DEPORT MUSLIM RIOTERS OR TREAT THEM AS ENEMIES OF THE STATEDonald Trump: Ban all Muslim travel to U.S.
Belgium’s Parliament votes to ban the burqa
April 30, 2010
Belgium’s lower house of parliament has voted to ban the wearing of the burqa in public.
The Senate’s approval is expected to be a formality, which would make Belgium the first European country to criminalise the full Islamic veil.
The measure was overwhelmingly backed by 136 MPs with just two abstentions.
Now the bill to ban such clothing is likely to become law in June or July.
Religious studies expert, Caroline Sagesser, describes the measure as using a hammer to kill a fly: “The proposal originally came from the centre right Francophone party. But no other party, neither greens nor the left, dared to say we support the burqa.”
For the vice-president of the Executive of Belgian Muslims, Isabelle Praille, the bill is a clear form of violence against citizens because it removes the notion of choice: “Some Taliban say a woman without a burqa is a woman too many. When I hear our politicians here say the same it’s like two kinds of rival extremes against women and we have to condemn it.”
France, which has the largest Muslim population in Europe, is also looking towards a ban on wearing veils in public, with the government set to examine a draft bill in May.
New French revolution
Paris Police Face Non-abating Immigrants Outrage
Additional Reporting by Hadi Yahmid, IOL Correspondent
PARIS, October 31, 2005 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) – French police clashed with angry immigrant youths in a Paris suburb for the fourth straight night Sunday, October 30, as accusations that teargas was thrown into a mosque are expected to exacerbate the situation further.
Eleven people were arrested after the violence in which eight cars and 16 rubbish bins were torched in the district of Clichy-sous-Bois in the northeastern Paris suburb of Saint Denis, departmental security spokesman Jean-Luc Sidot was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Six police officers were slightly injured after being hit by projectiles. There were no reports of any civilian casualties.
The unrest was triggered when two immigrant teenagers, aged 15 and 17, died by electrocution on Thursday after they scaled the wall of an electrical relay station.
The local public prosecutor said the boys thought they were being chased by police, but authorities denied that was the case.
Hundreds of the suburb's residents held a peaceful march Saturday, October 29, in memory of the teenagers, with groups of youths wearing tee-shirts marked "Dead for Nothing".
A lawyer representing the families of the victims, Jean-Pierre Mignard, asked: "Why did these young people, who had done nothing wrong, feel sufficiently threatened to enter a dangerous site, climb over a 2.5-meter (six foot) barbed-wire covered wall and hide inside a turbine?"
More serious clashes in the area on Thursday and Friday had pitted hundreds of youths against police, with 23 officers injured and 13 people taken into custody, as the burnt-out wrecks of dozens of cars lay smoldering on the streets.
A canister producing irritating smoke was hurled inside the mosque by an unknown source, according to the police and the local mayor's office.
Muslims inside accused French police of throwing teargas into the place of worship.
Sidot, the departmental security spokesman, said that was "probably not" the case but added an inquiry would be launched.
The local member of parliament, Eric Raoult, told RTL radio that it was not clear that the canister contained teargas and that it may have been a grenade with a pepper-based product.
He added that officers were finding the situation difficult and that there were "outlaws who want to keep areas outside the control of police."
The clashes came a week after France's interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, vowed to wage a "war without mercy" on crime in the suburbs of Paris.
Critics say Sarkozy's tough lien does not help cut crime in run-down suburbs, high-immigration areas facing chronic poverty, unemployment and a lack of prospects.
Years of government negligence and marginalization have turned many of these suburbs, especially Saint Denis, into a hotbed for crime, says IslamOnline.net’s correspondent.
A Sorbonne research released earlier in the year by the French Observatory Against Racism found that Arab names and dark complexion color represent an obstacle to jobseekers.
The "Discrimination at Workplace" research said that the organization sent 325 CVs of competitive applicants, who only differ in names and origin, to find that the opportunity for North African applicants to get a job is five times less than natives.
French authorities claim that Clichy-sous-Bois is a fertile ground for "radical Muslims" and gangs.
But mosque in Saint Denis, home to the Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF), play a key role in easing tensions erupting every now and then between Muslim youths and police.
Better known among the French as “93,” Saint Denis has a Muslim population of 500,000 out of 1,200 million people, making it the largest Muslim residential area in the country.
Muslims make up some five million of France’s 60 million people, the biggest Muslim minority in Europe.
CBN.com – (CBN News) - France is on edge again after a week of violence in the streets of Paris. Gangs of angry youths have been rioting in poor suburbs of the French capital.
Now it has spread beyond Paris.
At times it looked and sounded like a war zone.
For eight straight nights, French police have clashed with rioters on the outskirts of Paris. At least 400 cars were burned and several buildings gutted Thursday night.
In northeast Paris, where most of the violence has occurred, Police were out in force trying to regain control of the streets.
And for the first time, there were reports of unrest in the south and west of France.
It all began a week ago when angry mobs accused the police of killing two teenagers from North Africa. The police have denied that claim.
But the anger quickly spread to several run-down areas around the capital. Here, immigrants of mainly Muslim background have settled into a life of poverty, unemployment, and crime.
Immigrants make up 10 percent of the French population. A large chunk of them feel discriminated against. The young particularly feel alienated from French society. And so, increasingly, they define themselves as Muslims.
France has the largest Muslim community in Western Europe and has become a fertile recruiting ground for Islamic radicals.
The violence has once again raised questions about France's ability to deal with the anger that has been brewing in these poor neighborhoods for decades.
Meanwhile, this is the man the rioters hate the most -- France's Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. He believes the attacks were coordinated and not spontaneous. And he has called the gangs "scum" and has vowed to "clean out" troubled suburbs.
About 150 people have been arrested so far, and there is talk about deploying the Army and enforcing a curfew.
But with the weekend coming up, officials fear that the crisis could escalate.
