The demonstration gathered nearly four million people, but seeing in it a mobilization against terrorism, jihad and anti-Semitism would be a mistake.
The Ambassador of Saudi Arabia attended, shortly after his nation had just finished flogging the young blogger Raif Badawi with the first 50 lashes of his 1000 lash sentence. Badawi is being flayed alive -- "very severely," the lashing order said. He has 950 lashes to go.
Mahmoud Abbas, the President of Palestinian unity government, which includes Hamas and supports jihadist terrorism as well as genocide, was at the forefront -- smiling. Israel's Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, was originally not invited. He came anyhow. He was told not to speak. He spoke anyhow. As a sign of disapproval, French officials left before his speech.
Although six Jews were among the seventeen victims, the anti-Semitic dimension of the attacks was barely spoken about.
The words "Islam" and "jihadist" were not mentioned. President François Hollande said, against all evidence, "Those who committed these acts have nothing to do with Islam."
Few Muslims came. They stated their only concern: "Avoid stigmatization of the Muslim community!"The French demonstration of "unity" on Sunday, January 11, may have attracted nearly four million marchers and shown a facade of unity, but behind this facade, rising tensions are approaching the breaking point.
Anyone who watches television and sees what is happening in many Muslim countries has to be doubting that Islam is peaceful.
Several polls show that more than 70% of the French think Islam is incompatible with democracy and Western civilization. Those polls predate the attacks.