Why have the French riots happened? From many accounts one would think that the riots have been caused by France’s failure to implement Marxism. “The unrest,” AP explained, has highlighted the division between France’s big cities and their poor suburbs, with frustration simmering in the housing projects in areas marked by high unemployment, crime and poverty.” Others have blamed France’s failure to integrate Muslims into French society.
However, this has been a policy on which both Muslims and non-Muslims in France have agreed. In her seminal Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis, historian Bat Ye’or details a series of agreements between the European Union and the Arab League that guaranteed that Muslim immigrants in Europe would not be compelled in any way to adapt “to the customs of the host countries.” On the contrary, the Euro-Arab Dialogue’s Hamburg Symposium of 1983 recommended that non-Muslim Europeans be made “more aware of the cultural background of migrants, by promoting cultural activities of the immigrant communities or ‘supplying adequate information on the culture of the migrant communities in the school curricula.’”
The European Union has implemented such recommendations for decades. Among a generation of Muslims born in Europe, significant numbers have nothing but contempt and disdain for their native lands, and allegiance only to the Muslim umma and the lands of their parents’ birth. Those who continue to arrive in Europe from Muslim countries are encouraged by the isolation, self-imposed and other-abetted, of the Islamic communities in Europe to hold to the same attitudes. The Arab European League, a Muslim advocacy group operating in Belgium and the Netherlands, states flatly: “We do not want to assimilate.” The group’s founder, Dyab Abou Jahjah, has declared: “Assimilation is cultural rape. It means renouncing your identity, becoming like the others.” He complained that, in Europe, “I could still eat certain dishes from the Middle East, but I cannot have certain thoughts that are based on ideologies and ideas from the Middle East.”
What kind of ideologies? Perhaps Hani Ramadan, grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan Al-Banna and brother of the self-proclaimed moderate Muslim spokesman Tariq Ramadan, gave a hint when he defended in the Paris journal Le Monde the traditional Islamic Sharia punishment of stoning for adultery. In Denmark, politician Fatima Shah echoed the same sentiments in November 2004. That same month, filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, who had made a film, Submission, about the oppression of women by Islamic law, was murdered in Holland by a Muslim, Mohammed Bouyeri. Bouyeri later declared in court: “I did what I did purely out my beliefs. I want you to know that I acted out of conviction and not that I took his life because he was Dutch or because I was Moroccan and felt insulted.” In other words, his problem was religious, not racial: Van Gogh had blasphemed Islam, and so, according to Islamic law, he had to die. Significantly, Bouyeri maintained during his trial that he did not recognize the authority of the Dutch court, but only of the law of Islam.
How many European Muslims share the sentiments of Mohammed Bouyeri? How many of these are rioting this week in Paris? Alleviating Muslim unemployment and poverty will not ultimately do anything to alter this rejection of European values by growing numbers of people who are only geographically Europeans. And the problem cannot be ignored, For France is not alone: Muslims in Århus, Denmark, have also been rioting this week. And in France, Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy recently revealed that this week’s riots are just a particularly virulent flare-up of an ongoing pattern of violence: Before the massive expansion of the rioting, He told Le Monde that 20 to 40 cars were being set afire nightly in Paris’ restive Muslim suburbs, and no fewer than nine thousand police cars have been stoned since the beginning of 2005.
Yet French officials show no sign of recognizing that this clash of values is the heart of the problem. That guarantees that before they will be able to say that their difficulties with their Muslim population are over, many more cars will be torched, many more buildings burned, and many more lives destroyed.