"I think there is a real need for God and that the return of religion is not a slogan but a reality, and that it is very much on the rise."

Where did you get the idea for a presidential election, in 2022, that came down to Marine Le Pen and the leader of a Muslim party?

"Well, Marine Le Pen strikes me as a realistic candidate for 2022—even for 2017 … The Muslim party is more … That’s the heart of the matter, really. I tried to put myself in the place of a Muslim, and I realized that, in reality, they are in a totally schizophrenic situation. Because overall Muslims aren’t interested in economic issues, their big issues are what we nowadays call societal issues. On these issues, obviously, they are very far from the left and even further from the Green Party. Just think of gay marriage and you’ll see what I mean, but the same is true across the board. And one doesn’t really see why they’d vote for the right, much less for the extreme right, which utterly rejects them. So if a Muslim wants to vote, what’s he supposed to do? The truth is, he’s in an impossible situation. He has no representation whatsoever. It would be wrong to say that this religion has no political consequences—it does. So does Catholicism, for that matter, even if the Catholics have been more or less marginalized. For those reasons, it seems to me, a Muslim party makes a lot of sense. "

"Europe is committing suicide and, in the middle of Europe, France is struggling desperately to survive. It is almost the only country that is fighting to survive, the only country whose demographics allow it to survive. Suicide is a matter of demographics, it’s the best and most effective way to commit suicide. That’s why France is not committing suicide at all. What’s more, for people to convert is a sign of hope, not a threat. It means they aspire to a new kind of society. That said, I don’t think people convert for social reasons, their reasons for converting are deeper—even if my book contradicts me slightly, Huysmans being the classic case of a man who converts for reasons that are purely aesthetic. Really, the questions that worry Pascal leave Huysmans cold. He never mentions them. I almost have trouble imagining such an aesthete. For him, beauty was the proof. The beauty of rhyme, of paintings, of music proved the existence of God."

Lees het volledige interview op The Paris Review, n.a.v. Houellebecqs nieuwe roman 'Soumission'.