November 5, 2005

Quotes of the Day: Mark Steyn on the Euro-Muslim Riots

Steyn was his usual frank self in an eye-opening Hugh Hewitt radio interview on Thursday.

First, on what the Muslim outskirt communities are like, their normal degree of safety, and the true nature of what is happening in France and Europe:

I went to one of these suburbs that’s currently ablaze three years ago. And what was interesting to me is I had to bribe a taxi driver a considerable amount of money just to take me out there. They’re miserable places. But what was interesting to me is that after that, I then flew on to the Middle East, and I was in Yemen, and a couple of other places. And what was interesting to me was that I found more menace in the suburbs of Paris than I did in some pretty scary places in the Middle East. I mean, there is a real…this, I think, is the start of a long Eurabian civil war we’re witnessing here.

….. They’re places where people who are not Muslim feel very ill at ease. They’re places where the writ of the French state does not run. The police don’t police there. They basically figure if you go there, you’re on your own. You’re taking your own chances there. I mean, I don’t think Americans understand quite the degree of alienation of some of these groups.

Second, on the “culture” of these communities:

….. essentially, you’re dealing with communities that are totally isolated from the mainstream of French life. Where all kinds of practices that wouldn’t be tolerated, that are not officially tolerated by French law, such as polygamy, for example. Polygamy is openly practiced in these…in les Banlieux, as they call these suburbs, these Muslim quarters of Paris. I mean, we’re talking about five miles from the Elysee Palace. Five miles from where Jacques Chirac sits. And you finally got…you know, we kept hearing all this stuff ever since September 11th, you know, the Muslim street is going to explode in anger. Well, it finally did, and it was in Paris, not in the Middle East.

Third, on the poor Mainstream Media coverage of the rioting:

I think this is now basically becoming a willful effort at misleading. It’s not just the United States. Other countries, too, are reporting this as their youths, or their French youth. And it isn’t until you get thirteen paragraphs into the story, and they’re quoting one of these youths, and you realize he’s called Mohammed, that it occurs to you that there might be an ethno-cultural religious component to this situation. And this is absolutely grotesque, because the one…I’m sometimes accused of being terribly pessimistic when I speak in North America. And I always tell Americans and Canadians, that the one great advantage people have, you know, everything may…there may be a lot of bad news in the world, but the one advantage North Americans have, is that Europe is ahead of you in the line. And you have to learn what’s happening. You have to confront honestly what’s happening with these disaffected Muslim populations in Europe.

I obviously wish that the riots weren’t happening, but have to confess relief that we won’t be hearing too much of the “we in America ought to be more like the Europeans” horse manure for a while.
________________

UPDATE: From Steyn’s must-read Nov. 6 Chicago Sun-Times column:

For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America’s Europhiles, France’s Arab street correctly identified Chirac’s opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.

….. What to do? In Paris, while ”youths” fired on the gendarmerie, burned down a gym and disrupted commuter trains, the French Cabinet split in two, as the ”minister for social cohesion” (a Cabinet position I hope America never requires) and other colleagues distance themselves from the interior minister, the tough-talking Nicolas Sarkozy who dismissed the rioters as ”scum.” President Chirac seems to have come down on the side of those who feel the scum’s grievances need to be addressed. He called for ”a spirit of dialogue and respect.” As is the way with the political class, they seem to see the riots as an excellent opportunity to scuttle Sarkozy’s presidential ambitions rather than as a call to save the Republic.

________________

Nov. 5: Wizbang Weekend Carnival participant.

Share

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.