Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Quote Of The Day: Banlieue Edition

"We are in a state of civil war, orchestrated by radical Islamists. This is not a question of urban violence any more. It is an intifada, with stones and Molotov cocktails. You no longer see two or three youths confronting police, you see whole tower blocks emptying into the streets to set their 'comrades' free when they are arrested." -- Michel Thoomis, France's Action Police Union

About 14 French police officers are injured daily in violent clashes with Muslims in the poor high-rise slums of Paris' "banlieue," or suburbs, which is now a euphanism for areas where many unemployed North Africa/Muslim youths live.

Thoomis' union, according to today's WashTimes, is "hard-line," and not everyone agrees with his assessment. Gerard Demarcq, head of the largest police union, says the violence is the result of "retaking territory" from criminal gangs, and religion's got nothing to do with it.

Infitada or a war by the crime bosses?

It's best not to debate the point too finely, because either way, it's more of the culture war between Muslims and everyone who's not Muslim. Previous French gangs of various ethnicities have not broken a longstanding taboo on not attacking police; now that has degenerated to the point where "comarades" see the police as an enemy. And that smells of young guys getting reinforcement from both crime bosses and rhetorically firey imams.

Many will point out that the disparity between France's liberty, equality ethos and hardscrabble reality is driving the anger in the Banlieue, but to say imams and infatada envy have nothing to do with it is not seeing clearly.

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