Last month, the French left candidate to the presidential elections, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, said in an interview on the radio channel “France inter”:
You will see that in the last week of the presidential campaign, we will have a serious incident or murder. It was Merah in 2012. It was the attack, the last week on the Champs-Elysees. Before that, we had Papy Voise, who no one ever heard from again. All this is written in advance. We will have the little character out of the hat. We will have the most serious event that will, once again, allow to point the finger at Muslims and to invent a civil war. That’s it, it’s a boatload.
So according to this highly visible French politician, highly convenient terrorist attacks happen right before elections to put attention on Muslims and serve certain electoral candidates.
Conspiracy? Electoral strategy?
Yet Mélenchon is far from being a great defender of Islam. Although he flirts with the Muslim and working-class electorate to gain popularity, he has made anti-Islam remarks on several occasions:
- Defending the ban on the Burkini by saying that it is a Salafist offensive.
- Defending the ban on the veil for babysitters.
- Defending the ex-minister Laurence Rossignol when she declares that veiled women are like “niggers for slavery.”
That said, even though it is perhaps a bit simple to lend J.L. Mélenchon conspiracy intentions, it is true that there is a real correlation between terrorism and elections in France. In fact it is weird enough to motivate the French nationalist journal “Le Figaro” to write an article on it in 2017.
When we look at recent French elections, we also see a pattern:
- May 24, 2019, attack of the street Victor-Hugo of Lyon, fourteen wounded. The author acknowledges having pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. The attack takes place 2 days before the European elections.
- On September 15, 2017, a man holding a knife attacks a military officer on guard at the Châtelet metro station in Paris. The perpetrator made remarks referring to Allah: “Allah akbar, you are disbelievers.” The attack takes place 9 days before the senatorial elections.
- On June 6, 2017, a man attacks a police officer with a hammer and slightly injures him in front of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The police officers retaliate and wound him. The assailant, Farid Ikken, a forty-year-old Algerian, former journalist with a student visa, declares himself a “soldier of the caliphate.” The attack takes place 5 days before the legislative elections.
- On April 20, 2017, a man opens fire with an automatic weapon on police officers along the Champs-Elysees Avenue, around 9:00 p.m., One of them is killed during the attack, two others are injured. The assailant is killed and the Islamic State claims responsibility for the attack in the evening. The attack takes place 3 days before the presidential elections.
- In March 2012, attacks in Toulouse and Montauban killing seven people, including three children, and injuring six.
- March 11: Mohammed Merah murdered a soldier in Toulouse.
- March 15: Mohammed Merah murdered two soldiers and wounded another in Montauban.
- March 19: Mohammed Merah murdered four people outside a Jewish school in Toulouse. The attacks take place one month before the presidential elections.
- On the night of March 26-27, 2002, at 1:15 a.m., in the Nanterre city hall, at the end of a city council meeting chaired by Jacqueline Fraysse, a man in the audience, Richard Durn, stood up and used firearms. He shot at the elected officials, firing 37 times, killing eight elected officials and wounding nineteen others (fourteen of them seriously). The attack took place one month before the 2002 presidential elections.
It may be hasty to claim there is a conspiracy on the behalf of French authorities to facilitate such attacks. But it seems to be too much to be simple coincidences. Some politicians try to explain this phenomenon by claiming that terrorists conveniently choose times of election for their hideous acts.
Is this a convincing explanation?