There exists “an Islamist fifth column”, denounced the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, this Thursday, November 9, at the microphone of Cnews during an interview hosted by Sonia Mabrouk. However, the councilor had already used these terms in 2015, which caused him to be “vilified, far-right, nazified”, commented the journalist on the continuous news channel.

Christian Estrosi, members of Horizons, persists and signs by affirming to be even more worried, almost eight years later, by the situation in France. “It [the fifth column] has grown even more.” “It advances with its ramifications, like a tentacled octopus, it settles everywhere, ready to blow up here, kill there,” continued the councilor, citing several attacks which have devastated France in recent years, such as such as the Bataclan in 2015, the Nice attack in 2016 or even the assassination of Father Hamel in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray the same year.

“We have enemies who advance hidden, creeping and who at any moment can start a war in our country,” the Nice elected official finally decided.

But what exactly does this expression mean? The “fifth column” refers to the figure of the traitor lying in wait within a country or an army and comes straight from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The “Quinta columna” was in fact mentioned by General Emilio Mola during a radio speech while the nationalist troops of Generals Franco and Mola, divided into four columns, were converging towards Madrid. The general had thus alluded to a fifth column standing ready inside the capital among the supporters of the Republican camp. This propaganda trick was intended to sow panic in the Republican ranks. Popularized in the 20th century, this expression today denounces all enemies from within.

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“And today no one comes to denounce this fifth column because it is there,” protested Christian Estrosi on the set of the channel continuously. For the mayor of Nice, the war launched by Hamas against Israel on October 7 is “a war declared on the free world.” The former elected LR thus affirms that it is difficult not to understand “that Hamas, that Daesh, that the Islamic State, that al-Qaeda, that the Muslim Brotherhood, it is all the same”. “What concerns Israel also concerns us,” he said, referring to a “war of civilization.”

Thus, “we must wage this war together to eradicate all these terrorist movements.” The elected official, however, insisted on the important distinction between Islam and Islamism. “It has nothing to do with it,” he blurted. Islamism is “the instrumentalization of a religion for political purposes and for the purposes of exterminating everything that is not what they embody.” However, a “huge majority of our fellow citizens of the Muslim faith” do not “recognize themselves in that”, he insisted.