Alpine Summit

Friday, November 04, 2005

Islam is Peaceful... No, Seriously!

I've been meaning to comment on the riots in Paris for a while now but haven't gotten around to it. Frankly, I find it to be on par with how I think Muslims (and the French) are supposed to behave. That is, I see the Koran saying to wage war and violence cutting this-and-that off of the infidels before (or while) killing them. It seems they're actually living up to their vile "holy" book. Glenn Reynolds has a great roundup of things.

One thing I'm happy about is that the collective smirk is now wiped from the face of the French that they have had on their faces when it came to the United States' shortcomings. Such an example are the '92 riots in Los Angeles where President Mitterand blamed the "conservative society" created by Reagan and Bush.

Back in the 1990s, the French sneered at America for the Los Angeles riots. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported in 1992: "the consensus of French pundits is that something on the scale of the Los Angeles riots could not happen here, mainly because France is a more humane, less racist place with a much stronger commitment to social welfare programs." President Mitterrand, the Washington Post reported in 1992, blamed the riots on the "conservative society" that Presidents Reagan and Bush had created and said France is different because it "is the country where the level of social protection is the highest in the world."

Nevermind that LA is probably one of the most left-leaning cities in the country and could probably be considered on par with European cities in terms of political leanings and social programs.

So why are there riots in the streets of (gay) Paris? Because "three Muslim youths ran from the cops, hid in a power substation, touched something they weren’t supposed to touch and died." (Great summary, Jim!). Now the Muslims blame the cops for their deaths. This seems like a pretty stupid reason to start rioting (at least to non-Muslims), so what other reasons might there be? Oh, the nanny-state socialist utopia with 10% unemployment and the consideration of radical Islam as an acceptable religion! Forgot about those.

The lack of labor market flexibility and other socialist policies have created unemployment at nearly 10%, most of which falls among immigrants. And part stems from the fact that France's estimated 5 million Muslims, out of a population of 60 million, are led by mostly foreign radical imams. Only belatedly has the French state started taking action, pressing for clerics to be taught in France. All this is compounded by the image France projects of itself to its Muslims, which one can surmise is the reason why Muslims see rioting as the solution to any grievance.

Then there's the idea that as long as they're willing to be more violent than France, they can get whatever they want--and they would be right. Chirac as been performing as one would expect the French leadership to perform when it comes to controversey: he rolls over and surrenders.

It's a barely kept secret that Mr. Chirac led the opposition to the Iraq war out of fear of how his Muslim population would react. This fear is a big part of why France portrays itself as America's counterweight and why it criticizes Israel at every turn and coddled the terrorist Yasser Arafat right up to his death. This doesn't elicit thanks from Muslim radicals in France. It turns out to project an image of weakness. Unsurprisingly when faced with some unhappiness they believe they can pressure the French state into submission.

Random thought: if America really is the horrible bastion of unspeakable violence and irrational behavior, why aren't the French afraid to criticize us? But I digress. I find it interesting that submitting to the Muslims is a sign of weakness only emboldening them to try and get away with more stuff. Is anyone surprised? I'm not.

A number of observers of the French scene have looked at population trends and suggested that France is on its way to becoming a Muslim country (one that would, let it be noted, be armed with hydrogen bombs). Some react to this by suggesting a halt to immigration and even expulsion. The better approach is to impose law and order, more speedily to reform the burdensome welfare state, and start integrating the Muslim community. France could also help itself by dispatching troops to help battle the radical Islamists in Iraq, thereby sending a message to Muslims at home and abroad that France is on the side of those Muslims, the majority no doubt, who want to live in peace.

I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you. It would be nice to see France grow a backbone, but they haven't had one of those since Napoleon. Case in point:

The police respond by firing tear-gas grenades and, on occasions, blank shots in the air. Sometimes the youths fire back — with real bullets.

Now when France can no longer placate their Muslims and are forced to resort to physical enforcement, they respond with BLANKS! Once rioters start shooting at cops, the cops are justified in responding in kind. France is such a joke at this point, I can't see how anyone could consider them any kind of major force to be reconed.

More on this here, here, here, here, and here.

One final thought: France is often held up as a great example of how America should be. Considering the dismal economy of France and the level of radical Islam, do you suppose those people are still singing the same tune? My guess is yes.