An interesting article by Martin Walker
… The young blacks refuse to talk to white reporters, turning silently away to spit and talk among themselves.
‘We still have to live here when this is all over,’ muttered Bakil Anelka, who came to France eight years ago from Ivory Coast and works as a cleaner for the Metro. ‘The police will not stay here forever, but the gangs will still be here, back in charge of this district. As soon as I can, I`m moving. I don`t want my kids to grow up here.’
One of the striking features of the two weeks of rage that swept France is that so many of the rioters are black rather than Arab, though North Africans from Algeria and Morocco and Tunisia make up more than two-thirds of the estimated 6 million immigrants, their families included, in France.
The fixed idea that French Muslims would sooner or later rise up to declare Jihad on Secular and Christian French society blinded many observers, including most representatives of the press to the fact that these are race rather than Muslim riots. This is the first article I have read that spells this out this clearly:
…in places where the rioters were ‘beurs,’ as the French Arabs call themselves, Islam and religion seemed to play only a minor role. A tear gas bomb fired into the mosque of Clichy-sous-Bois on the first day of the riots infuriated local Muslims, but there have been no Islamic slogans and no taunts against the French as Christians…
Local Islamic leaders who tried to calm the young mobs have been routinely ignored, as have the fatwas issued by the leading Imams saying rioting and attacks on innocent people are against Islam.
‘It was the people from this congregation who called for calm when the tear gas grenade was fired into our mosque,’ Abdel-Rahman Boubout, the mosque director, told United Press International. ‘This is not about religion, I think. It is about race and discrimination and unemployment and the police, not about Islam.’
In other words, these riots are a lot more similar to the riots in Watts in the 60s, or the one in LA in ’92, rather than the Palestinian intifada. Jonathan’s point that the rioters are keeping the violence below a certain threshold, in order not to provoke a truly drastic response by the French state, certainly remains valid to some extent, but they also have to excercise restraint on behalf of their adult family members, for most rioting happens in the quarters they live in.
The article is worth reading in full, especially for the amazing points about black polygamy in France.