Pandaemonium

AFTER PARIS

pierre soulages

Solidarity and anger. Those were my immediate emotions, watching the carnage unfold on the streets of Paris. Solidarity with the people of Paris, anger at the depraved, nihilistic savagery of the terrorists. Those remain my main emotions, even now. But, beyond solidarity and anger, we need also analysis. So here are two articles, thinking through some of the issues. The first looks at, and challenges, two popular explanations for why the carnage was unleashed –  Western foreign policy, on the one hand, lax immigration policy, on the other.  It was published in Al Jazeera English under the headline.‘Kneejerk finger-pointing after Paris attacks’. (One of the terrorists may have entered Europe as a refugee via Greece, and with a Syrian passport. This has not been confirmed yet, but even if it is, it does not, as I observe in the article, fundamentally change my argument.) The second article, published in the Observer under the headline ‘Terrorism has come about in assimilationist France and also in multicultural Britain. Why is that?, examines French social policy, and the differences and commonalities between multicultural and assimilationist approaches.


The lure – and pitfalls – of easy answers
Al Jazeera English, 14 November 2015

The horrors unleashed on the streets of Paris on Friday night took place against the background of two major ongoing international crises. The first is the Syrian conflict, and the war against Islamic State. The second is the refugee crisis that now besets Europe.

The entry of Russia has escalated the conflict in Syria. The day before the Paris attack, an American airstrike was believed to have killed ‘Jihadi John’, a British national who had joined IS and become an important propaganda tool. Meanwhile, more than half a million migrants and refugees, many from Syria, have arrived at Europe’s southern and eastern borders this year alone. The failure of the EU coherently to address the issue has created major political conflicts between EU states, fuelled hostility towards migrants and boosted the fortunes of populist parties.

Many have inevitably looked to these two crises as explanations for the Paris atrocities. Some have seen the terrorism as the consequence of French foreign policy in Syria, others of lax immigration controls that have allowed terrorists to enter Europe. Both arguments seem superficially self-evident. But both are profoundly untrue.

Islamic State has officially claimed responsibility for the attacks. One of the terrorists in the Bataclan theatre, where at least 87 people were slaughtered, was said to have shouted ‘This is for Syria’. Yet we should be wary of seeing these attacks as a response, however perverted, to French, or Western, foreign policy.

The terrorists did not target symbols of the French state, or of French militarism. They did not even target tourist spots. They targeted, rather, the areas and the places where mainly young, anti-racist, multiethnic Parisians hang out. The cafes, restaurants, bars and music venue that were attacked – Le Carillon, La Belle Equipe, Le Petit Cambodge, and the Jewish-owned Bataclan – are in the 10th and 11th arrondisements, areas that, though increasingly gentrified, remain ethnically and culturally mixed and still with a working class presence.

The other venue attacked was the Stade de France, the national football stadium. France and Germany were playing match there on Friday night, and French President François Hollande was in attendance. But the Stade de France, like France’s national football team, has also great cultural resonance. ‘Les Bleus’, as the team is known, are seen by many as an embodiment of multicultural France, a team consisting of ‘noir, blanc, beur’ (black, white, Arab) players. It was in the Stade de France that Les Bleus, led by Zinedine Zidane, a Frenchman of Algerian descent, famously won the World Cup in 1998.

What the terrorists despised, what they tried to eliminate, were ordinary people, drinking, eating, laughing, mixing. That is what they hated – not so much the French state as the values of diversity and pluralism.

This is in keeping with the character of many terrorists attacks, in Europe and elsewhere. Terrorists often claim a political motive for their attacks. Commentators often try to rationalize such acts, suggesting that they are the inevitable result of a sense of injustice created by Western foreign policy or by anti-Muslim attitudes in the West. Yet most attacks have been not on political targets, but on cafes or trains or mosques. Such attacks are not about making a political point, or achieving a political goal – as were, for instance, IRA bombings in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s – but are expressions of nihilistic savagery, the aim of which is solely to create fear. This is not terrorism with a political aim, but terror as an end in itself.

soulages

If many on the left have tried to blame terror attacks on Western foreign policy, many on the right have tried to use the Paris carnage to ramp up rhetoric against migrants and refugees. Had France (and Europe) maintained tighter border controls, they suggest, the carnage could have been avoided.

