The French riots: A 2002 perspective

Three and a half years ago, Christopher Caldwell wrote an essay in the Weekly Standard about the dangers inherent in the suburbs of Paris, which are not quite suburbs. The essay was about French anti-Semitism, including the French “youths'” unremitting attacks on Jews. It is a case, as many people have pointed out, of the canary in the coal mine. The French insisted there was no problem, and so, of course, nothing much was done.

Today, the French are paying for it with their seventh straight day of riots by “suburban” Muslims. Three and a half years ago, it was the Jews paying the price of French indifference. But the writing was on the wall for all to see:

The Jewish attacks–it should be plain by now–are the work of the Muslim minority in France. Let no one doubt the delinquency, though. These neighborhoods are becoming single-race areas, inhabited by North African immigrants and their second- and third-generation descendants. They are zones of drug-dealing, political apathy, unemployment (which stands over 35 percent in such places), and violence. Hence law-enforcement agents, mayors, and politicians refer to the most violent among them as zones de non-droit (“lawless areas”), where even the police won’t go, except maybe in daylight hours to remove a body. Public powers are resisted with force, and not just the police, who have been targeted for killing by organized “anti-cop brigades.” Even firemen, long a beloved class of public servants in France, have been assaulted in housing projects surrounding Paris.

[…] In fact, it would be accurate to describe “suburban” as the French equivalent of the American adjective “inner-city,” except for one difference. France’s HLMs and other “sensitive neighborhoods” have become missionary fields for professional re-islamisateurs–proselytizers, usually financed by Saudi Arabia (which occasionally uses Algerian foundations as a pass-through for its funding) or Iran, and sometimes by fundamentalist groups in London. These seek to woo young people of Islamic background to a radical political understanding of Islam.

It is such proselytizing that has led to what French people call la benladenisation des banlieues, the most famous alumnus of which is Zacarias Moussaoui. But he’s not alone. The “Arab” suicide bomber who–to protest Arab countries’ “preventing their people from launching jihad against the Jews”–blew up a truck full of explosives in front of a synagogue in Tunisia on April 11, killing a dozen German tourists and six others, was a Franco-Tunisian named Nizar Nawar. His family lives in Lyons, where his uncle, too, was arrested in connection with the attack. One of the four terrorists on trial for trying to blow up Strasbourg’s synagogue last year has long lived in France. September 11 saw West Bank-style rejoicing incidents in some Arab neighborhoods. There was also a spectacular terrorist incident a week before. On September 2 in the town of Beziers, a hoodlum named Safir Bghouia attacked a group of police with a shoulder-held rocket launcher, phoned in death threats to local officials, machine-gunned the local police constabulary, and executed the town’s deputy mayor, before he himself was shot dead the next day, dressed in white and howling that he was a “son of Allah.”

About the time this article was written, Jacques Chirac was indignantly telling Ariel Sharon that there was no anti-Semitism in France. Some time later, in the face of overwhelming evidence, he changed his tune and called for committees to study the problem – or something. Judging from the fact that more French Jews have emigrated to Israel in the last year or two than have done so in many years, I’d have to say the French have yet to conquer the forces of anti-Semitism (read: Jew-hating Muslims) in their midst.

Judging by the seventh straight day of rioting in the “suburbs” of Paris, I’d have to say that they are discovering the price of their refusal to acknowledger several realities.

There are riots in Paris. There were riots in Denmark, fear and threats in the Netherlands, riots in England, and terror threats in Australia.

What is the common thread here?

Here’s a hint: It’s not the Jews.

I cannot believe that people still doubt that there is a war. It hasn’t got the kinds of fronts that WWII had. It isn’t as clear-cut as the Cold War became. But it is a war, nonetheless.

And as before, the war started against the Jews – and was ignored.

I think Europe needs to wake up to the danger in its midst, and do something about it.

Update: It’s worse than I thought.

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14 Responses to The French riots: A 2002 perspective

  1. The anniversary of Arafat’s death is coming up.

    The French are just letting their Muslim citizens build an eternal flame in his honor.

  2. neo-neocon says:

    Indeed, a number of prescient articles were written about this situation back then. One of them, written by Theodore Dalrymple in 2002, I featured in a post I wrote yesterday on the subject, here.
    It seems fairly clear that this has been brewing for some time, and that there are many internal wars being fought in France in connection with this besides the riots themselves. One of them is the war between the leftists and the “cowboys” such as Sarkozy, another is the war within France for a national identity.

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  14. dsokol says:

    My dearest Meryl;
    The greatest problem the Jews and Israelis have by far is the unbelievable divisiveness we suffer from and the self-loathing and leftist orientation of so many of our co-religionists. Far too many invite agra by their virtually begging for punishment. It is a communal psychiatric problem. As long as\you have the perseverance to write, I’ll read. Best, Devoted fan

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