Erupts In Paris Suburb After Deaths Of Muslim Boys
Teenagers Were Electrocuted While Trying to Avoid Police
By Molly Moore
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, November 2, 2005; A15
CLICHY-SOUS-BOIS, France, Nov. 1 -- Adel Benna tried to put himself in the shoes of his shy 17-year-old brother, Ziad, and two teenage friends who scaled a wall and leapt into the cables of a power substation last Thursday evening -- willing to face electrocution rather than the French police officers they were trying to evade in this impoverished Paris suburb.
"Young people don't just throw themselves into an electrical current," Benna said Tuesday, his voice trembling in anger. "They looked behind them and saw something that made them so terrified, so desperate, they did it out of absolute fear. I hate the police. They are responsible for my brother's death."
Ziad Benna and his friend Bouna Traore, 15, sons of working-class African Muslim immigrants, were both electrocuted, setting off five days of rioting, firebombing and car burning that continued here Tuesday. The third youth survived.
Groups of young men have attacked postal service vans and a police station, and set fire to trash bins during rampages that spread into neighboring suburban towns Tuesday. The French news media reported that about three dozen law enforcement officials and rioters have been injured in the violence.
On Tuesday morning, parking lots and street curbs were littered with hulks of dozens of burned vehicles.
The street fighting less than an hour's subway ride from the heart of Paris has underscored France's failed efforts to stem the growing unrest within a largely Muslim immigrant population that feels disenfranchised and is beset by high unemployment and crime. An estimated 6 million Muslims live in France, many of them in dismal high-rise enclaves like this one.
"It's unemployment, it's pressure -- it just exploded," Bouhout Abderrahmane, 54, who heads the local Muslim Cultural Association, said Tuesday morning, visibly exhausted after an all-night effort to quell the continuing violence in this town.
Many residents were outraged Sunday night when a police tear gas canister was thrown into a local mosque during prayers for Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. An estimated 700 coughing and panicked worshipers ran for the doors.
Residents accused the police of deliberately attacking the mosque. French officials said they were investigating the incident, which occurred during police skirmishes with youths near the place of worship, a white concrete box of a building attached to a small grocery.
The violence focused criticism on Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, a prominent candidate in the 2007 presidential stakes. The week before the youths' deaths, he had announced "a war without mercy" on crime in the Paris suburbs.
Sarkozy, who has also called for affirmative action programs, fumbled in his initial response to the violence. He at first referred to the two dead boys as juvenile delinquents who were wanted in connection with a robbery, then amended that to say they were suspected of vandalizing a construction site.
On Monday, during a visit to the nearby police station, he said the youths were "not criminals" and had no criminal records, and promised a full investigation so that "everyone will know the truth."
In response to the crime problem in the suburbs, Sarkozy said he would deploy more police on the streets and dispatch more undercover agents to penetrate criminal gangs. He said he would start an experimental program in Clichy-sous-Bois to mount video cameras atop police cars to record the actions of suspects and to show that "police are behaving properly" during arrests.
Residents say more police will only exacerbate tensions.
"People are fed up with being controlled by cops, being stopped over and over," said Jean-Jacques Eyquem, a 53-year-old taxi driver who has lived in this town of 28,000 for most of his life.
"My brother paid the price of zero tolerance with his life," Adel Benna said in an interview, referring to Sarkozy's anti-crime mantra.
According to Benna, his brother and two other friends had been playing a game of pickup soccer and were on their way home to break the daily Ramadan fast last Thursday when they spotted a police checkpoint. Officers there were demanding identity papers, a common tactic in the high-crime neighborhoods of the Paris suburbs.
One of the boys had left his papers at home, Benna said. Hungry and fearful of being dragged into the police station after a day of fasting, Benna said, they tried to dodge the checkpoint.
Witnesses told the family that police began chasing the boys, according to Benna and other relatives. French officials have given several versions of the incident, with some officials saying that although the youths were not pursued by police, they believed they were being chased, and panicked. The teenager who survived, the son of Turkish immigrants, is undergoing surgery for severe burns, according to family members.
In a memorial march for the two youths over the weekend, a group of friends and neighbors wore white T-shirts emblazoned with the French words for "Dead for nothing."
Benna described his brother, Ziad, the youngest of five children, as "very shy, very nice, very helpful -- he was a good boy, the baby of the family."
Their father works for the city of Paris as a truck driver based just a block from the Eiffel Tower, in one of the city's most affluent neighborhoods. As he earned enough money over the years, he brought members of his family from their native Tunisia to live in the small apartment in a shabby, 11-story high-rise in Clichy-sous-Bois, which means Clichy Under the Woods. All signs of woods disappeared decades ago.
Ziad, who arrived four years ago, was struggling to learn French in school, Benna said. In a community where 25 percent of all heads of household are unemployed, Ziad was thrilled that his high school teacher had arranged for him to start a vocational training program this week, according to his brother.
ISLAM SUSTAINED, century-long rampage that would have wowed Rommel, the Prophet Mohammed and his successors beginning in A.D. 629 conquered not only Arabia, Persia, Syria, Egypt, and North Africa, but also branded the crescent of Islam on lands formerly within the fold of a Christian Roman Empire then in ruins. In 709, Arab horsemen and their allies crossed the Strait of Gibraltar. Four short years later, Spain belonged to the Empire of the Prophet.
In the summer of 732, the centennial of Mohammed's death, this veteran Islamic juggernaut, at least 80,000 strong with the skilled and popular general Abd er Rahman at its head, passed over the Pyrenees Mountains into what is now France to begin the conquest of "the Great Land"--Christian Europe. After that would come the subjugation of whatever new worlds lay across the oceans.
Probably, Mr. Reader, you did not yesterday wash five times, face Mecca, sink to your knees, and pray to Allah. Most likely, Ms. Reader, you did not cover yourself with a burka before venturing out to shop. Probably neither of you is giving up all food between sunup and sundown during the ongoing monthlong Ramadan.
For freedom from all of these obligations, you might spare a minute sometime today, and every October, to say a silent "thank you" to a gang of half-savage Germans and especially to their leader, Charles "The Hammer" Martel.