We don’t know yet the backgrounds of the Paris killers. They may have been recent migrants, or refugees. Yet, even if they were, the arguments linking the Paris attacks to the refugee crisis are questionable.

For a start, refugees and migrants are often attempting to flee just the kind of carnage that came to the streets of Paris on Friday. And far from waving migrants across Europe’s borders, the EU has spent 25 years building a fortress against migration, protected by militarized border controls.

Whatever may eventually turn out to be the identities of the Paris killers, until now the problem of terrorism in Europe has not been created by terrorists smuggling themselves onto refugee boats. It has, rather, mostly been the work of homegrown jihadis. The Kouachi brothers, for instance, responsible for the Charlie Hebdo killings in January were born and raised in Paris. So was Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who, that same weekend, attacked a kosher supermarket in Paris and killed four Jews. Three of the four suicide bombers responsible for the 7/7 attack on London tubes and a bus were similarly born in Britain. Most of the 4000 or so Europeans who have joined IS as fighters have been European-born, and many have been professionals, and well integrated into society.

Pointing the finger at refugees not only sidesteps the problem of homegrown jihadism, it also foments more anti-immigrant hatred, further polarizing European societies.

It is understandable that in the wake of a horror such as that in Paris, we should seek quick, easy solutions. But the problem of terrorism is more complicated than that. If we really want to address the issue of terrorism we need to address the complexities, too.


soulages eaux fortes 10

Assimilationist France, multicultural Britain and terrorism
Observer, 15 November 2015

We don’t yet know the identities or backgrounds of the eight killers that carried out the carnage on the streets of Paris on Friday night. President François Hollande has suggested that killings were organized abroad but with support from within France.

Whoever the Paris killers may eventually turn out to be, until now much of the problem of terrorism in Europe has been created not by foreign terrorists but by homegrown jihadis. The Kouachi brothers, for instance, responsible for the Charlie Hebdo killings in January were born and raised in Paris. So was Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who, that same weekend, attacked a kosher supermarket in Paris and killed four Jews. Three of the four suicide bombers responsible for the 7/7 attack on London tubes and a bus were similarly born in Britain.

In the past, when London was seen as the capital of Islamism and of terror groups – Londonistan, many called it – French politicians and policy makers suggested that Britain faced a particular problem because of its multicultural policies. Such policies, they claimed, were divisive, failing to create a common set of values or sense of nationhood. As a result many Muslims were drawn towards Islamism and violence. ‘Assimilationist’ policies, French politicians insisted, avoided the divisive consequences of multiculturalism and allowed every individual to be treated as a citizen, not as a member of a particular racial or cultural group.

So, how do we account for the way that terrorism has been nurtured in assimilationist France, too? And how different are French assimilationist and British multicultural policies?

Many of the French criticisms of multiculturalism were valid. British policy makers welcomed diversity. But they tried to manage it by putting people into ethnic and cultural boxes, defining individual needs and rights by virtue of the boxes into which people are put, and using those boxes to shape public policy. They treated minority communities as if each was a distinct, homogenous whole, each composed of people all speaking with a single voice, each defined by a singular view of culture and faith. The consequence has been the creation a more fragmented, tribal society, which has nurtured Islamism. The irony, though, is the French policies, from a very different starting point, have ended up at much the same place.

There are, it is often claimed, some five million Muslims in France, making it the largest Muslim community in Western Europe. In fact there are five million people of North African origin in France. Most are secular. A growing number have, in recent years, become attracted to Islam. But even today, according to a 2011 poll by the l’Institut Français d’Opinion Publique (Ifop), only 40 per cent call themselves ‘observant Muslims’ – and only 25 per cent attend Friday prayers.

