kind of third party between the united states and the ussr, and then france hoped that europe would follow the french model.
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in fact it didn't work because the french model now is outworn, it's finished. we have to change it. even if you have very good intentions. so we need renewal, and i hope the young generation will do something to awake this old country, which is plagued by all kinds of evils — lack of self—confidence and self—hatred, which is, in my opinion, the worst feeling. awakening the gallic giant. that's what we must look to. but for now, we have to end this interview. it's finished? yeah, it's finished! too bad. pascal bruckner, thank you for sharing your thoughts. thank you. hello there.
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the weather may provide something of a shock to the system early this tuesday morning because temperatures have been dropping away. a cold and frosty start to the day, but after that chilly start, there are plenty of sunny spells on the way. high pressure firmly in charge of our weather at the moment, giving us largely dry conditions, and behind this weather front, the cloud has been clearing. and underneath those clear skies, temperatures have been dropping. many areas, particularly out in the countryside, starting the day below freezing. but, as i mentioned, after that chilly start, we will see plenty of spells of sunshine. a little bit breezy down towards the south—east, so that will make it feel particularly chilly, and as we go on through the day, cloud will gradually increase from the west, so the sunshine will turn increasingly hazy. in fact, by the end of the afternoon, i think the skies will be largely grey across northern ireland and the western side of scotland, maybe even the odd splash of rain into the western isles.
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but for shetland, for 0rkney, for eastern and southern scotland, we should hold onto some hazy sunshine, just seven degrees in aberdeen, eight or nine in edinburgh and glasgow. and with some high cloud spreading across northern england down into wales, again the sunshine here will turn a little bit hazy through the afternoon. 11 degrees there in aberystwyth. fairly light winds across wales. light winds too across the south—west. maybe 13 with a bit of shelter there in plymouth. some patchy cloud across the midlands. east anglia and the south—east should keep plenty of sunshine but pretty cool, particularly around the coast of east anglia. now, as we go on through the night into wednesday morning, england and wales where we keep clear skies will turn very cold again, a widespread frost. not as cold for northern ireland and scotland because here we'll have more cloud and some outbreaks of patchy rain courtesy of this very weak weather front just sinking its way into the picture. but behind that front we start to bring in more of a westerly wind,
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so won't be as chilly across scotland and northern ireland on wednesday. some extra cloud also sinking into northern england, but through the midlands, south wales, down into southern england, here the best of the sunshine, 1a degrees the top temperature there in london. temperatures in the south particularly could rise further on thursday and friday. there'll be some further spells of sunshine. generally a fair amount of cloud around by this stage. so, to sum up this week, we'll see very little rain, it will be mostly dry. the days will be turning warmer, although some of the nights will continue to be frosty. but then by the end of the week and into the weekend, well, it looks like cold air will return from the north, so those temperatures will drop. quite a chilly feel, i suspect, by the coming weekend. hello, you're watching bbc news. i'm celia hatton. our top story this hour: north korea warns the us, "we're prepared for all—out war." a senior official tells the bbc his country could launch a nuclear strike if america takes military action. welcome to the programme.
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our other main stories this hour — facebook orders a review after video of a man being shot dead was posted online. police are still hunting the killer. 0nly days before the french presidential election, marine le pen says if she wins she'll suspend all immigration to the country. i'm sally bundock. in business, a "free and fair" trade relationship.
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