chapter  2
18 Pages

The Ideological and 'Psychological' Dimensions of French Opposition to the FIS

ByCamille Bonora-Waisman

The French government's opposition to the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), while certainly nourished by pre-determined presumptions of Islamism as a necessarily intolerant force, was partly derived from its feeling of repulsion towards a political force that asserted itself against France. The ideological element in the French opposition to the FIS would not have taken root if the 'psychological' dimension of the Franco-Algerian relationship was not so peculiar in itself. The French political establishment has been criticised by some in France for holding an economistic view of the Algerian crisis and more specifically of the rise of Islamism. Entering the realm of French perceptions of Algerian society is essential to understand the 'psychological' aspect of French opposition to the FIS. By entering the field of the 'ideological war', with its simplifying logic, the French political establishment was led mistakenly to consider Islamism as a threatening monolith.