Is Islam to Blame for French Muslim Riots?
Stephen Schwartz has an interesting piece at TCS arguing that, while those rioting and killing people in France are Muslims, the root cause of the problem is not Islam but European racism:
Notwithstanding the hue and cry that will be raised against Muslims in France, in the aftermath of this nightmare, the truth about French bigotry remains. A French politician declared that Turkey should not enter Europe because the latter is a “Christian” continent. Yet France hates the infamous “Polish plumbers,” who supposedly are enabled to “steal jobs” from French workers, as much as it dislikes Arabs and other Muslims — even though the Polish immigrant’s family doubtless attends Catholic mass more than the average French family, which has been indoctrinated in compulsory secularism over several generations. France glorifies “its” anti-Nazi resistance, which until D-Day in 1944 was made up almost entirely of stateless Jews, Spanish Republican refugees, Armenians, and even some North African Arab revolutionaries — all typically considered “un-French.” That was another dirty little secret I learned about the French, so long ago in Paris. I already knew that the majority of French citizens had cooperated in handing over their Jewish and other “undesirable” neighbors to the Nazis.
More recently, France denounced the U.S.-led liberation of Iraq, let us not forget, so that the pretext for the Madrid 3/11 and London 7/7 terrorist atrocities was absent when the “red belt” began to blaze. Demagogic voices seeking to lay blame for the French rioting on the religion of Muhammad will have to ignore that only two weeks before, bloody disorders erupted in the British city of Birmingham. There, in another European ghetto community, called Lozells, Caribbean Blacks fought with Pakistanis. But some will, of course, find a reason to blame that on Islam, as well. The Caribbeans claimed one of their young women had been gang-raped by Muslims, and similar charges are common currency among French Islamophobes. Rumormongers and pundits opine, and anonymous, poor people die.
European Muslim relations with non-Muslim authorities and neighbors are made more difficult by the penetration of Islamic communities by extremist ideology from North Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and the Arab Gulf states. Numerous studies and commentaries on these problems are based on the presumption that the “immigrant Islam” of the first and second generations will become the dominant form of European Islam, and remain so for a considerable time, until a process of assimilation has succeeded. Because Islam cannot become European without a Europe-based Muslim leadership, a second presumption holds that Western European governments must directly intervene in the collective lives of the believer s to enable, foster, and support a moderate leadership stratum. Controversy over civil liberties, cultural values, and the gap in Western knowledge about Islam will profoundly complicate this process.
The French and British have deliberately ignored many opportunities to rationally deal with the issues posed by Euro-Islam. If they had perceived, as some of us did, that a prosperous Bosnia could be a center for moderate Islam in Europe, and would help defuse the social appeal of radical Islam, they might have built up Bosnia. They did not. They contributed to the destruction of Bosnia and then forced the handover of Bosnia and Kosovo to the UN, which has allowed the Balkan Muslim lands to degenerate into economic slums on international welfare. Luckily for “Christian Europe” (a term grossly insulting to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, as well as the Balkan wars), the Bosnians in particular have proven more stoic than the new generation of Arab and Black African youths of the Parisian suburbs.
To the extent that Schwartz is arguing that 1) most Islamic people in Europe are peaceful, 2) some European violence is committed by non-Muslims, and 3) there are legitimate social concerns among European Muslims that are not being dealt with as effectively as they could, he’s right. I would argue, though, that the large contingent of Wahhabist Islamists in Europe and, to a lesser extent the United States, is a huge problem that should not be swept under the rug in the name of “tolerance” and political correctness.