First generation postwar immigrants to France faced, just like their counterparts in Britain, considerable racism. The second generation, again as in Britain, was far less willing than their parents had been to accept passively social discrimination and police brutality. They organized, largely through secular movements, and took to the streets, often in violent protest. In autumn 2005 riots swept through French banlieues and cities as youth and police fought pitched battles, much as they had in Britain two decades earlier.

During the 1970s and early 1980s the French authorities had taken a relatively laid-back stance on multiculturalism, generally tolerating cultural and religious differences, at a time when few within minority communities expressed their identity in cultural or religious terms. The then President François Mitterrand even coined the slogan ‘droit à la differénce’ – the right to be different.

As tensions within North African communities became more open, and as the far-right Front National emerged as a political force, so the ‘droit à la differénce’ was abandoned for a more hardline assimilationist approach, with the problems of North African communities presented in terms of their ‘difference’. Few of the youth that rioted in 2005 saw themselves as ‘Muslim’. But the authorities portrayed the riots, and the disaffection they expressed, less as a response to racism than as an expression of a growing threat to France – that of Islam.

In principle, the French authorities rejected the multiculturalist approach that Britain had adopted. In practice, however, they treated North African migrants and their descendents, in a very ‘multicultural’ way – as a single community, and primarily as a ‘Muslim’ community. Islam became symbolic of the anxieties about values and identity that now beset France.

soulages noir

A much-discussed 2013 poll conducted by Ipsos and the Centre for Political Studies Sciences Po (Cevipof) found that 50 per cent of the population believed ‘the decline of France’, both economic and cultural, to be ‘inevitable’. Fewer than third thought that democracy worked well, while 62 per cent considered ‘most politicians’ to be ‘corrupt’. The report described a ‘fractured France’, divided into tribal groups, alienated from mainstream politics, distrustful of their leaders, and resentful of Muslims. The main sentiment driving French society, the report concluded was ‘fear’.

Faced with a distrustful and disengaged public, politicians have attempted to reassert the notion of a common French identity. But unable to define clearly the ideas and values that characterize the nation, they have done so primarily by creating hostility against symbols of ‘alienness’, the most visible of which is Islam.

The irony is that not only is France’s North African population predominantly secular, but even practising Muslims are relatively liberal in their views. According to the Ifop poll, 68 per cent of observant women never wear the hijab. Fewer than a third of practising Muslims would forbid their daughters from marrying a non-Muslim. Eighty-one per cent accept that women should have equal rights in divorce, 44 per cent have no problem with the issue of co-habitation, 38 per cent support the right to abortion, and 31 per cent approve of sex before marriage. Only on homosexuality is there a deeply conservative stance: 77 per cent of practising Muslims disapprove.

Yet, far from including North Africans as full citizens, French policy has tended to ignore the racism and discrimination they have faced, and institutionalized their marginalization. Many in France look upon its citizens of North African origins not as French but as ‘Arab’ or as ‘Muslim’. But the second generation within North African communities are often as estranged from their parents’ cultures and mores, and from mainstream Islam, as they are from wider French society.

Consider, for instance, the Kouachi brothers, responsible for the Charlie Hebdo slaughter. They were raised in Gennevilliers, a northern suburb of Paris. Cherif Kouachi, who appeared to mastermind the operation, only rarely attended mosque, and appeared not to be particularly religious, but was driven by a sense of social estrangement. He was, according to Mohammed Benali, president of the local mosque, of a ‘generation that felt excluded, discriminated against, and most of all, humiliated. They spoke and felt French, but were regarded as Arabic; they were culturally confused.’

According to Benali, Kouachi was most affronted by the imam’s insistence on the importance of political engagement. ‘When the imam told everyone to enrol on the register of electors so they could take part in elections, and play their part in society, he refused. He said he wasn’t a French citizen and wanted nothing to do with the democratic process. He then walked out of the mosque.’

