France launches probe into 'Islamo-leftist' social science research 'imported' by US
The French education minister has announced an investigation into researchers "looking at everything through the prism of wanting to fracture and divide."
Her announcement came after similar concerns from other French officials.
After top French officials warned about encroaching American leftism within French universities, the French higher education minister announced an investigation into the pervasiveness of such issues.
Minister for Higher Education Frederique Vidal explained to CNews that “Islamo-leftism is eating away at our society as a whole, and universities are not immune and are part of our society,” according to Al-Jazeera’s translation of the remarks.
Vidal announced her intention to investigate the issue of researchers “looking at everything through the prism of wanting to fracture and divide.” She told the French Parliament that the investigation would determine “what is academic research and what is activism and opinion.”
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Many French academics, however, interpreted this move as restrictive of academic free speech, and France’s Conference of University Presidents released a statement decrying Vidal’s approach.
The statement said that “Islamo-leftism” is a “pseudo-notion whose beginning of scientific definition would be sought in vain, and which should be left, if not to the hosts of Cnews, more broadly, to the extreme right that popularized it.”
The group called for “urgent clarification” on the “ideological basis of such an investigation.”
“This undignified minister must go,” economist Thomas Piketty added on Twitter. He asserted that Macron’s administration was effectively surpassing far-right politician Marine le Pen on the right.
Campus Reform reported on similar remarks from French President Emmanuel Macron, who discussed the threat posed to national unity by “certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States.”
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In explaining the notion of “Islamo-leftism,” McGill University anthropologist Philip Carl Salzman directed Campus Reform toward an opinion editorial that details what he describes as “the peculiar progressive-Islamist alliance.”
“Progressive leftists, who wish to bring socialism to America, and Islamists, who wish to bring Sharia law to America, are strange bedfellows indeed,” wrote Salzman. He also notes that “the unholy marriage of the progressive left and far right Islamists is seen nowhere clearer than on university campuses.”
Salzman told Campus Reform that American and Canadian “social justice” ideology “designates Muslims as an oppressed ‘marginalized minority’ that is justified in overthrowing its Christian and Jewish oppressors.” This notion is “supported by the cultural marxist identity class conflict theory, and by leftists.”
“What this means for France is more isolated, militant Muslim enclaves supported politically by the left,” he explained.
French education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer recently asserted that “there’s a battle to wage against an intellectual matrix from American universities.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft