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The Twelfth Night

Nov
7
2005

It is the twelfth night of the insurrection in France, and death is on the march. Three hundred communities, unto the most rural hamlets, are staggering under the blows of Muslim youth on a rampage. Police are coming under small-arms fire. Further evidence of the organized, insurrectionary nature of the troubles has come in the discovery of a bomb factory in the Paris suburbs. The violence has spread to Belgium. The violence has spread to Germany. And the rest of Europe waits its turn.

Has the French integration model failed? Something has failed — but there must be a realization that the ideal and the reality of that model are two different things. The danger for France is that it may jettison the ideal in the aftermath of this uprising. That ideal — equality of citizens as citizens, and the primacy of French culture and Western values — is the only just and equitable model for assimilation of immigrants in a democracy. What is true for France is true for America. But France shows signs of losing confidence in this as the troubles drag on: already there are signs that France may abandon its ideal for a model of ethnic preferences. And a fatwa against the rioting (which has been rejected by other prominent French Muslims) appears to have the implicit endorsement of the French authorities. If so, the capitulation to the idea that French Muslims may look to a source of law and justice other than the state is almost certainly a fatal one.

Don’t think the insurrectionists cannot sense the weakness. Islamists are going into battle with shouts of “Allahu akbar!” Online incitement and coordination defies the efforts of the authorities to cope; and the messages grow increasingly chilling:

“The cops are petrified of us, everything must burn, starting Monday, the operation ‘Midnight Sun’ starts, tell everyone else, rendezvous for Momo and Abdul in Zone 4 … jihad Islamia Allah Akhbar.”

User “Samir’s” message is just as threatening. “You don’t really think that we’re going to stop now? Are you stupid? It will continue, non-stop. We aren’t going to let up. The French won’t do anything and soon, we will be in the majority here.”

The response from Muslim leaders is predictably troubling. In addition to the rejection of the anti-riot fatwa, non-French Muslims are getting in on the act. Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed the unrest on France’s failure to “listen to us.” Spanish Muslim leader Abdelkarim Carrasco has declared that France must accomodate Islam: “Either Europe develops and supports the idea of a mixed culture, or Europe has no future.” (Consider, as a thought experiment, the reaction to a similar declaration issued with regard to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Iran.) Beyond this, the Muslim leaders of the world are mostly focused upon Denmark’s failure to behave as a good dhimmi — a cause for which the doughty Danes, having just faced down their own Muslim uprising, have little sympathy.

Would that France had the same courage. Would that France did not need it.

Share  Posted by Josh Trevino at 5:42 PM | Permalink

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