Kouachi’s story is not that different to that of Mohammed Sidique Khan, the leader of the 7/7 bombings in London. They are of a milieu caught not between two cultures, as it is often claimed, but between no cultures. As a consequence, some of them have turned to Islamism, and a few have expressed their inchoate rage through jihadi-style violence.

There are aspects of both the multiculturalist and assimilationist approaches that are valuable. The multicultural acceptance of diversity and the assimilationist resolve to treat everyone as citizens, not as bearers of specific racial or cultural histories are both welcome. And there are aspects of both that are damaging – the multiculturalist tendency to place minorities into ethnic and cultural boxes, the assimilationist attempt to create a common identity by institutionalizing the differences of groups deemed not to belong.

An ideal policy would marry the beneficial aspects of the two approaches – celebrating diversity while treating everyone as citizens, rather than as simply belonging to particular communities. In practice, though, Britain and France have both institutionalized the more damaging features – Britain placing minorities into ethnic and cultural boxes, France attempting to create a common identity by treating those of North African origin as the Other. The consequence has been that in both Britain and France societies have become more fractured and tribal. And in both nations a space has been opened up for Islamism to grow.

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All the paintings are by Pierre Soulages.

22 comments

  1. CB

    Also thank you. I always appreciate your quiet, detailed and knowledgeable analyses. It gives much needed perspective and circumvents knee jerk reactions based solely on fear and self protectiveness.

  2. tudoreynon

    Thanks Kenan. Good reminder of important points. I hadn’t really appreciated how secular the French of North African descent were; worth noting.

  3. Katarina Eriksson

    Thank you for your important and deeply explored perspective!

    I wonder if you you could point me towards any source that develops this statement further:

    “An ideal policy would marry the beneficial aspects of the two approaches – celebrating diversity while treating everyone as citizens, rather than as simply belonging to particular communities.”

    With gratitude,

    Katarina Eriksson

  4. The psycho-pathologising of the use of indiscriminate violence by any particular militarised, violent grouping is, IMO, not useful in formulating an analysis and responses to their actions.

    The hierarchy of ‘evil’ argument used by the old Stalinst CPGB – the Nazi Party’s deliberate cultural attacks, e.g. the Coventry bombing, codenamed ‘Moonlight Sonata’ were adduced as evidence of a unique ‘Nazi / fascist’ belief in racially purifying violence – translated historically into the ‘Anti-Fascism’ of the WW2 alliance of Russia and the West. The deeper essential connection with Capitalism could be overlooked and not fought against. So, I am very wary of using a “uniquely violent nihilism’ categorisation.
    Secondly, the indiscriminate bombing of civilians has been and is now constantly used as an intended de-moralisation technique in violent conflicts – Syria, Gaza, Fallujah, need I go on? – and is hardly unique to ISIS/Daesh.
    Thirdly, the co-operation with Turkey in the commerce of the oil from IS-controlled fields is, I would argue, considerable evidence of their ability to follow a conventionally ‘rational’ policy towards their enemies when necessary.

    I cannot argue against the need not to politicise what appear to be nihilistic outbursts, since I can see the need not to give more meaning to these acts than they perhaps have. But I nevertheless strongly resist the total reduction of the situation to one of mere pathological reactions, since it is a dead end in understanding and forming policy to deal with them, outside of national / international imperialist ‘humanitarian intervention’, since ‘all of us’ can agree to rid ourselves of ‘evil’. In other words, class-based, revolutionary communist actions can be by-passed in these ‘unique circumstances’. Obviously I disagree, despite having only this abstract rejection of current policy. But I am not alone in that impasse.

    The one outcome which is surely to be rejected is some further resurgence of Popular Frontist nationalistic ‘defence of Western values’ re-action; not that that is what you are suggesting, I know. But popular media and state reaction at present is pushing stronly in that reactionary direction.

    • I agree with you that nihilistic savagery doesn’t cover it, and that the aim is to destroy morale, and enjoyment of western pastimes such as eating, dancing and drinking together – being westerners.

