Friday, November 1, 2019

Muslims in France

It’s one of the most important stories playing out in Western Europe. Can Muslims be assimilated en masse into Western culture? Or will Muslims force the culture to accommodate their own habits?

In simpler terms, can a Western culture maintain its respect for free expression and still accommodate those who believe that anyone who insults or blasphemes the prophet of Islam should be put to death? How much of the erosion of civil liberties in the West derives from Islamist refusal to assimilate? And how many of those on the woke left are simply applying the Islamist playbook to speech it deems to be hateful, that is, blasphemous?

We know that the government of China has adopted a radically different approach to Muslim assimilation. It has been running re-education camps to force assimilation. Apparently, these involve torture, though it is not clear that the facts are all in. 

China’s authoritarian government has shut down Ramadan and has forced Muslim shopkeepers to stock and to sell alcohol. Clearly, tolerance is not a Chinese value.  The Chinese refuse to coddle those who threaten social cohesion. Many have noted that the world’s Muslim leaders have said not a word about the Chinese method. This might mean that they have been bought off. It might also mean that they understand the need for Muslims to adopt more modern cultural habits.

We have occasionally remarked on what happens when countries allow too many unassimilable Muslim migrants into their midst. The cases of Germany and Sweden stand out. Today, we report on an interesting article from the New York Times, on the pace of assimilation in France. We note that France has many more Muslims than these other Western European countries and has been at the effort to help them to assimilate for far longer. We also note that No Go zones, the kind that are popping up in Sweden, have been a staple of the Parisian suburbs for decades now.

The Times article, written by Adam Nossiter, uses the death of ISIS leader al-Baghdadi to assess the effect that Islamist terrorism has had on France. How, in Nossiter words, it has traumatized the nation, produced a backlash against Muslims and has produced a greater tolerance for police force. But, he continues to say that Islam has altered the fabric of everyday life in France:

The reason is simple: the Islamic State’s crimes, and the fear they instilled in the national psyche, are so ingrained in France that the daily fabric of life has been inexorably altered.

As if proof were needed, within the last month, a former far-right candidate shot two Muslims who stopped him from burning down a mosque. A Muslim mother was reprimanded by an official for wearing a head scarf. And President Emmanuel Macron called for a “society of vigilance” after a Muslim employee at Police Headquarters in Paris killed four officers in a knife attack.

These recent symptoms of what some call an ongoing trauma for France demonstrate why Mr. al-Baghdadi’s death was ‘‘no more than a step,” as Mr. Macron put it Sunday in a muted reaction to the news.

They might have done to offer a few lusty cheers about the death of their nemesis. After all, the muted reaction suggests a people that has been weakened and defeated, that has lost the war.

The demise of the terrorist leader did nothing to heal the wound that the Islamic State opened in French society with the terrorist attacks of 2015 and 2016. Every day, in the persistent mutual fear and suspicion that exists between France and its large, imperfectly integrated Muslim minority, the wound festers.

Imperfectly integrated… a nice phrase. The truth is, among those who suffer from Islamist terrorism are other Muslims. Terrorism makes integration more difficult because it destroys bonds of trust. You can say that people are bigoted, that they engage in invidious stereotyping, but you can also say that they are protecting themselves by distancing themselves from their Muslim neighbors.

Of course, this is a primary reason for committing terrorist actions. Muslim fanatics do not want their co-religionists to integrate into Western societies. They want Western societies to submit to Islam.

Public opinion in France has turned against Islam:

In a survey published Sunday by IFOP, a respected polling firm, in the Journal du Dimanche, 61 percent of respondents said that Islam was “incompatible with the values of French society,” an increase of 8 percent over February. Nearly 80 percent said they felt that the vaunted French creed of secularism was “in danger,” largely because of Islam.

The wound existed well before the Islamic State attacks of November 2015 at the Bataclan and elsewhere in Paris. But the massacres perpetrated by al-Baghdadi’s foot soldiers — roughly 1,700 French citizens joined the Islamic State, of whom perhaps 700 were fighters — exacerbated the split between France and its Muslims.

The massacres also amplified the scope of judicial and police control over French society, and created a far more receptive climate for tough police repression. That was evident in this year’s gloves-off handling of the Yellow Vest protesters, which was largely accepted by the French despite thousands of wounded.

This suggests that French Muslims should be leading the charge against radical Islam. It also suggests that they should make every effort to assimilate. That means, they should conform to the local cultural mores and norms.

Surely, the knee jerk effort to paint everyone as Islamophobic is a way to trick Western cultures into accomodating Islam and not vice versa.

Nossiter continues:

But the attacks only exacerbated an already troubled relationship between France and its Muslim population, nearly all agree.

“The attacks heightened this climate of fear regarding Islam,” said Tareq Oubrou, an imam in Bordeaux who is a leading proponent of a reformist strain of Islam. “The ordinary citizen makes no distinction between terrorism, Islamism and sectarianism,” he said.

The French have reacted by using more police force under a law declaring a state of emergency:

The government they both served quickly imposed a state of emergency.

It survives in part to this day, codified permanently in French law by Mr. Macron — the very measures deplored by civil libertarian jurists like Mr. Sureau.

The most notable of these measures allow for expanded and renewable house arrests of persons under suspicion, searches without judicial warrant, and the imposition of electronic bracelets. Mr. Sureau, in his pamphlet, wrote that “the state of emergency was 6,000 searches for 40 arrests, of which 20 were for excusing terrorism.”

But there was little sustained opposition to the new measures, either when they were first imposed or later enacted into law.

Mr. Laïdi observed that “the immense majority of French don’t feel that their civil liberties are threatened” — and the evidence for that is the stillborn debate over the harshness of police tactics in response to the violent Yellow Vest demonstrations. Scattered protests led to nothing.


370H55V said...

"Many have noted that the world’s Muslim leaders have said not a word about the Chinese method. This might mean that they have been bought off. It might also mean that they understand the need for Muslims to adopt more modern cultural habits."

Both explanations wrong. Correct answer is fear: the Chinese have no problem with exterminating large numbers of Muslims who get out of line should the situation require it, and especially are indifferent to world opinion on the matter, should the rest of the world be brave enough to object.

If the West, and especially Europe, had adopted the Chinese model years ago (and not let them in to begin with), we wouldn't be in the mess we are today. I prefer that they, and not we, live in fear.

UbuMaccabee said...

370H55V is correct. As a British diplomat once expressed it, "they are either at your feet or at your neck."

UbuMaccabee said...

Well, these are certainly persuasive:

And that suggests that this is accurate:

and is only phase one.

When your political regime murders 70+ million in the past 70 years, people listen.

Anonymous said...

Sexy title.

UbuMaccabee said...

How about a sexy title for how modern China works: “One by One: Enemies Disappear and No One Notices.” Or “Bodies The Exhibition of Uighur Troublemakers”.

Anonymous said...

What is Western Culture and Values nowadays?

Girls raised to emulate Miley Cyrus, twerking, porn, rap music, etc.

Why should anyone assimilate to that trash?

Anonymous said...

^^^^^ That is modern pop culture, yeah, but "culture" is much more than that. I'm in a rural area and have no adolescents, though my husband still teaches middle school. All the stuff mentioned above does not even enter my life, and there are millions of us....not in any way involved with Miley, twerking, porn, or thugs....

That guy in France claiming to be moderate...reminds me of Levin and his pushing of "Zudi Zhassar" or some such....just cannot be,with Mo's bio. If you're in the West, no reason to keep on with that, with is really a totalitarian political ideology.

P.S. Haven't been here for awhile. Had forgotten how much I enjoy your site and your point-of-view.