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Out of Many
Does France’s “Muslim Community” Exist?
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  • TheCynical1

    Not sure this post can be easily reconciled with another post from a few months ago:

    Does this blog want to observe editorial consistency, or display multiple viewpoints.

    • Kevin

      I’d like to see many points of view. Olivier Roy is a well respected French scholar who has spent decades studying Islamic political movements and violence – it’s worth listening to what he has to say. Not that I necessarily think he’s right, but I am certainly open to the idea that I can learn something from him.

  • Lyle7

    Islamists run a number of countries in the world and Islamists only arise out of one community, the greater Muslim community. It goes without saying that the vast majority of Muslims, including Islamists, get up each morning and hope to just get through the day, like any other human being. That said, the idea that violent Islamists or Muslim communities are “mischaracterized” doesn’t sound right.

    It’s like saying that white Southerners in the Jim Crow era were wrong to be characterized as white supremacists. George Wallace, a white supremacist himself, spoke out against the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. That says something about the man, but he was still a white supremacist.

    I actually know “moderate” Muslims who have expressed the idea that Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists and writers kind of brought their deaths on themselves, because it is wrong to offend Muslims with drawings of their prophet.

  • DiaKrieg

    Almost evey point M. Roy makes is false. The Charlie Hebdo terrorists were in their 30s — rather old to be rebelling against parental authority. Other signs of a cohesive intergenerational Muslim community in France: the famous no-go zones, bans on street prayer, bans on veils in school, the persistance of honor killings and forced marriages. As for no interest in Palestine among French Muslim youth — what about last summer’s violent protests during the Gaza war, including a seige at two Paris synagogues? No network of denominational schools? Maybe because there are public schools in Muslim-dominated communities just as homogenous. Few mosques? According to Wikipedia, there are 90 mosques in France (20 of them in Paris), and another 100-150 planned.

    • Andrew Allison

      Agreed. The widespread attempts to absolve Muslims of their responsibility to condemn the acts of the violent fringe are sickening. The jihadists act in the name of Islam, and Islam has an obligation to act.

  • FriendlyGoat

    If the older Muslims cannot explain to the younger ones what Islam is “supposed to be”, it’s because the older ones don’t know—–themselves—-what it is that they have been following. The more people, old and young in Europe (and anywhere else), who call the whole thing into question and visibly quit altogether, the better.

  • Curious Mayhem

    Olivier Roy is a respected scholar of “political Islam” and not to be dismissed lightly. He may be wrong, but what he says matches what I’ve seen on my visits to France and discussions with French people (including French Jews).

    Muslims today in their 30s would have been in their teens in the 90s, exactly when the rise of radical movements in the Islamic world started to resonate in the post-nation-state, post-religious Europe of the EU, where national identity and sovereignty are treated as obsolete. When Roy writes of older generations, he means those who came of age before the 90s, when the assimilationist concept and policy were still strong in France. What we’re seeing is the long-term and delayed effect in Europe of well-organized, well-funded Islamic movements of the Middle East and North Africa, which started to make their mark in the late 70s and 80s in the Middle East, before their impact started in Europe.

    And I first noticed reference to these Euro-Muslim fanatics in popular culture in the late 90s, exactly the time mentioned above — for example, Hanif Kureishi’s film My Son the Fanatic, and Zadie Smith’s novel White Teeth. Mark Steyn has written about this as well, contrasting the Muslim immigrants to Europe of the 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, with the alienated, anti-assimilating younger generation that is a perfect “mark” for recruitment by radicals. Steyn blames the European mishmash of PC atttitudes, white guilt, and euthanized national identities for leaving a political and moral void. It’s difficult to argue with his point.

    As for numbers, there were anti-Israel protests last summer in France (and in 2006, during the Hizbollah rocket war). But the number of people committing violence was tiny, something that didn’t register in the media at all.

    • Tory Quinton

      For the record, the actual level of violence against Jews in Germany was tiny until a certain night of broken glass, when the whole world changed.In fact the actual level of street level violence against German Jews was small. I say this to remind you that you can not look only at isolated cases, instead you need to look at patterns and the pattern is clear, Jews in Europe, but especially France are facing something that should evoke memories of the pre WW2, Weimar Germany years. That is why so many are immigrating to the US and Israel away from Europe.

      The problem with “scholars”” like Roy is what an be termed the ivory tower conceit. It takes intellect and removes it from the real world so you look only at what you already believe or what already fits your established narrative. There is a reason intellectuals are always the first to be purged. Not because they pose a threat, but because they pose the easiest targets, too often never seeing what is actually occurring.

      • Curious Mayhem

        I’m not arguing against your general point — the situation in France is quite dangerous. And intellectuals are often blind to the obvious or nearly obvious.

        What’s happening on the streets in France, however, is not organized by the state, and there’s no caliphate waiting in the wings in Arrondissement III or IV. Instead, you have an alienated population under about age 35, with little to hold them to the French state, put on welfare to keep them from rioting, often kept from entering from French society as equals (although it’s not clear that they want that anyway), and ripe for recruitment by movements based in the Middle East. The result is a scattered and difficult-to-monitor formation of cells and gangs operating in a Muslim subculture that the police either don’t want to or cannot penetrate.

        The state-organized or sponsored stuff is happening the Middle East, where Iran and Syria sponsor Hizbollah and used to sponsor Hamas. Turkey and Qatar sponsor ISIS and (now) Hamas and possibly some groups in Libya. It leaks over into Europe and takes hold, because there’s a pool of potential recruits and nothing to stop it.

        • Tory Quinton

          And I would again remind you that the violence in Germany against Jews was not state sanctioned at firts. The Nazis were a mob of rabble roses with little clout… the brown shirts were thuggish goons nobody took seriously and the Nazis leadership were unknowns operating in the shadows.

          The fact that a population feels alienated is frankly a bit of a dodge. And certainly no excuse. Lots of populations feel alienated and don’t resort to mass murder.

          To be sure people are not born radical. But neither are they victims of radicalization. They make a choice. Time and again Muslims choose violence.

          Board a plane with angry Jews or christians. Angry athiest or Hindu and then see how different you feel boarding a plane with an angry Muslim. Rightly so. As a population they can not be trusted.l because they consistently fail to earn trust.

          Not all muslims are bad. Many are good. But they don’t earn the benefit of the doubt.

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