Fancy that! In France?

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When the car burnings started in Paris, pundits were quick to blame Islam…a report now rubbishes this assertion.What three pundits said:


1. Mark Steyne:

Islamofascism itself is what it says: a fusion of Islamic identity with old-school European totalitarianism. But, whether in turbans or gangsta threads, just as Communism was in its day, so Islam is today’s ideology of choice for the world’s disaffected. Some of us believe this is an early skirmish in the Eurabian civil war” (Daily Telegraph, 8/11/2005)

2. Melanie Phillips:

Now we are told that the riots in France by Muslim and Arab youths from the banlieues -the city suburbs – have nothing to do with Islam but are the result of poverty, unemployment, racism and discrimination. Those who say, au contraire, that Islam is at the core of the disorder are being vilified as far-right racists and crazed reactionary demagogues. Such a view surely displays a pathological refusal to connect to reality, which is given a vicious edge by the crude attempt to shut down debate through smears and demonisation. Denying the Islamic element of these riots is to deny the obvious. The vast majority of the rioters are Muslim. They have sent France up in flames to screams of ‘Allahu akbar‘, chatter about jihad, declarations that they intend to turn France into ‘Beirut’ and pledges of support for Osama bin Laden. There have even been calls for a ‘millet’ system, through which the Ottoman empire provided separate development for different cultures” (JC, 18/11/2005).

3. Rod Liddle:

As you might expect, French television news has led its morning and evening broadcasts on the latest from the multifarious battlefronts every day since the rioting began in the dismal, characterless Parisian suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois. Every day we have seen angry dark faces throwing things and shouting stuff, buses alight, scattered and smoking debris, frightened white people and retreating policemen. And there have been whole legions of pundits wheeled out to offer an explanation. It’s deprivation, a lack of integration, poverty, unemployment, incipient French racism and so on. But the dreaded ‘M’ word has scarcely been mentioned at all; these were ‘young’ rioters or sometimes ‘immigrant’ rioters – they were never Muslim rioters. Islam was almost never mentioned, but instead hovered unseen behind the words of every newsreader, tick-ticking like a little weapon of mass destruction, ready to detonate and thus demolish the self-delusions of the French journalists, politicians and public. You may have caught a whiff of this delusion on the BBC news back in Britain: on Monday the 10 OClock News devoted nearly nine minutes to the riots, but the one thing the rioters had in common -their religion – was not mentioned once. Instead, we got more stuff about deprivation, poverty, unemployment, etc. Is this official censorship, self-censorship or merely ignorance allied to wishful thinking?”(The Spectator, 12/11/2005)


In a report leaked to the French press, the agency Renseingnements Generaux, the intelligence service for the police, said the violence, which hit 274 French towns and housing estates, was neither organised nor manipulated, but amounted to “urban insurrection…The agency said it had found no evidence that radical Islamists inspired the unrest. The rioters’ main motivation was ‘their social condition, excluded from French society’.”Jon Henley, writing in the The Guardian, 8/12/2005

Police investigators are quick to point out that there is no link between the recent riots and radical Islam. Asked by the newspaper Le Monde recently about such a link, Pascal Mailhos, director general of the Renseignements Generaux, the police intelligence agency, replied, “The participation of radical Islamists in the violence was nil.” Elaine Sciolino, writing in the The New York Times, 11/12/2005

As Francois Heisbourg, head of the French Foundation for Strategic Studies, points out, the riots were not committed by youths who were particularly religious, nor did they target churches or synagogues. Katrin Bennhold writing in the International Herald Tribune, 19/12/2005

Blogger’s note

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit, Shall lure it back to cancel half a line, Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.” from the Rubaiyat