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Psst! The French Rioters Are Muslim

The French rioters are Muslim: a matter that concerns me as much as the fact of its widespread omission in the press. The riots began after two teens on a motorbike died in a collision with a police car in the predominantly Muslim area Villiers-le-Bel on Sunday. The press is on a first name basis with the late teens. An exclusively first name basis. From The New York Times: “The two teenagers who died on Sunday were identified in the French news media merely as 15-year-old Moushin and 16-year-old Larami. . .” I suspect the first name situation reflects something more than respect for the dead. But more importantly, here’s a random smattering of coverage on the riots themselves: [All emphasis mine.] From The New York Times: “The number of police officers injured during clashes by French youths in a suburb north of Paris rose to 86. . .” Time: “Fears of renewed nationwide rioting that rocked France two years ago grew Monday evening, when youths from a suburban Paris housing project staged a second straight night of battles with police.” Bloomberg: “Youths fought police for a second night in suburbs north of Paris. . .” Adding one paragraph down, “Youngsters threw stones and Molotov cocktails, burning shops, vehicles, a school, a library and a tax office.” AFP: “Youths battled police for a second night in Paris suburbs, burning down government buildings and injuring 64 police officers." The BBC: “The youths said they were avenging the two teenagers killed when their motorcycle hit a police car on Sunday." The AP: “On Monday night, youths were seen firing buckshot at police and reporters. About 30 of 82 injured officers were hit by buckshot, Ribeiro told The Associated Press. Rioters also hurled stones and Molotov cocktails at police, authorities said.” If age is truly the most pertinent characteristic of the rioters, I’d say France has quite a youth problem on its hands. Such teenage extremism demands nothing less than a fully committed War on Puberty. So, perhaps we should be honest about what’s happening in France before Nicolas Sarkozy declares the French Ministry for Youth an official terrorist organization. Here’s what’s happening in France: Villiers-le-Bel is one of France’s "quartier sensible" or touchy neighborhoods. These are French slums populated by North African Muslims who’ve been both unwilling and unable to assimilate into larger French culture, but extremely willing and able to become part of the larger French welfare system. These are Muslims who didn’t emigrate to France for a better life. They went for the same life, with better benefits. So, over 80 police have been injured, some critically, by Muslim rioters for whom the French police are nothing more than armed infidels. I’m not saying the rioters are jihadists, but it requires a commitment to ignorance not to sniff out the familiar in these words of one rioter: “This is war. There is no mercy. We want at least two policemen dead.” Before anyone calls me Islamophobic, I’ll point out that America’s Muslim immigrant population is amongst the country’s most hard-working. I’m not mentioning this out of cowardice, but because there’s a lot to be learned from it. The success of America’s Muslim immigrants is a function both of their individual willingness and the U.S.’ unique ability to bring new citizens into the fold. Even France’s most French-loving Muslim can’t call himself a Frenchman the way his U.S. counterpart can declare himself an American. This is because European citizenship is founded on tribal ties and American citizenship is a matter of philosophical association. If you believe in the U.S. Constitution you’re as American as you’ll ever need to be. In Europe, national identity is an ineffable weave of ethnicity and culture that’s virtually impervious to emulation. When Sarkozy talks about his admiration for the American way, he’s talking about the ability to get in on the good life regardless of ethnicity and religion. He’s talking about making hard work and opportunity part of national pride. We’ll see how he reacts to this latest reminder that his work is cut out for him. As for Islamophobia, the culprits are listed above: The New York Times, Time Magazine, Bloomberg, The AFP, The BBC, The AP, etc. Click on those pages, and do a search for “Muslim”. After typing three letters of the word into your search window your computer will respond with whatever annoying sound it’s programmed to make when it hits a dead end.


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