French President Emmanuel Macron Photograph:( Reuters )
The letter pinned the blame on “fanatic partisans” for creating divisions between communities while alleging that Islamists have taken over whole parts of the country
The French government has hit out at an open letter signed by active soldiers who warned of a “civil war” in the country due to religious extremism. The letter was signed by 1,000 active soldiers including both men and women. In addition, 20 retired generals also signed the letter.
The letter pinned the blame on “fanatic partisans” for creating divisions between communities while alleging that Islamists have taken over whole parts of the country. The letter said, “The hour is grave, France is in peril” and was published in a right-wing magazine on the 60th anniversary of a failed coup on April 21.
Marine Le Pen, a right-wing leader from France who is also a prominent candidate in next year’s presidential election openly voiced her support to the letter.
Florence Parly, the minister in charge of the French armed forces hit out at the letter, claiming that the military ought to be neutral and loyal.
"Two immutable principles guide the action of members of the military with regard to politics: neutrality and loyalty”, Parly tweeted.
She also said that any signatories that still serve in the military would face punishment for defying the law which mandates soldiers to remain politically neutral.
"For who have violated the duty of reserve, sanctions are planned, and if there are active soldiers among the signatories, I asked the chief of staff of the armed forces to apply the rules... that is to say, sanctions,” she told radio network France Info on Monday.
The letter warned French President Macron and his government of “several deadly dangers” that currently threaten France. These include “Islamism and the hordes of banlieue”, which are suburban towns mostly comprising immigrations that have popped up around French cities.
"It is no longer the time to procrastinate, otherwise tomorrow civil war will put an end to this growing chaos and deaths - for which you will be responsible - with numbers in the thousands," the letter added.
(With inputs from agencies)