"France and the Muslim Myth"

There has been much throwing about of brains in the American media regarding the upheavals in France, but very very little sense. For that, we must look elsewhere -- specifically, to Jason Burke in The Observer, who provides us with this succinct and savvy overview.

France and the Muslim Myth

Excerpt: First, the facts. According to the French intelligence services, the areas where radical Islamic ideologies have spread furthest in France have actually proved the calmest over recent weeks. Second, characterising the rioters as 'Muslim' at all is ludicrous. Most were as Westernised as you would expect third-generation immigrants to be and far more interested in soft drugs and rap than getting up for dawn prayers.

Indeed, a high proportion was of sub-Saharan African descent and not Muslim at all. Others were white and so, following [right-wing] descriptions of the darker skinned rioters as 'Arab Muslims', should presumably be referred to as 'Caucasian Christians'.

Also, it is clear that the rioters were not seeking to destroy the French state but were demanding a greater stake in it. Otherwise, there would have been many more direct confrontations with the security forces. The point the rioters made again and again was that they felt rejected by 'the Republic', not that they wanted to tear it down. With all other channels of communication blocked, they sent, literally, smoke signals instead.