When the Muslim horde thundered out of the Pyrenees, hardly breaking stride to slaughter one small army of river-crossing defenders, it was Martel and his wild Frankish troops who stood waiting for them just outside the shrine-city of Tours.
Abd er Rahman must have smirked. With irresistible fury, he and his predecessors for a century had rolled up one opposition force after another on three continents, suffering no serious setbacks. His cavalry, the very size and splendor of which robbed brave men of their hearts before the order to charge ever sounded, was battle-tested and motivated by god and gold: Riches filled the Abbey of St. Martin of Tours, then the holiest site in Christendom.
The poet Robert Southey in "Roderick" described the intruders as "a dreadful brotherhood of long success Elate, and proud of that o'er-whelming strength Which surely, they believed, as it had rolled Thus far uncheck'd, would roll victorious on Till, like the Orient, the subjected West Should bow in reverence to Mahommed's name; And pilgrims from remotest Arctic shores Tread with religious feet the burning sands Of Araby and Mecca's stony soil.”
And to prevent this, what? A square of shaggy quasi-barbarians armed with swords, spears, and clubs. Perhaps Abd er Rahman's chief regret was that there were too few of the outnumbered foe to go around.
But Martel was not the typical infidel jackleg general. A king's bastard son who had to fight to hold his own after the death of his father, Martel had honed his martial skills both against other Frankish princes and pagan invaders from the right bank of the Rhine--in the words of British historian Sir Edward Creasy, "fierce tribes of the unconverted Frisians, Bavarians, Saxons, and Thuringians."
In these berserkers, Martel saw a later version of his own kith and kin. Only a few generations earlier, it was his Germanic ancestors who had forded the river, torn off chunks of a dying Roman Empire, but, paradoxically and wholly unlike the conquering Arabs to the south, accepted the faith of those they slew and dispossessed.
Few details about the Battle of Tours survive. From what historians can glean from Christian and Arab sources, it appears that for six days in October 732 the two armies shifted and feinted. The weather grew colder. The Franks were dressed for it, the Muslims were not. Martel could afford to hold his ground. On a Saturday--the day after the Muslim holy day, when prayers were offered up to Mohammed on the 100th anniversary of his death and religious fervor reached its zenith--the Arab-led cavalry attacked.
On occasion, brave, disciplined infantry in tight formation could turn back a cavalry charge. It was when defensive phalanxes cracked and foot soldiers fled in pell-mell panic that the fun for the mounted warrior began. In Abd er Rahman's case, his men soon expected to be playing polo not with mallets and balls but with scimitars and heads.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the massacre. The Frankish square, though possibly penetrated, did not shatter. Martel's men stood fast, the spirit of Christ and Thor--a potent mix--fastening their feet to French sod.
The Muslim horsemen who fell in battle envisioned awakening in the heavenly arms of beautiful virgins. Not bad as long-term R&R goes. But the Franks, Viking blood coursing in their veins, likely foresaw a Christo-barbaric afterlife equally appealing: crystal streams rippling across new battlefields where they could eternally ply their gory art, and streets of gold fronting mead halls where the beer was cold and wenches willing. (While this may be an unorthodox view of life beyond Checkpoint Peter, be honest. It beats a 10-million-year harp concert, doesn't it?)
Matters went from bad to worse for the attackers when the rumor spread that some of the Franks were raiding the attackers' camp, looting the Muslim loot. As some of the cavalrymen sped back to their tents, others interpreted their movement as a frightened retreat--precisely what then ensued. In this chaos, Abd er Rahman was surrounded by the enemy, who cut him down.
Leaderless, the Arab throng broke off the fight. "All the host fled before the enemy," candidly wrote one Arab source, "and many died in the flight." A monk claimed that the ratio of Muslim to Christian dead was about 370:1. Even if he was exaggerating--a virtual certainty--the Islamic world took the loss hard. Muslim historians for centuries referred to Tours, notes Creasy, as "the deadly battle" and "the disgraceful overthrow."
Never again did Islamic armies seriously threaten the Great Land of Gaul and beyond. Martel spent the rest of his life crushing smaller bands of Arab interlopers. Eventually, the heroes of the reconquista threw the Moors out of Spain.
But if the Hammer had lost?
Over the Rhine
In that case, the great historian Edward Gibbon foresaw this in store for a weak and divided Europe:
"A victorious line of [Muslim] march had been prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of Gibraltar to the banks of the Loire; the repetition of an equal space would have carried the Saracens [Arabs] to the confines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland; the Rhine is not more impassable than the Nile or Euphrates, and the Arabian fleet might have sailed without a naval combat into the mouth of the Thames."
Gibbon called those eight days in 732 "the events that rescued our ancestors of Britain, and our neighbors of Gaul [France], from the civil and religious yoke of the Koran."
Thus, Christianity might now exist in a few miserable oppressed enclaves--or not at all. In Persia, militant Islam overran a kingdom with a firmly established, 2,000-year-old religion. Bumped into any Zoroastrians lately?
In the book "What If?: The World's Foremost Military Historians Imagine What Might Have Been," Barry Strauss of Cornell points out that an Islamicized Europe would have meant that during the Age of Exploration, European sailing captains would have planted not the Cross, but the Crescent, in the soil of the New World.
Even without overrunning Europe, Islam spread its faith and doctrine to parts of India, the Philippines, Thailand, and central Africa. Had Charles Martel faltered at Tours, all of the largely Christian populations of Asia and Africa and South America would now, most likely, be solidly Muslim. "Today," writes Strauss, "there would only be one world religion: Islam."
And what sort of world would that be? Without the Christian quickening of conscience that helped abolish slavery in England, the United States, and elsewhere, the Quran-sanctioned institution might be the global norm. An Emir Ibrahim al-Lincoln would not have issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Ever wonder at the hatred of Orthodox Christian Serbs for Muslim Bosnians? One reason is that the ancestors of the former had to flee Constantinople when the Muslims overwhelmed the Christian East, killing or taking into bondage many who remained. The seething anti-Islamic passions in the Balkans make sense when you consider that the very name "Slav" comes from "slave."
