Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Solidarity with Murad and Munir

Dror Mishani has an excellent op-ed in Ha'aretz today discussing the way the riots in France have been spun by those trying to advance an anti-Muslim and anti-Arab agenda. (He writes specifically about this phenomenon in Israel, but it is certainly not limited to Israel.) In its closing he writes:
This is a fateful time of trial for this left and for the values it represents. As opposed to the riots of May 1968, this time the struggle is not being led by students of philosophy and literature, and it is not taking place at the attractive square of the Sorbonne. This time those taking to the streets are young men named Murad and Munir, and the struggle is taking place in the gloomy suburbs around Paris, Marseilles and Rouen. And if the old French left will know how to reject the great hatred and fear of Muslims and Islam (the United States, of course, rushed to warn its citizens not to go to the "battle areas"), will recognize the fact that this struggle is not about Muslim occupation of Europe, but about economic and social equal rights, and will once again demonstrate its famous solidarity, these riots could be the beginning of new hope for all the leftist movements - hope for a truly multicultural Europe. If not, not only France, but the entire world, will remain only with the realm of values represented by U.S. President George W. Bush, and with our big talkers, who know that "that's what happens when there are too many Muslims."

Monday, November 07, 2005


Newsweek coverage of French Riots

Angry Arab provides a link to a Newsweek story on the Paris riots asking "will the riots swell the ranks of jihadists in Europe?" Christopher Dickey, the author of the piece and Newsweek's Paris bureau chief, writes:
The first and most obvious casualty was the reputation of French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.
Hmmm... it would seem to me that the first and most obvious casualties were the two boys who were electrocuted. And perhaps then the poor suburb dwellers who have lost businesses or property in the riots. You know, like, actual casualties. Not some asshole's reputation.


French Riots and Islam

It's interesting to see the attempts to tie the riots in France to Islam, as the Washington Times did with it's Friday lead headline "Muslim Youths Battle Paris Police." Similarly, I was listening to NPR yesterday and they were bringing on Fuad Ajami to talk about the French unrest. Ask yourselves why one would want the opinion of Fuad Ajami (whose scholarship is on Lebanon, especially the Shia of Lebanon, and who on his website lists the following as areas of expertise: Middle East; Persian Gulf; Iran; Iraq; OPEC; international relations; Islamic religion, culture and law) on what is going on IN FRANCE!!! Would it not be useful to have somebody who knows very well the situation in France, who is knowledgable on the social and economic conditions of the Parisian suburbs, of the tensions between the residents of the housing projects and the police, between these residents and the government, the issues specific to immigrant communities in France. And yet, because many of the immigrants living in the housing projects happen to be Muslim, NPR can ask anybody who bills themselves as a "Middle East" expert, and he or she can make some generalizations, and it is reinforced that there is some fundamental character of Islamic culture that leads to violence, and so on.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports:
The country's biggest Muslim fundamentalist organisation, the Union for Islamic Organisations of France, issued a fatwa forbidding those "who seek divine grace from taking part in any action that blindly strikes private or public property or can harm others".
And yet the rioting continues? But I thought all we had to do was ask Muslim organizations to condemn something and that would be that (or so I gathered from reading Tom Friedman's drivel). Perhaps this isn't about Islam after all. Perhaps it has something to do with the inequitable treatment of immigrants in France (and Europe more generally).
"These are young people who are generally resigned, they face discrimination everywhere, for housing and work, and their malaise gets expressed in violence," said Ahmed Touabi, principal of an elementary school in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil. The troublemakers "feel rejected by France, and they want to spit on France."
Hmmm... I wonder how being called "scum" by a major political figure would lead one to feel rejected? One scary thing is that this isn't limited to France, and indeed there were incidents in Brussels and Berlin over the weekend.



While 12-year-old Ahmed al-Khatib's parents were forced to make the decision to donate his organs so that others might live, the IDF was busy circulating photos to show how realistic his toy rifle was.

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