      Where I disagree with you is regarding your intimation that “defence of Western values” – not only of drinking and dancing and eating together in whatever clothes you feel like wearing, but of free expression, the right to criticise, lampoon, caricature etc, the right to whatever gender you want to assume, the right to sleep with another person of the same gender as yourself if you want to, and all the other things the ISIS caliphate frowns on with great ferocity – is somehow the province of ‘nationalists’ who are ‘reactionary’.

      It’s not just nationalists who enjoy a meal at a pavement cafe, some wine, a rock gig and a fumble in the dark later, but all sorts of people, including many first and second generation immigrants. They are the people who care not about their political differences when they share lighters to reignite the candles in the Place de la Republique blown out by the wind from the east.

    • Ngir, I am not psycho-pathologising anything. I am making a political argument about the nihilistic content of contemporary Islamist terror. True, there is nothing new in terror or in the indiscriminate bombing of civilians. But such terror always had a political or strategic aim. Most current jihadist terror does not, but is terror for it’s own sake. What was the aim of the Paris attacks? To further the creation of a Caliphate? To stop French bombing in Syria? You may wish to rationalize the attacks in that fashion, but that is searching to impose a political reason where there is none. They were rather the expression of inchoate rage. It is worth pointing out the more than 95 per cent of Islamist terror attacks take place in non-Western countries. And from Mumbai to Nairobi, they are about creating fear, not about furthering a political aim. The fact that IS makes an oil deal with Turkey is neither here nor there. Criminal gangs make all manner of ‘rational’ deals. That does not make their actions ‘political’. Nor can I see how one could respond rationally to such terrorism without knowing what it is.

  5. Fayyaz

    I think it is naive to think that terrorist attacks, undoubtedly savage and nihilistic, happen in a political vacuum and current Paris terrorist attack is no different. The political triggers, perceived rightly or wrongly by the perpetrators, may range from domestic policies of discrimination to foreign policy of sending troops to Muslim lands. Religious fever may be playing a role but politics is the incubator that turns grievances into nihilistic thinking.
    Muslims are in a bloody civil war among themselves about ideology of Islam not just extremism vs moderates but Shia vs Sunni. This is complicated by the masses’ desire to get rid of dictators and monarchs which are mostly supported by the West. ISIS was created out of military misadventure in Iraq. ISIS was part of this civil war that wanted to establish caliphate in the middle east. ISIS was occupied internally. USA and later France started bombing ISIS to preserve West’s economic and political interests. West entered in this civil war and change the nature of war from civil war to ISIS vs West. Russia jumped into this foray also to protect its client Syria. Unfortunately, right or wrong, moral or immoral, the Russian Airline, Beirut Bombing and now Paris carnage is payback by the ISIS. To think that foreign policy and politics has no role, is delusional.
    It is civil war within Islam, let the Muslims settle it among themselves and all foreign interventions should get out of the way. Foreign interventions has not worked in the Middle East in the past will not work this time either. Turkey, Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states has enough military muscles to take care of ISIS. If they are not willing to do it, then let them face the music.

    • I never said that there was no political context to contemporary terror. My point is that the context is not how it is commonly presented. Part of the political context in which contemporary terror attacks take place is the degeneration of anti-imperialism into inchoate, nihilistic rage. Western policies – from supporting dictators and autocrats to military interventions that have destroyed infrastructure and the structures of civil society – have certainly created the conditions that have allowed IS to grow. To accept this does not mean, however, that one also has to accept that attacks such as those in Paris are in any sense a response to Western imperialism. A political response to Western policies requires a bit more than spraying machine gun fire into a crowd of concert goers and shouting ‘This is for Syria’.

  6. I see things more clearly, I hope, because of these articles, and I appreciate it. Yet, there seems to be good reason to stop giving the terrorists the “respect” of accepting their assumption of statehood. Have you considered using Daesh in referring to them? Is that making too much out of too little?