Women the world over also would be permanent second-class citizens. Many if not most--observe Saudi Arabia--would be forbidden to drive a car, own property, or vote. Battered females might well lack legal or other recourse.
Way of the world
Creasy argues also that the Martel victory "preserved the relics of ancient and the germs of modern civilizations ." That is, in a Moslem Dominion, the ferment of the Middle Ages, which sparked the Enlightenment with all of its scientific, economic, and political fruits, would never have occurred. Look at the modern Islamic world: backward, unfree, poor--in sad fact, scarcely modern at all. This could be the state of all humankind if not for a Europe where, as Strauss notes, "church and state were [often] at loggerheads," helping form a culture that was, "compared to Islam, decentralized, secularized, individualistic, profit-driven."
Half-educated Christophobes who think the faith contributed nothing but superstition and inventive torture to the human story should ponder Strauss' words. So should modern zealots who would happily marry church and state.
Without the victory at Tours, there would be no suds-swinging Oktoberfest, no Halloween (because no All Hallows Eve), indeed little fun now or at any other time of the year under a Shari'a, or religious law, not noted for winking at petty vices.
And probably no comic books, the medium where I first learned of Charles Martel. He was summoned up by a character called Kid Eternity, who could invoke the spirits of dead heroes to help battle modern-day evil. Alas, in the school books in which I hid my comics, I don't believe I ever read about Martel or Tours, the battle that preserved the Christian flavor of Europe.
That flavor now wanes: Regular church attendance is very low in most European countries. When cathedral bells ring in Amsterdam on Sunday morning, notes Penn State's Philip Jenkins, the only citizens one sees walking to worship are black African Christian immigrants, "clearly not terribly well-off, but each in his or her Sunday best, and everyone clutch[ing] a well-thumbed Bible."
Meanwhile, the continent's growing Muslim communities are united in faith if not fervor. Soon one in 10 Frenchmen may be Muslim, writes Jenkins, while Frankfurt alone contains 27 mosques.
Pray for Europe. But save a few prayers, too, for a band of bearded, coarse, but faithful men who stood shoulder-to-shoulder in a cold dawn and faced proven death galloping full-speed toward them--only to unhorse that grim rider and break his bones to bits.
Which is to say that if in the next life you can't find the Pearly Gates, just follow the sound of the loud German drinking songs. You'll get to the right place.
PAUL AKERS is editor of the opinion pages of The Free Lance-Star.
Immigration migraines for
By Claude Salhani
Nov 5, 2005, 19:00 GMT
WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- From Paris to Amsterdam and from Brussels to Berlin, decades of liberal open-door immigration policies are bearing their mark on Europe`s domestic politics, not to mention the demographics of the Old Continent.
The arrival of several million immigrants -- mostly from North Africa, Turkey and Southwest Asia, and mostly Muslims -- has forever changed the face of a once largely white, overwhelmingly Christian Europe. Germany alone has some 7 million non-German residents, the majority of them Turks.
This influx of immigrants has caused a knee-jerk reaction from worried Europeans who have turned to right-wing parties for answers. Witness France`s National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen who came awfully close to winning the last presidential election.
The failure of many immigrants to integrate has resulted in communities living parallel to one another instead of blending. Exacerbating the problem, Islamist activists have found refuge and anonymity among these immigrant communities into which they can easily blend as has been the case in Britain, France The Netherlands and other European countries.
Europeans today are quick to complain their cities have been transformed, many will argue not for the better. They will blame, often without justification but not entirely without base, much of what goes wrong -- rising crime, hooliganism, prostitution and drugs -- on the new arrivals. Criminality in many of France`s suburban townships has skyrocketed in recent years, with police forces unable to cope.
'Something need to be done about whom we let in,' is a complaint often heard in France.
Many Europeans bemoan that immigrants are not integrating. Alain Boyer, a former sous-prefet (regional administrator) of Reims is one of France`s leading experts on Islam. He agrees that not enough is being done culturally to integrate Muslims in Europe.
Boyer acquired his expertise while working for the French Ministry of the Interior, the government department responsible for internal security. Boyer admits much more is needed in educating Europe`s Muslims from a cultural perspective. Particularly the imams, says Boyer, should be made more aware of European culture. Of France`s 1,200 imams -- or Muslim preachers -- more than a third do not speak French.
On Europe`s lax policies, Boyer told United Press International last December, 'There should be more control on people [immigrants] and imams.' When they break the law, they should be sent away.'
But Boyer also advocates turning to more moderate Muslims, particularly the influential, and using their sway to positively influence the minds of Europe`s young Muslims.
Britain`s Prime Minister Tony Blair seems to have heeded this advise by appointing Tariq Ramadan to a government taskforce working to root out Islamist extremists in Europe. Ramadan is the nephew of Hassan al-Bana, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. He has been accused by critics of sympathizing with radicals and is banned from entering the United States and France because of his alleged views supporting violence. Ramadan strongly denies these allegations.
The large influx of immigrants arriving both legally and clandestinely has come with its fair share of social problems. Partially at fault is the failure of many of the new immigrants to assimilate into their respective European societies.
Many European countries face similar problems in trying to integrate their immigrant populations. France, which has a long history of separating church and state, was confronted with the issue of Muslim schoolgirls wearing veils, or headscarves, in public schools. This was a practice that would have countered strict rules meant to keep religion out of politics and state affairs, and vice versa.
After a tumultuous national debate peppered with street protests and demonstrations by supporters and opponents of the headscarf ban, the state banned all outward religious signs, including Islamic headscarves, yarmulkes and 'large' crucifixes.
But far more worrisome than the headscarves has been the increase in Islamist activism in recent years. According to Boyer, much of the recruiting of Islamists occurs in Europe`s jails.
Now officials in France are starting to suspect that organized Islamist groups could well have a hand in the nightly rioting by Muslim youths, now in its second week, affecting a slew of Parisian suburb ringing the French capital.
Those suburbs are heavily populated by Muslim and North African immigrants, or their descendants, who now hold French citizenship, but feel left out of French society.
By the weekend the violence had spread from Paris to Marseille, Rouen and Dijon.
