Recently, a moving demonstration of millions of French, all uniting for the freedom of speech, lit up our television screens. Perhaps the most striking image was dozens of flags from around the world adorning the monument of the Place de la République, displaying only one message: the Marianne is every shade of French, and we are all Charlie.
World leaders united at the forefront of the march locking arms and leading their cause forward, including the coming together of the Israeli and Palestinian heads of state in a touching and mildly paradoxical stance against violence.
One French leader who wasn’t present at the march was Marine Le Pen, the head of the National Front, who was reportedly not invited. Peppered with a history of islamophobia and fascism, the last thing Paris needed was more division.
Nevertheless, it is near impossible to deny the scale of anti-Muslim acts that have taken place since the initial attack. Within 24 hours, police were dealing with a spike in racially or religiously motivated attacks against Muslims.
The National Front, were gaining Facebook likes by the second. In Le Pen’s statement posted on their YouTube channel, she calls for France to not bend to those trying to “paralyse them with fear and force them to submit to terrorism,” a turn of phrase I find ironic to say the least.
This support for discriminatory ideals validates antagonising the non-white French population.
An unspoken civil war has been created between the nativists and the equally French population of black or Muslim heritage.
In the violence of its supporters and desire to displace a French community defined only through their religious beliefs, the National Front and its evidently violent supporters have self-indentified as a terrorist party. The most terrifying thing about their terrorism, however, is that a quarter of the population of France are validating their viewpoint.
This is why the National Front were not invited to Sunday’s marches. The last thing an anti-terrorism march needs is a terrorist leader dressed in an expensive suit.