Has an Intifada Begun in France?

Has a jihad begun in France? Are the French facing what is by now, as the riots are well into their third week and have engulfed virtually the entire country, a full-scale insurrection from immigrant youth who simply resent being marginalized and shunted to the fringes of French society? Or does the unrest have something to do with the agenda of jihadists worldwide?

Osama bin Laden and others all over the world want to unify the Islamic world under a restored caliphate, reestablish the rule of Islamic law, and extend the hegemony of that law, Sharia, to the rest of the world also. Does that play any role in the French riots?

Mainstream media reports have centered on the rioters’ economic and cultural marginalization. An 18-year-old named Ahmed complains: “You wear these clothes, with this color skin and you’re automatically a target for police.”

Yet the horror stories detailing this mistreatment that are now filling the news do not entirely ring true. Although France is famously unkind to foreigners, and the Muslims there do indeed face discrimination, France has not entirely neglected its sizable Muslim minority.

French officials have even discussed revising France’s secular laws to allow the government to fund mosques in France, in order to wean them away from “extremist” foreign influences. Nevertheless:

• It has long been established that there is a significant jihadist presence among French Muslims. Recently six Muslims in Paris were arrested for recruiting for the jihad in Iraq.

• The rioters have been shouting the jihad battle cry, “Allahu akbar.” As Muhammad Atta wrote in his final exhortation to himself, “Shout, ‘Allahu Akbar,’ because this strikes fear in the hearts of the non-believers.” While the mainstream media continues to identify the rioters as “French-born youths of Arab or African origin, many of them Muslim,” in fact the Islamic identity of the rioters is quite clear: rioters have avoided Muslim-owned businesses, preferring obviously non-Muslim targets.

• The rioters have thrown Molotov cocktails at two French synagogues, making it likely that they subscribe to the deeply rooted hatred of Jews that so many jihadists share. They have also set two churches on fire, further reinforcing the impression that they view their struggle as fundamentally religious, and consider the terrorizing of Jews and Christians to be part of their religious responsibility, in accord with Qur’an 9:29, which directs Muslims to wage war even against “the People of the Book”: the Qur’an’s term for — primarily — Jews and Christians.

• Mouloud Dahmani is a Muslim leader in France who is trying to prevail upon the French to allow for a group of Muslim Brotherhood sheikhs to negotiate an end to the riots. The Muslim Brotherhood, of course, is the first modern Islamic jihad organization and the direct forefather of Hamas and Al-Qaeda. Dahmani has declared: “All we demand is to be left alone.” This is a strange statement coming from the leader of a community that resents being marginalized and longs to enter the mainstream of French society. Journalist Amir Taheri says that the Muslims in France are not actually interested in assimilation at all; rather, they want autonomy. He reports that in some places, Muslim leaders control the area and French officials, including police, simply do not enter.

Postings on Muslim weblogs indicate that the riots are not spontaneous outpourings of rage, but carefully planned endeavors. Some revealed not only the planning involved in the riots, which have now swept all across France and have spread also to Denmark, Belgium and Germany, but also the Islamic supremacist goal behind them. One wrote: “The cops are petrified of us, everything must burn, starting Monday, the operation ‘Midnight Sun’ starts, tell everyone else, rendezvous for Momo and Abdul in Zone 4 … jihad Islamia Allah Akhbar.” Another added: “You don’t really think that we’re going to stop now? Are you stupid? It will continue, non-stop. We aren’t going to let up. The French won’t do anything and soon, we will be in the majority here.”

For him and his fellows, at least, the jihad in France has now begun.