Is Paris Burning?
By Anthony David Marks
(IHC News, 6 November 2005) Violence is not only raging in the north east suburbs of Paris for the tenth consecutive night but has spread to many towns and cities throughout France. It reminds one of the famous 1944 World War II incident when the general of the retreating German army of occupation was ordered by Hitler to burn down Paris. The French Resistance helped foiled the attempt (which the German general was reluctant to carry out anyway) by harassing German troops and placing them on the defensive. Now there are others who would burn down Paris, if given the opportunity.
The widespread violence in France is the worst in living memory. The following cities and towns have been reported by various news media as having experienced some form of violence in this ‘immigrant uprising’: Paris and suburbs, Lille, Rennes, Nantes, Avignon, Cannes, Nice, Evreux, Strasbourg, Rouen, Meaux, Dijon and Marseille but the list is not exhaustive. Many cars and other vehicles have been burnt, buildings have been set on fire and police and firemen attacked. At present, street gangs control some areas of various cities and towns as the local police have been overwhelmed. There is talk of French troops being mobilized to take back control of them.
Under the French veneer of projecting a ‘model society’ in which the French take special pride, there is seething resentment on the part of a not insignificant number of descendents of Arab and African immigrants who are unemployed, cannot find jobs and who are discriminated against because of their culture and also equally because many Arab/Muslims reject French culture. This time bomb was bound to erupt sooner or later. The problem is deep. It really is a clash of civilizations: French morals are at variance with fundamentalist Islamic ones and many of the Arab/Muslim minorities hate and have contempt for French values. That is a problem which will not be rectified in a single generation and in the meantime something had to give.
The attitude of the French Jewish population is a good barometer of the health of French society generally. Most French Jews love France and French culture, so when many choose to emigrate or talk about emigrating something is seriously wrong in France.
The disturbing thing is how the violence could spread so quickly to locations all over France. Is it all spontaneous or is it the result of a well-organized plan to disrupt the French economy? For all of France’s pandering to the Arabs at the expense of Israel throughout the years, it does not seem to have had any effect on the local French-Arab population which some estimate represents as much as 15% of the entire population. Will other European countries with large Arab/Muslim minorities be subjected to such an outbreak of violence?
Perhaps the Israeli experience will now be studied more objectively by Europeans and convince them not to be so smug.
As France Burns, Immigration Debate Rears its Ugly Head
by Mac Johnson
Posted Nov 7, 2005
For 10 nights now, France has burned and spun. The fire has been provided by rioters, but the spin has been provided by the French government and the mainstream media, both in Europe and in North America.
At first the riots were ignored, then portrayed as typical French-style protest, then as understandable acts of anger by an underclass made desperate by poverty, and finally they are being reluctantly described for what they are: race riots.
Gangs of Arab and African Muslim men, the children and grandchildren of immigrants accepted into France following the collapse of her African empire, are conducting an intifada in the midst of Europe. It has escalated from shoving and shouting to stone throwing, then to arson of thousands of parked cars, then to assaults on civilians, firemen and paramedics, and finally, as of Sunday night, to shootings of police officers. The intifada is increasingly organized and has spread to dozens of cities throughout France.
Apparently, while the intellectuals of Europe have moved past thinking of the world in terms of “us” and “them,” a lot of the immigrants they have recruited to their homelands have not. As a result, “assimilation” is suddenly more than just an SAT word in media analyses the world over.
Obviously, the spontaneous army of Muslim “youths” burning Peugeots and nursery schools in France has not been properly assimilated, it is reported. Following this astute observation, it is usually added that France does not have America’s long history of successfully assimilating immigrants and that the French government needs to do something about that. Preferably, it should do something teary-eyed, big-hearted and expensive—like build the vandals newer housing projects, expand the already gargantuan French welfare state and celebrate Ramadan with a culturally sensitive postage stamp.
This is, however, among the dumbest combination of observations I have ever encountered, since America’s successful history of assimilation has absolutely nothing to do with any major government action on our part.
So how is it then, that America has successfully assimilated so many millions, without any special government-run assimilation centers or acculturation projects? What have we learned that Europe needs to know? And more importantly, have we forgotten a few things ourselves?
What follows is simply my opinion on this rather understudied and important topic. It is not a 500-footnote thesis and it is not in any way incontrovertible. But it is a considered opinion based on my reading of history, my family experience and my personal observations after having lived in many different parts of America. Consider this an invitation to further thought if you do not agree with it, because this issue will determine the future, if any, of the Western world during the next hundred years and thus begs for further thought.
A number of historical factors have favored immigrant assimilation in the United States. Many of these have since changed, but others have not. Likewise, some can be made to apply in Europe, while others cannot. The most important of these factors, in my estimation (along with comments), are:
1) For much of our history, admission into America was regarded as a very rare and generous gift. This was primarily because it was a very rare and generous gift. Most of the world did not, at the time, accept immigrants, or else accepted them only as part of a servant underclass, never to be treated as equals. America, by contrast, allowed entry to millions, and made obtaining full and equal citizenship a simple and straightforward process.
This was striking to most immigrants, who came from lands where the connection between blood and soil was centuries old and nearly immutable. This contrast inspired a sense of wonder and gratitude in many immigrants to America that motivated them towards adopting the ways of their new homeland.
Today, admission into the U.S. (or another Western democracy) is regarded by many as something between a civil right and an entitlement. Indeed, many seem to believe that the host population should be grateful to them for having arrived. Mass immigration is taken as a given. Little gratitude is thus inspired for new lives given so freely. Many immigrants, therefore, arrive as colonists, wishing only to set up a slightly wealthier version of their homeland.
The idea that admission into another people’s homeland is an act of nearly unbelievable trust and generosity needs to be restored, perhaps by announcing it as such to new arrivals and deporting those who fail to acknowledge this.
2) America’s immigrants came from many different nationalities. Devolving into a worldview of immigrant vs. native was, therefore, not possible for any single immigrant group. “Us” and “immigrants” were not synonymous. The introduced nationalities were each small in comparison to the host culture of native-born Americans, even though all immigrants combined were a large category. The children of Swedish and Italian and German and Irish immigrants thus had to choose to join the mainstream culture or else live in the relatively small world of their ethnic group.