      • Thanks for the reply, James. I’ve read that Vox piece. I’ve been using Daesh for a while now – since one of my students, a refugee himself, talked with me about his experiences. I was actually wondering about Kenan’s personal reasons for continuing to use IS. My writing seems never to be quite clear, though!🙂 Cheers!

    • Patrick, thank you. Yes, there is a widespread debate about naming IS/Daesh. My view is that there are far more important issues to tackle in challenging it. I’m not sure that any of my writing gives IS/Daesh ‘respect’, whatever name I call it. I generally tend to use the term that is widely recognized by a particular audience. If ‘Daesh’ becomes the more common way of referring to IS, I am quite happy to use it. But I don’t see it in itself as a political stance.

  7. Claire Bynner

    Understanding and organising social differences into ethnic and cultural boxes is problematic but inevitable in public policy. It could be that we have a cognitive inability to cope with the complexity of understanding people as they truly are. As a commentator it is very easy to criticise policy makers for putting people into boxes, but attempts to treat every individual as an equal on the basis of citizenship have been no less divisive and unproductive. Problems between people ‘living with difference’ occur whether or not policy makers categorise and put people into boxes. These problems have occurred throughout history.

    The question for me is: what is it about the current era we are living that creates this formm of violence and nihilism? I wonder if the jihadists might not be a product of failed policy but of a failed capitalism which creates overeducated graduates without a careers, heightened in their awareness of racism and disadvantage. This, combined with the deep anger and frustration that the promise of success was a false promise. Whether jihadists are overeducated or uneducated they, like many young people are unwanted and redundant in our economic system. They may see little way of achieving status and respect on their own terms. Guy Standing’s work on the Precariat talks about a new class of people from very different origins that share a condition of precarity: graduates , migrants and working class (dependent on welfare). And who to blame? How does one achieve status, glory and or infamy in this world? Could precarity explain this crisis? Could the rate of suicide in young men be linked to this Nihilism – Is there a connection?

    • This is a strong analysis. “Surplus populations” of “angry young men” who see Daesh as a route to glory (and women).

      As an off-topic speculation, I wonder when we will see SERIOUS unrest in China due to the same factors?

  8. damon

    If Britain and France haven’t been correct in their way of integrating Muslim communities fully, where has?
    Sweden or Germany? Germany certainly has it’s problems and seperateness. And I read things about Malmo in Sweden about Jews and Arabs, but you can never be sure how exaggerated those stories are. I have seen a youtube myself though, of a Malmo policeman saying that when they are called to an incident at one of the biggest housing estates there, they have to send two cars. One car is just to protect the other car when the officers get out to go and deal with the issue they were called to.
    Because if a police car is left unattended in an estate where all the immigrant kids live, it might be vandalised while the officers are away.
    So where is doing things better – Spain, Italy? Hardly, I would have thought.
    The Madrid train bombers were of the same demograpic. Dope smoking petty criminals and general pain in the arse young men who find salvation in Islamism. And I don’t really know what anyone can do about it. Just yesterday there was a photo in the Guardian of two riflle toting French policemen walking down a street and a group of immigrant origin looking guys were looking at the cops with quizzical looks on their faces. As if to say: ”Is it us you are patroling against? Are we the target of your scrutiny?”

    Which is a pretty understandable reaction I suppose, but nothing good can come out of this I think.
    The surly young Arab young men you can see in most French large towns are going to feel the finger is being pointed at them even more.

  9. De Te Fabula Narratur

    [didn’t appear after i tried to post on tuesday, so will try again in case it was a software problem]

    Sigh. Here I am again with more irrational rhetoric for you to shred:

    An ideal policy would marry the beneficial aspects of the two approaches – celebrating diversity while treating everyone as citizens, rather than as simply belonging to particular communities. In practice, though, Britain and France have both institutionalized the more damaging features – Britain placing minorities into ethnic and cultural boxes, France attempting to create a common identity by treating those of North African origin as the Other. The consequence has been that in both Britain and France societies have become more fractured and tribal. And in both nations a space has been opened up for Islamism to grow.

