Political Editors / April 21, 2017

Terrorist Attack in Paris May Swing Election

It shows the clear divide for the French as they head to the polls to vote for a new president on Sunday.

Three days before the French vote for their next president in what has been a tightly contested campaign, an Islamic terrorist shot three police officers on the famed Champs-Élysées, killing two before he himself was killed. The Islamic State quickly claimed credit for the attack. This now marks the seventh terrorist attack in Paris in the past two years and the 22nd within the whole of France over that same time span. France has experienced the largest number of terrorist attacks of any nation in Europe since 2014. Not coincidentally, it also has a burgeoning Muslim population.

The two candidates leading in the polls are Emmanuel Macron, a leftist independent, and Marine Le Pen of the “right-wing” populist National Front party. Prior to the terrorist attack, Macron had a slight lead over Le Pen, who has run on a staunchly anti-Islamic immigration platform. In an eerily prophetic statement made at a campaign rally the day before the attack, Le Pen said, “Mass immigration is not an opportunity for France. It’s a tragedy for France.”

As the French people continue to grapple with the problems created by the inevitable culture clash associated with mass immigration of those from an Islamic background, Australia is taking a proactive approach. Australia has produced a new series of questions for its immigration test that aim to determine whether an individual accepts basic “Australian values.” The test includes questions regarding such subjects as wife-beating, child marriage, equal rights for women and female genital mutilation. While government officials deny the questions are targeted at Muslims, it is clearly an attempt to define specifically those base values which all Australians are expected to hold in common. Not that a questionnaire is enough — respondents can lie — but it’s a start.

The West is finding out that cultural values don’t exist in a vacuum. If fundamental values are not defined, sustained and defended, then they will be pushed aside by a competing set of values. Unfortunately, when the West abandoned its Judeo-Christian heritage and embraced secular humanism, it lost the foundation for those most basic human rights of human dignity, individual freedom and equality.

Come Sunday it will be interesting to see who the French choose to lead them.

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