In France, immigration has been heavily skewed toward Arab North Africans, who thus achieved the critical mass needed to form large self-contained cultural colonies within France.
3) America’s frontier mixed various ethnicities into new physical communities. Assimilation is favored by physical mixing. The many immigrants that disappeared into America’s frontier lands were assimilated within a single generation in most cases, because the children of immigrant and native-born grew up together as a single community. By contrast, those immigrants that remained in ethnic ghettoes in large coastal cities assimilated much more slowly.
Neither Europe nor modern America has such a force favoring rapid juxtaposition of newcomer and native-born. There are no more frontiers. America, however, has such a vibrant pattern of land redevelopment and internal migration that considerable involuntary mixing is still encouraged.
In light of this observation, the practice in France (and elsewhere) of building huge subsidized housing projects for the concentrated settlement of immigrants in distinct enclaves thus seems very unwise, if assimilation is the eventual goal.
4) English as a lingua franca, then and now. Both factors 3 and 4, above, encouraged people to not merely learn English quickly but also to forget the old language in only a generation or two, thus removing a major source of self-segregation. America’s assimilation has been a one-way street, in part, for this reason. The preservation of the ancestral language encourages self-segregation based on shared ancestry. Today, in all countries, Satellite TV in every language imaginable and easy travel back to an immigrant’s home country slows this process. Also, in the case of Europe’s Arab immigrants, there is a strong religious tie to the ancestral language, further encouraging linguistic identity to be preserved.
On the other hand, the proliferation of English overseas, via television and movies, probably accelerates integration of some immigrants to the US, Britain, Australia, and Canada, who arrive already knowing English and some customs.
5) America was not really so diverse as we now remember. Until the mid-20th Century, immigration to America occurred from a very restricted pool of nations. For all our celebration of the great melting pot, America was mostly melting European peoples in that pot. These peoples shared a great deal of cultural inheritance before ever setting foot in America. The gaps we formerly needed to bridge were thus relatively small. Religious differences consisted primarily of differences in various Christian sects. As much as it sometimes hurts to say it, a Frenchman and an American have most things in common, as do most other European nationalities.
It is only recently that the West has begun experimenting with mixing peoples from opposite sides of the Earth, with basic cultural incompatibilities and little shared experience. It can be done, especially where two geographically distant cultures have evolved convergent beliefs. But it can also present problems on a scale that no nation has had much experience in resolving.
A consequence of the fact that most American immigrant groups were drawn from the same single continent is that they were not capable of being identified as “foreign” stock after being assimilated linguistically. Forced cultural segregation was, therefore, usually not practical. The one major exception to this rule—the easy physical identification of people of African descent in the country—facilitated segregation by the predominant culture. In Europe, most descendants of immigrants are readily identifiable racially, encouraging both self-segregation and forced (though not legal) segregation via social exclusion.
6) The (now defunct) emphasis on individualism and limited government in American culture discouraged ethnic identity and political identity from merging. Ethnicity has always played a strong role in America’s political life. But the spoils nature of modern welfare states and the rise of identity politics has made ethnic identity and political self-interest intimately linked as never before. Democracy can easily degenerate into a demographic team sport in which collective effort is rewarded, encouraging ethnic balkanization and discouraging assimilation.
These factors demonstrate that America’s ability to assimilate millions of immigrants over two centuries was not a result of sweeping government assimilation policies and projects. Neither was it a magical result of some pro-assimilation impurity in our drinking water. It occurred for specific, if often fortuitous, reasons. Study of these reasons can allow a society to encourage cultural assimilation and unity, if it so chooses. But because some of the reasons are politically uncomfortable to discuss, I believe they will continue to be ignored.
If you want to admit and assimilate large numbers of immigrants into your country, it can be done. Begin by choosing an immigrant pool as much like your existing culture as feasible. Do not admit too many immigrants from a single source. Disperse the immigrants into the general population—avoid ghettoes. Encourage a single language. And remind newcomers that admission into your country is a gift, not a right, and the gift carries with it certain obligations born of gratitude.
I can think of no European country that is following this proven formula for immigrant assimilation. But they should not feel bad, because the United States seems ot have abandoned it as well.
The Problem of Muslims in Western Countries
By Micah Halpern
The Eiffel Tower. The Louvre. Croissants. Gardens, gargoyles, garrets. It used to be that when you thought of Paris, your thoughts turned to old movies and romance. Until the night of October 27th.
That's when the riots began. That was when
two young men, apparently believing that they were being chased by police, ran
into an electric substation transformer and were electrocuted.
And the riots have continued. Who are the rioters? They are mostly Muslim/Arab youths, disenfranchised, dejected, feeling themselves rejected by mainstream society. And they have taken over the streets of Paris.
Surprised? You shouldn't be. Not when you put it all in context.
Muslims are the first immigrants to enter France since the famous French Revolution of 1789 with the intention of transforming the country rather than of being transformed themselves into authentic French mesdames and messieurs.
Muslims believed that they could not only retain their own identity, but also turn France into a Muslim stronghold. For two and a half centuries immigrants made their way into France and made France their home by becoming French, not by denying everything that is France. Until the wave of Muslim immigration began, each group of immigrants contributed to a larger France by adding their own unique and specialized subculture to the overall French culture. No one ever believed that they were changing France, no one wanted to change France. They were becoming Frenchmen. Their children would be truly French. Until the Muslim/Arabs arrived.
Muslim immigration is spreading into all parts of Europe. And the problems that Muslims are facing in France are the same problems that Muslims will face in each country they enter. It is the larger problem of Islam in Europe.
Muslims entering France have been taught to distrust the country they are entering and hoping to call home. Muslim clerics speak of the evils of Western culture and of French culture. As they establish their communities Muslims erect barriers preventing a true assimilation into France. Rather than absorbing French culture they seek to convert the French to their own religion cum culture. They strive to turn France into a Muslim state.