    The attacks in Paris are remarkably similar to the attacks in Mumbai in 2008. As an expert in these matters, can you explain how French and/or British government policy contributed to the “depraved, nihilistic savagery” in Mumbai? And can you point to anywhere in the world that has managed to find the “ideal policy” of which you speak?

    Mumbai’s in India, by the way. India is a Hindu-majority country in southern Asia that has had one or two problems with its Muslim minority. A bit like the Buddhist-majority countries of Burma/Myanmar and Thailand. Is a pattern emerging there? Only for irrational folk like me.

    Consider, for instance, the Kouachi brothers, responsible for the Charlie Hebdo slaughter.

    Give credit where it’s due: Muslims don’t just machine-gun cartoonists in France. They also machine-gun politicians in Pakistan and chop atheists up in Bangladesh. Can you explain how French and/or British government policy has harmed free speech so badly in Pakistan and Bangladesh? It’s not doing v. well in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan either. But only irrational folk will see any pattern there.

    For a start, refugees and migrants are often attempting to flee just the kind of carnage that came to the streets of Paris on Friday. And far from waving migrants across Europe’s borders, the EU has spent 25 years building a fortress against migration, protected by militarized border controls.

    Spot the Fortress:

    1. With the full encouragement of the EU’s most important leader, Europe accepts 100,000s of refugees fleeing the vicious civil wars currently raging in Turkey, Nigeria, Bangladesh, etc.
    2. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait et al accept no refugees (zero, zilch, none).
    3. Israel accepts no refugees (and puts up another high-tech fence to make doubly sure).

    Fortress Israel? Fortress Arabia? Nah. The only honest response is clear: Fortress Europe.

    Whatever may eventually turn out to be the identities of the Paris killers, until now the problem of terrorism in Europe has not been created by terrorists smuggling themselves onto refugee boats. It has, rather, mostly been the work of homegrown jihadis. The Kouachi brothers, for instance, responsible for the Charlie Hebdo killings in January were born and raised in Paris.

    Brilliant. We mustn’t object to the present wave of Muslim immigration because the Kouachi brothers and their confrères were the product of a previous wave of Muslim immigration. That’s very reassuring, isn’t it? And the Nigerians who beheaded Lee Rigby were the product of Christian immigration. They converted to the Religion of Free Speech in the UK. Proof again that immigration from broadly secular so-called “Muslim” nations is not the problem.

    Most are secular.

    “Secular” is also the mot juste for Saddam Hussein and the Assad family. Note too that most North Africans are of low intelligence and that a disproportionate number of them are violent criminals, fraudsters, etc.

    The second generation, again as in Britain, was far less willing than their parents had been to accept passively social discrimination and police brutality. They organized, largely through secular movements, and took to the streets, often in violent protest. In autumn 2005 riots swept through French banlieues and cities as youth and police fought pitched battles, much as they had in Britain two decades earlier.

    Were they also rioting about the horrible crimes described below? If not, why not?

    Samira Bellil (November 24, 1972 – September 4, 2004) was a French feminist activist and a campaigner for the rights of girls and women. Bellil became famous in France with the publication of her autobiographical book Dans l’enfer des tournantes (‘In the hell of the “tournantes” (gang-rapes)) in 2002. The book discusses the violence she and other young women endured in the predominantly Muslim immigrant outskirts of Paris, where she was repeatedly gang-raped as a teenager by gangs led by people she knew, and then abandoned by her family and friends. Her book is a portrayal of the predicament of young girls in the poor, outlying suburbs (banlieue) of French cities. Samira Bellil

    Yet, far from including North Africans as full citizens, French policy has tended to ignore the racism and discrimination they have faced, and institutionalized their marginalization.

    Yes, Honky is to blame. Racism forces them to commit gang-rape and prevents them doing as well as they do in North Africa. Think of all those Nobel prizes they’ve been prevented from winning because of Honky’s racism.

