Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A sign of things to come

No one seems to be paying much attention to what's been going on in Paris this week, but for those of us interested in Muslim integration in Europe, it is significant. For the past five nights, hundreds of youth -- "immigrants," read Muslims, a word the media is using only sporadically -- have been rioting, shooting at policemen, setting classrooms and cars on fire, etc etc etc., after 2 teens electrocuted themselves by mistake as they were being chased by the police. A couple of nights ago the police actually fired tear gas into a mosque. The pictures on tv last night seemed pretty grim and according to this report, the riots are spreading, not calming down (although what happens tonight remains to be seen).
For some time now, people have been predicting that the alienated, un-integrated Muslims in Paris are an explosion waiting to happen. These riots may be on a small scale compared to, say, LA, but surely these riots are simply a warning sign of things to come. Most worrying is the reaction from some elements in the government, who, in response to the violence, are attacking Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy's "zero tolerance" policy toward the violence, and think the answer is to spend more money on "housing and education." Housing and education are all well, good and necessary -- but criticizing Sarkozy's tough line on crime is effectively excusing the criminals, "understanding" their motives. Which of course they don't -- because the riots have little to do with housing and poverty and everything to do with (deliberate) cultural disaffection. Do-gooders encouraging these groups to think of themselves as victims -- who, as a result, are not answerable for their actions -- are part of the problem, not the solution. What is necessary are measures to integrate the Muslims, not to 'pacify' them.
Unfortunately, there are groups like this not just in Paris, but in the major cities all over Europe. If Europeans are not going to read the writing on the wall now, when will they?

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