A podcast by Abu Yusuf
Charles-André Julien, a French historian wrote a very interesting article in 1940 for Foreign Affairs magazine. He wrote how the French failed to control their Muslim colonial possessions, unlike other non-Muslim possessions due to Islam.
The issue for the French is Islam and nothing else because Muslims simply refuse to submit to their will. The Europeans see the battle with Muslims as the ongoing battle from the past. Although, they differ among themselves in terms of styles and means, when it comes to the ‘Islam and Muslim problem’, they are united on their goal.
وَمَا نَقَمُوا مِنْهُمْ إِلاَّ أَن يُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَمِيدِ
“The only reason they punished them was because they had iman in Allah, the Almighty, the All-Praiseworthy” (Al-Buruj: 8)
This is an important fact that Muslims need to be aware of, and not be fooled in to thinking that European states and elites are tolerant of Islam and Muslims or that they just have an issue with ‘extremists’.
Charles-André Julien, said, “The capture of Algiers in 1830 marked a significant departure in the expansionist policy of France, for North Africa was quite unlike older French colonial possessions in the Caribbean Sea and the Indian Ocean. The French soon discovered that North Africa — or the Maghreb, as the Arabs called it — did not produce tropical goods and that the native population could neither be destroyed to make way for European colonists nor enslaved to work for them. They also found that Islam provided the natives with a religious and a cultural ideal which they would stubbornly defend. France had not been fitted by experience to understand and govern an Islamic and essentially Oriental people. In the years that followed the fall of Algiers she therefore had to fumble her way. Gradually she acquired in Algeria the reservoir of experience which she was to utilize after 1881 in Tunisia and after 1912 in Morocco. But even today France possesses neither a colonial administration nor a body of doctrine sufficiently well developed to enable her to coördinate her Moslem policy effectively.” (Foreign Affairs Magazine, July 1940)