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Geopolitics

Was A French Military Chaplain In Afghanistan A Raging Islamophobe?

Upon returning from Afghanistan, French Army Chaplain Julien de Pommerol accused the military of bending to Islamic pressures and "babouche-licking." Some accuse him of Islamophobia, others applaud his candor.

French forces and Afghan National Army soldiers inaugurate a new bridge in Kapisa (isafmedia)
French forces and Afghan National Army soldiers inaugurate a new bridge in Kapisa (isafmedia)
Nathalie Guibert and Stéphanie Le Bars

Every year, the chief of the French army addresses the young officers graduating from the prestigious Saint-Cyr military academy. But this year, there was a break with tradition. General Elrick Irastroza did not just give the standard talk on rules of command: he reminded his audience of Article 1 of the Constitution, which establishes France's prized secularism, or "laïcité", and freedom of belief.

His comments on the Constitution were hardly a casual choice. He was making reference to the poisonous issue of Benoit Julien de Pommerol, a controversial military chaplain stationed last year in Afghanistan.

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