Michel Houellebecq’s Submission: Author says novel imagining Muslim-run France is not Islamophobic scare story

Michel Houellebecq

The leader of France’s Muslim party has beaten the far-right Front National in the Presidential election, women abandon Western dress and leave work, non-Muslim teachers are forced out of their jobs and polygamy is reinstated – this is France in 2022 according to a new book.

Michel Houellebecq’s sixth novel, Submission (Soumission), has caused a national scandal before its release.

With the creation of the fictional Muslim Fraternity party and subsequent erosion of personal and religious freedom, critics have accused him of inciting Islamophobia with a far-right scare story.

Laurent Joffrin, editor of French national newspaper Libération, argues that Submission “will mark the date in history when the ideas of the far-right made a grand return to serious French literature”.

Its release on Wednesday comes less than three months before the French Presidential election, which has already been dominated by debates over immigration.

But Mr Houellebecq has denied that the novel was a “provocation”, calling it a “realistic” vision for a possible future…