French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was right when he recently said that there is no good excuse for jihad. Rejecting the culture of excuses, said Valls, also meant resisting the temptation to dwell on explanations of the jihadi impulse.
And Valls was right again on April 4 when he warned against the danger of an ideological victory for Salafism, the doctrine underlying jihad, which views Europe (and, within Europe, France) as prime ground for proselytizing.
Successive French governments, over three decades, abdicated responsibility for engaging in this debate. But while passivity may have ensured social peace in the short term, it enabled values other than those of the republic to take root in wide swaths of French cities. And this was followed by willful blindness, as governments refused to recognize that militant Islamic fundamentalism was actually Islamo-fascism, the third global variant of totalitarianism that die-hard critics had been decrying for a quarter-century.