    Two puzzles, though: Why haven’t France’s racism and discrimination marginalized Jews and Vietnamese and forced them into poverty and crime? And why has France been so perverse as to allow millions of North Africans in and then “marginalize” them rather than exploiting their massive potential?

    The consequence has been that in both Britain and France societies have become more fractured and tribal

    Sweden too:

    On 19 May 2013, violent disturbances broke out in Husby, a suburb with a relatively high proportion of immigrants and second-generation immigrant residents, including a substantial number from Somalia, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Iraq, in northern Stockholm, Sweden. The riots were reportedly in response to the shooting to death by police of an elderly man, reportedly a Portuguese expatriate, armed with a puukko knife, after entering his apartment and then allegedly trying to cover up the man’s death. Swedish racism leads to riots

    Again, Honky is to blame. France, Britain, Sweden, Australia, India, Burma, Thailand — the problems are always caused by the kuffar majority, never by the Muslim minority. After all, look at how well Muslims behave in their own nations. The “secular” Saddam Hussein and “secular” Assad family, for example.

    • [didn’t appear after i tried to post on tuesday, so will try again in case it was a software problem]

      No idea why it did not appear first time. Apologies if it was a problem at my end.

      Sigh. Here I am again with more irrational rhetoric for you to shred:

      If you insist…

      The attacks in Paris are remarkably similar to the attacks in Mumbai in 2008. As an expert in these matters, can you explain how French and/or British government policy contributed to the “depraved, nihilistic savagery” in Mumbai?

      Indian social policy based on a pluralist or multicultural approach is deeply regressive in the same way as European multicultural policies, as I have pointed out in discussion not of terrorism but of free speech.

      Mumbai’s in India, by the way.

      Thanks for letting me know.

      India is a Hindu-majority country in southern Asia that has had one or two problems with its Muslim minority. A bit like the Buddhistmajority countries of Burma/Myanmar and Thailand. Is a pattern emerging there? Only for irrational folk like me.

      In Myanmar, the Rohingya Muslim minority are victims of pogroms orchestrated by Buddhist monks. Their villages have been burnt, they have been butchered in their thousands. The government denies them basic rights and thousands have been herded into detention camps. In India, too, as in Gujarat, Muslims have been victims of pogroms and violence. If you are blaming the victims for the violence done to them, you are not simply irrational, you are also immoral. Yes, there is a pattern emerging here. You seem so blinded by your hatred of Islam that you cannot see even vicious pogroms for what they are.

      1. With the full encouragement of the EU’s most important leader, Europe accepts 100,000s of refugees fleeing the vicious civil wars currently raging in Turkey, Nigeria, Bangladesh, etc.

      It might help your case if you could get even your basic facts right. Far from ‘Europe accepting 100,000s of refugees fleeing the vicious civil wars currently raging in Turkey…’, Turkey (with a population less than that of Germany) is currently host to 2 million refugees. And the EU ‘s new deal with Turkey aims to ensure that none of them enter the EU. (There is incidentally, just to get the facts a bit more straight, no civil war in Bangladesh either.)

      2. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait et al accept no refugees (zero, zilch, none).

      Unlike you, I don’t set my moral compass by what Saudi Arabia is doing.

      Brilliant. We mustn’t object to the present wave of Muslim immigration because the Kouachi brothers and their confrères were the product of a previous wave of Muslim immigration. That’s very reassuring, isn’t it? And the Nigerians who beheaded Lee Rigby were the product of Christian immigration. They converted to the Religion of Free Speech in the UK. Proof again that immigration from broadly secular so-called “Muslim” nations is not the problem.

      So, the actions of a small group of terrorists who are largely detached from mainstream Muslim communities and institutions is reason to stop all Muslims coming to Europe? Yes, very rational. And the fact that descendants of non-Muslim migrants commit acts of terror is reason to stop all Muslims coming to Europe? Even more rational.

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