Analysis, Europe, Featured

Police Brutality Exposes the Failure of Secularism

Three French police officers have been suspended after they were filmed beating and allegedly racially abusing a music producer in his Paris studio.

An official inquiry has been opened – the third such investigation in a week. The police came under fierce criticism for their use of teargas and truncheons to dismantle a migrant camp in central Paris.

The film shows police punching and kicking him, and hitting him over the head and body with a truncheon. As well as the physical blows, Michel, who said he was taken so much by surprise he was not even sure they were real police officers, said he was subjected to racist insults.

“I heard “dirty n****r. I heard it several times. They were hitting me with their truncheons. Over and over again,” he said.

The police then smashed a window and threw a teargas canister inside the property. After calling for reinforcements, they demanded Michel and the others came out, at gunpoint.

Once outside, police officers continued to beat Michel and the others.

“Suddenly someone shouted, ‘camera, camera’. It was someone filming from a window. As soon as the police heard this they stopped hitting us,” said one of the victims.

Michel, who suffered multiple injuries to his face and body, including a head wound requiring stitches, was signed off work for six days and said he was still shocked by the attack. “If it hadn’t been for the camera I would be in prison today.”

In September, a French reporter who infiltrated the Paris police described a culture of racism and violence in which he claimed officers act with impunity. In his book, Flic (Cop), Valentin Gendrot said he had witnessed officers assaulting youngsters – many of them minors – on an almost daily basis.

In January a delivery driver, Cédric Chouviat, was filmed shouting “I’m suffocating” several times as police held him on the ground. Chouviat later died. In July, three police officers were put under official investigation for manslaughter. (Source: The Guardian Newspaper)


Across the Western Capitalist world, police brutality and racial profiling have been common occurrences for decades, and are an inseparable aspect of life in the secular regime. For ethnic minorities, and particularly black people who suffer disproportionately such abuse, there is little difference between a police state and the “free” democracy in which they live.

With the rise of the far right, populist leaders have responded with confused leadership messaging; giving lip service to freedoms and the rule of law, to appease the liberal majority; while also sending contradictory signals to the racist right wing, whom they also want to be popular with. Ideology has been forsaken for short term populism, so it is no surprise that the society’s moral compass does not know which way to point.

Many of the leading Western states have openly racist leaders, including Britain, America, and France. At the same time mainstream and social media technology is normalising the xenophobic, anti-immigrant, and racist propaganda. Add to that the enforced social isolation that has been the West’s key response to the Coronavirus pandemic and you have an already bad situation made worse. Most people are rarely asked to defend their ideas and assumptions. The secular freedoms and human rights are built on such a flimsy intellectual foundation that they are hard to justify, and so easy to put aside. To say that the intellectual and moral fabric of secular societies is tearing at the seams is no understatement.

Muslims who adopt Islam as an ideology would not suffer such an existential crisis, for the Aqeedah and solutions for life’s problems are not in contradiction with each other, as is the case with secularism and its freedoms. The increased polarisation of Western societies only exposes the failure of the secular ideology to manage life’s affairs, hence it is time for Muslims to show the world the Islamic ideology as a true alternative.


Yahya Nisbet

Media Representative of Hizb ut Tahrir in Britain