Paris suburbs burn on
More information has been coming in on the French riots, and it's sobering.
Take a look at this post by Shrinkwrapped on the culture wars and power struggles involved. It's based on
this column from today's New York Post, written by Amir Taheri, who makes it clear that the evidence so far indicates multiple and complex reasons behind these riots: economic, cultural, and Islamic.
Here are some excerpts from Taheri:
Some are even calling for the areas where Muslims form a majority of the population to be reorganized on the basis of the "millet" system of the Ottoman Empire: Each religious community (millet) would enjoy the right to organize its social, cultural and educational life in accordance with its religious beliefs...
"All we demand is to be left alone," said Mouloud Dahmani, one of the local "emirs" engaged in negotiations to persuade the French to withdraw the police and allow a committee of sheiks, mostly from the Muslim Brotherhood, to negotiate an end to the hostilities.
President Jacques Chirac and Premier de Villepin are especially sore because they had believed that their opposition to the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003 would give France a heroic image in the Muslim community.
That illusion has now been shattered and the Chirac administration, already passing through a deepening political crisis, appears to be clueless about how to cope with what the Parisian daily France Soir has called a "ticking time bomb."
It is now clear that a good portion of France's Muslims not only refuse to assimilate into "the superior French culture," but firmly believe that Islam offers the highest forms of life to which all mankind should aspire.
So what is the solution? One solution, offered by Gilles Kepel, an adviser to Chirac on Islamic affairs, is the creation of "a new Andalusia" in which Christians and Muslims would live side by side and cooperate to create a new cultural synthesis.
The problem with Kepel's vision, however, is that it does not address the important issue of political power. Who will rule this new Andalusia: Muslims or the largely secularist Frenchmen?