Friday, November 04, 2005

Rioting Spreads In Muslim Areas of France; Incidents In Britain

Weeklong rioting in Muslim neighborhoods on the northeast side of Paris has now spread to other parts of France, with hundreds of cases of arson, and a police crackdown underway. The trouble made Page 1 of the L.A. Times today, with a story by the newspaper's crack European terrorism correspondent, Sebastian Rotella. Russia and the U.S. both warned their nationals to be cautious in Paris.

Meanwhile, British police reported desiccration of Muslim graves near Birmingham,

So, as has long been predicted, Western Europe is now facing the consequences of poorly controlled immigration and poor assimilation of Muslim youths. Unrest in the Netherlands, the murders of two outspoken Muslim critics there, has already sent that country's white majority politically to the right. There can be little doubt that the present rioting will now affect French politics where the prime minister, Dominique de Villepin and the interior minister, Nicholas Sarkozy, favor different approaches as they jockey to succeed Chirac in the next presidential election.

The fact is, the European countries are even less tolerant than the U.S. Muslims are better assimilated and, in proportion, less numerous in America than in Western Europe, and the war on terror could come to Western Europe with a vengeance in the months ahead.

It is ironic that the first really wide rioting is occurring in France, where the Chirac government has long vainly boasted of a more successful policy than the U.S.

But the French are a more xenophobic people than the Americans, and France unwisely took in too many North Africans after the end of the Algerian war. Now, it is paying the price. However, we must be sympathetic and supportive. As in Israel, Chechnya, Kashmir and other places where the terrorists have struck, the attackers are repulsive people whose only skill is striking, with deadly firebombs, the innocent.

Liberals in both the U.S. and France have blamed Muslim militancy worldwide on Western intervention in the Middle East. This is certainly part of the story, but the New York Times has been running academic articles of late pointing out that the Osama bin Laden crowd has long called the jihadist campaign a worldwide phenomenon, and its goals are not limited to the Middle East. They seek to disrupt civil life and end freedom everywhere, and that's why we and our allies are fighting them everywhere.

France has vacillated in the last week between a police crackdown and calls for Muslim reason. The calls for reason aren't working, and the crackdown may, at least in the short run, only exacerbate the problems. But the fight has to go on.

The British, meanwhile, have begun deporting Muslim supporters of terrorism from the U.K. Deportations not limited to dangerous clerics may be just around the corner in France. Altogether, it is a somber prospect. But as Spain found out centuries ago, tolerance does not cool Muslim aggression.


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