And they have met with resistance. And it has had a strong, deleterious effect on Muslim youth living in France today.
France is not rejecting these kids, the kids are rejecting France. That is an important distinction, a distinction that is lost in the power of the riots. This is not the beginning of a revolution, it is youthful expression of frustration. These are not just kids who have lost all hope because they are forced to live in crime-ridden communities and to work dead end jobs, kids left behind by mainstream society. These are kids taught to buck mainstream society. They have been weaned on a mistrust of the French, raised to reject that which could so easily be theirs.
I am no big defender of the French. But I respect their place in history. France is the founder of modern democracy, the home of the revolution that brought freedom and emancipation to the Western world. France will survive this minor insurrection. No doubt the liberal state of France will clamp down. The right wing National Front has already made their opinions known. They will find a way to solve the problem.
France is not in danger of becoming a Muslim state. Actually, France is one of the most aggressively xenophobic societies in Europe. They will not allow themselves to become Muslim because their liberal democracy and their very French character and charm are too important. France will not self-destruct in the name of democracy. They will, however, shoot down their potential encroachers.
To be French is to love liberte, to understand fraternite and to be willing to grant egalite. If or when the Muslim/Arab community is ready, the French will be there for them. Until then, they will be rejected. Not only in France
Muslim rioters start 12th night of chaos
Beginning a 12th night of riots and violence, Muslim immigrants in France set fire to an empty bus today in the southern city of Toulouse and threw firebombs and rocks at law enforcement personnel.
Rioting yesterday spread to 300 towns as the nation endured its 11th straight night of unrest, with as many as 36 policemen injured, 10 of whom were shot.
The first fatality also was reported today when a man beaten by an attacker while trying to extinguish a trash-can fire died of his injuries.
Yesterday, a Molotov cocktail "factory" was discovered by police just outside Paris, 1,400 vehicles were burned, and rioters were reported to have fired shotguns and hunting rifles on police for the first time since the uprising began.
French President Jacques Chirac promised arrest, trials and punishment for those sowing "violence or fear" as police and rioters clashed south of Paris and in other towns around the capital.
Ten riot police were wounded, two seriously, in fighting with 250 to 300 youths in Grigny. Across the country, rioters pelted Molotov cocktails at cars and a school, and firefighters in some areas worked under police escort.
In Evry, south of Paris, police discovered what they called "a Molotov cocktail factory" in an unused police station. Six teenagers were arrested. Significant supplies of gasoline were found and about 150 bottles, a third of them filled and ready to be used, were seized.
On Saturday night, mostly North African rioters torched nearly 1,300 vehicles and torched businesses, schools and symbols of French authority, including post offices and provincial police stations. The violence spread to Paris for the first time.
But the intensity of the attacks escalated once again last night.
"The law must have the last word," Chirac said in his first public address on the violence. France is determined "to be stronger than those who want to sow violence or fear, and they will be arrested, judged and punished."
The president, who spoke after a security meeting with top ministers, said France would promote "respect for all, justice and equal opportunities."
"But there is a precondition, a priority, I repeat," Chirac said. "That is the restoring of security and public order."
Violence has broken out in Strasbourg in the east, Toulouse in the south-west, Nantes in the west and Avignon, Nice and Cannes in the south and in the northern town of Evreux in Normandy.
Gangs threw gasoline bombs at a local school and four police officers were injured in clashes with youths, some of them reportedly armed with baseball bats.
In Paris last night, police helicopters could be heard overhead as 2,300 police patrolled the capital in an attempt to pursue and identify those responsible for the attacks.
According to a Reuters report, the Action Police CFTC union urged the French government to impose a curfew in areas hit by the riots and call in the army to control the crowds.
"Nothing seems to be able to stop the civil war that spreads a bit more every day across the whole country," the CFTC said in a statement. "The events we're living through now are without precedent since the end of the Second World War."
The mayhem began 11 nights ago as isolated violence in one impoverished Paris suburb. It is now seen as a nationwide crisis – France's worst civil unrest since May 1968.
Authorities say drug traffickers and Islamic militants are helping to organize the unrest, via the internet and mobile phones, among the black North African immigrant communities who make up a significant part of many poor suburban housing estates. French Muslim authorities yesterday issued a fatwa – a religious edict – against the riots.
But Dalil Boubakeur, the head of the French Muslim Council and leader of the largest mosque in Paris, seemed to blame the government for the continuing violence.
"What I want from the authorities, from Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy, the prime minister and senior officials, are words of peace," he said.
Sarkozy has been widely criticized for his "warlike" language in which he referred to rioters as "scum" and vowed to "clean up" the suburbs.
Neighboring Germany, also with a large Muslim immigrant population, mostly of Turkish origin, was watching the horror unfold in France with alarm.
Wolfgang Bosbach, the deputy leader of the conservative Christian Democrats in the German parliament, told a Sunday newspaper: "There are differences between the situation in France and here, but we should not be under the illusion that similar events could not happen in Germany."
In Italy, Romano Prodi, the opposition leader, called on the government to take urgent action, telling reporters: "We have the worst suburbs in Europe. I don't think things are so different from Paris. It's only a question of time."
Denmark has also been hit with what is being characterized as its own "Islamic Intifada." In Arhus, Denmark, young Muslims were heard chanting, "This land belongs to us!"
A masked spokesman for the rioters told Danish reporters that Muslims were tired of being oppressed and harassed and warned the police to stay away.
"This is our area. We rule this place," he said.
The unrest in France began Oct. 27 by the apparently accidental deaths of two teenagers of African origin, Bouna Traore, 15, and Zyed Benna, 17, who were electrocuted in the rundown Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois after hiding in an electricity sub-station. Locals say they were being pursued by police after a robbery, but French authorities have denied this.
Since then, more than 3,500 cars have been set on fire and 800 people arrested as night riots have spread from Paris suburbs to other cities including Toulouse, Rennes and Lille. Schools, public offices and businesses have been burned.
France’s 17th Straight Night of Violence
November 12, 2005 03:43 PM EST
By Sher Zieve – It is being reported that on Saturday night Muslim rioters have begun their 17th consecutive night of violence and mayhem. Rioters are said to have moved from the suburbs into Paris.
Paris police in riot gear battle the insurgents, as they work to protect France’s national monuments. Last week, Internet messages urged the rioters to move from the poorer areas of France into Paris, in order to wreak havoc.
by Klaus Rohrich
Saturday, November 19, 2005
With the Eurabian Intifada still going strong, pundits and politicians are undergoing strenuous intellectual contortions in an effort to ignore the obvious. France’s Prime Minister, Dominic de Villepin, has proclaimed that the rioting in that country is secular in nature, not religious, despite evidence that the rioters are almost exclusively Muslims. In his proclamation, De Villepin promises the French government will do more of what it has been doing to bring about the riots in the first place--namely spend more money on social programs and welfare.
President Jaques Chirac went one further and blamed the whole thing on racism, calling for a collective effort to help stamp it out. "We can build nothing lasting if we allow racism, intolerance and abuse," he told a television audience. "We can build nothing lasting unless we fight this poison for society that is discrimination." That’s the moral equivalent of surrendering, something for which the French seem to have somewhat of a reputation.
What Mr. Chirac fails to understand when he calls for giving jobs to individuals who have "non-French names, a suburban postal code, or the wrong skin color", is that France isn’t capable of giving these people jobs because their economy has tanked due to confiscatory taxation, prohibitive payroll taxes and overregulation.
While there is almost no mention of the concomitant Intifada in Denmark by the former mainstream media, that country has also seen nearly two weeks’ worth of nightly rioting along with the attendant mayhem and arson. The Danish rioting was sparked by the publication of a series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in the Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper. The reason the paper published these cartoons in the first place was the result of a Danish author complaining that he could find no artists that would illustrate his book about Mohammed. Consequently the Jyllands-Posten sent out requests to 40 Danish illustrators to submit illustrations of Mohammed. Of the 40 only 12 sent in drawings that the paper subsequently published.
The result was outrage among the Muslim community and 5,000 took to the streets in protest against the publication. The protests were followed by nights of rioting by mostly Muslim youth in Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city.
"This land belongs to us." The rioters screamed, driving police and firefighters away from the RosenhØj Mall, which was the scene of the worst rioting. Fires were set by Molotov cocktails and special police had to escort fire trucks to the scene so that the fires could be fought.
Rioters used cobblestones to smash store windows, while the police reported that the rioters showed up with the cobblestones in their bags. Clearly these riots were pre-planned and well co-ordinated. During media interviews the apparent leaders of the riots said "We have planned this for three weeks. That’s why only two were arrested on Saturday. Police tried to block us in, but we know how to get out."
In Holland, filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, a relative of the famous artist, was gunned down in the street and then had his throat slashed by an irate Muslim who objected to Van Gogh’s film about the treatment of Muslim women under Islamic law.
Then there are the infamous 7/7 terrorist subway and bus bombings in London, which killed 56 people and the notorious 3/11 commuter train bombings in Spain.
What do all these events as well as numerous others have in common? They are all perpetrated by Muslim immigrants or their offspring who object to Western culture and mores. The other thing they have in common is that these actions are glossed over by media and politicians who are fearful of rocking the boat. They would rather blame the victims of this violence rather than its perpetrators in their efforts to maintain their status as being politically correct.
Denmark’s Prime Minister Andres Fogh Rasmussen was quick to absolve the rioters of the label "terrorists", and Danish police said they had no plans to stop the rioting other than to initiate "dialogue and peaceful negotiations" with the rioters.
Numerous pundits around the world have opined that the disturbances in Eurabia are not "revolutionary" in nature, but are brought about through frustration and despair due to poverty and discrimination. One pundit I read in one of the weekend papers posited that these disturbances are more in line with what Anthony Burgess described in his book A Clockwork Orange. His thesis was that these were basic hooligans who are behaving like Burgess’s Droogs, instead of the harbingers of a Muslim revolution.
In my opinion, the pundits and politicians who make excuses for the civil unrest are as big a part of the problem as the perpetrators of the unrest. In their desire to lay the blame at society’s feet, they fail to confront the ugly truths now facing the West and Europe in particular. As time progresses, the civil unrest will only get worse, not better.
Currently the population of France is about 10% Muslim, which on the surface is a clear minority. This trend is pretty well consistent throughout the rest of Europe where unassimilated Muslim immigrants are a clear minority. However, the average age of the majority is somewhere in the late 40s while that of the minority is in the early 20s. In addition, indigenous Europeans have ceased to reproduce and each year as their numbers shrink due to attrition, those of the unassimilated immigrants grow because they have a vibrant birth rate.
What we are seeing today in France and Denmark is the harbinger of a larger conflagration that will consume Europe and forever change its face. The solutions offered by the "poet" Prime Minister of France would only accelerate that process, as it will do nothing to integrate their immigrants into the mainstream. On the contrary, it appears that France now has its own two "solitudes". Native Frenchmen fear their immigrants as being "uncivilized fanatics" and Muslim immigrants have no use for French culture, as it runs contrary to all their social and religious traditions.
What they need in Europe isn’t "more tolerance and less racism". How tolerant can one get? What’s really needed are more cops and prisons to convey the message that equality under the law means just that whether you’re white, black, Christian or Muslim.
Two weeks ago I wrote in these pages that the rioting in Europe essentially proved that multiculturalism was a truly bad idea. I closed my article with the following:
"If we want to see what Toronto or Montreal will look like in 15 to 20 years, I would suggest a visit to Paris, the City of Light. The light you’ll find is likely that thrown off by burning automobiles."
I received several emails from readers who took issue with my point of view. The essential arguments being that Canada is different from Europe, we’re better than they are, we can absorb more immigrants, we’re nicer people, you’re racist (Orientalist, actually) and don’t worry, be happy.
Turning a blind eye to the perils that confront us will make them no less perilous. Instead of pretending that Europe’s problems aren’t really problems, we might be well advised to see what we can learn from them.
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