Monday, 18 July 2016

Ben Judah on Muslim Paris

I printed this article about modern Paris by Ben Judah ten days ago but only read it today, over lunch. Like everything Ben Judah writes it is very good. (He's 27 or 28 and spent part of his childhood in Bucharest.) After the massacre at Nice it is even more topical and even more troubling.
Jews, he says, are leaving France for fear of Muslims and I remember that an Iraqi monk told me that, when the Jews were being expelled from Iraq in the 1970s, a rabbi told him,

"They are getting rid of the Saturday people now. They will come for the Sunday people later."

Jews are also joining and voting for the Front National, although Ben Judah doesn't mention this.

"France’s two-stage electoral system means that a party can’t win an election on only 30 per cent of the vote. Camus thinks that the Front’s attempt to be simultaneously an anti-austerity, anti-Islam and anti-EU protest party has won it a large support base but one that cannot grow. “Swing any more to the centre and it will start to lose votes from the extremes. Swing any more to the protectionist Left it will start to lose votes from the Right.” The Front is also blocked by France’s professionals. For them, quite unlike for France’s poor, a vote for Marine is still largely seen as vulgar and delusional, if no longer totally inexcusable. “This is why Left and Right are still ready to vote for each other to stop the Front passing the threshold. This is the glass ceiling. 
The consensus in Paris is that another terrorist slaughter would shatter it."

We shall see.
Judah describes Saint-Denis and its cathedral, where the kings of France are buried along with Charles Martel, who saved Europe from the Muslims at the Battle of Tours in 704. Now Saint-Denis is a mostly Muslim ghetto, where the police have given up trying to prevent petty crimes. He interviews the Prefect of the department and asks him why.
“'Those same people who say there is a lack of authority,” snaps the 60-year-old prefect, “are the same ones who refuse the police access when they try and enter. Those from the Maghreb, by origin, permit themselves to behave in ways that would be unthinkable where they came from.' 
He tells me that the secret services are currently monitoring 700 people at risk of radicalisation in Saint-Denis, and the police are too frightened to enter alone most areas under his control. '


  1. I think it is wrong to see the Front National as a solution to the islamisation problem. I think the Front National would be a disaster for France and I'm far from being leftist/multiculturalist, I would like a reversal of the percent of Muslims in Europe.

    What would the Front National do? Not even a new citizenship law can be given such that North-African immigration is barred from French citizenship. What could one write into that law? That Muslims cannot be granted citizenship? That would be religious discrimination and will not be done. That you need a job and you have benefited from child support, unemployment, welfare support, etc in the last 5 years? That you need a baccalaureate? Some French people would not qualify. It will be some vague requirement for "compatibility with the republican values". And then who'll bear the burden of proof? The applicant or the state?

    All they'll do is make pork compulsory in school and prison canteens, no exceptions for girls at swimming lessons at school, and the like of petty measures.

    The most they'll do will be a law that will order the expulsion of non-citizen for petty crimes. That would be already great but we'll have to see how it will be implemented and how speedy these expulsions will be.

    And then as a bonus they'll install their own clientelle and the French will get an even more disastrous economic policy and dilettantism than until now. They'll waste themselves in confrontations with the leftist students, in sterile reciprocal threats with the EU, in yet another labour or education law with its months-long train of stikes and protests that will follow, in internal fights with their own hothead radicals and Holocaust deniers in their fringes.

    I think the only merit of the Front National is that is states that some phenomena are indeed problems, something that the other parties do not acknowledge. But the Front National has no solutions either.

    1. I didn't say the Front National was a solution to the islamisation problem. I don't know enough about them.

      Looking on the net now, I see that Newsweek says their policies include 'an “implacable fight” against illegal immigration (with “automatic expulsions” of undocumented foreigners); a “drastic reduction” in legal immigration (to a ceiling of around 10,000 annually) while ending or severely limiting provisions for family reunifications or asylum for refugees; and an end to “Anglo-Saxon multiculturalism”'.

      I don't know exactly what the last of these means. The immigration policy sounds sensible. They also want France to leave the EU.

      I doubt very much that Marine Le Pen will win the presidency next year. If she did I she would have to cohabit with a Parliament where her bitter opponents were in the majority,

    2. Whatever "Anglo-Saxon multiculturalsim" is, some of us appear to be its first victims (white male heterosexuals).
      I suspect she is blaming the English-speaking peoples for the ills of globalisation, though France has made its own bed of thorns on a legacy of racial and religious diversity.

    3. I was interested to find De Gaulle's view on the subject which is as follows.

      It is very good that there are yellow French, black French, brown French. They show that France is open to all races and has a universal vocation. But [it is good] on condition that they remain a small minority. Otherwise, France would no longer be France. We are still primarily a European people of the white race, Greek and Latin culture, and the Christian religion.

      Don't tell me stories! Muslims, have you gone to see them? Have you watched them with their turbans and jellabiyas? You can see that they are not French! Those who advocate integration have the brain of a hummingbird. Try to mix oil and vinegar. Shake the bottle. After a second, they will separate again. Arabs are Arabs, the French are French. Do you think the French body politic can absorb ten million Muslims, who tomorrow will be twenty million, after tomorrow forty? If we integrated, if all the Arabs and Berbers of Algeria were considered French, would you prevent them to settle in France, where the standard of living is so much higher? My village would no longer be called Colombey-The-Two-Churches but Colombey-The-Two-Mosques.

    4. Possibly his views would be considered racist nowadays. Certainly he was no Anglo-Saxon multiculturalist.

    5. I want to write about how the war in Algeria from 1954 to 1962 - in fact a long series of terrorist incidents rather than a war in the proper sense - led on to the present crisis in France - and Europe. I was in Algeria this year and saw how important the history of the war is to present day politics.

    6. "Anglo-Saxon multiculturalism", when denounced by a Frenchman, is understood as the policy that does not require that the newly arrived ones become British, Americans, Canadians, etc, and it's the attitude that takes pride in the diversity of the society. See Chinatowns, Little Italies, St. Patrick's parades in the US and the pride the Americans take that they have such communities and such diverse cultural manifestations; or the Sikh turbans in the UK and a certain pride of the English that they attract these people, that they can benefit from their new ideas, food, or customs.

      The French too like to see themselves as a beacon/magnet that attracts people from around the world. But they don't want the Sikh to stay Sikh in France, they want the people to come in order to become French (Sikh or Hindu or Muslim you can be at home, the French would say, no need to come to Europe), to take off their Romanianness for example like a jacket, to abandon it and to become French. And being French is seen as the embodiment of the ideals of the French revolution and the Age of Enlightenment, including its anti-clericalism and hostility to religion: secularism, human rights, individual freedoms, same law for all, no religious courts, no state support of any kind for any religion.

    7. Yet for many the true France is the monarchy and Catholic.

    8. I disagree with you, but I didn't have the numbers to support my opinion. Now, after the murder of the priest in Normandy, I've stumbled upon an article that discusses the crisis of the Catholic church in France (in German:

      It says that the number of priests ordinations in the last three years was 140, 120, and 100 respectively. In 2000 there were about 400,000 baptisms, 300,000 in 2010, 290,000 in 2012. 147,000 church marriages in 1990, half as many in 2012. 4.5% of catholics attend mass "regularly". 1992 there were 32,000 priests in France, half as many 20 years later.

  2. At the risk of being considered a die-hard right-wing extremist, I have to say that I think de Gaulle was absolutely right. The problem with the Muslim immigrants to western Europe is that, unlike previous waves of immigrants from outside the prosperous countries of this region, they are not willing to accept the customs and values of their new host nation. They wish to preserve their separate culture, indeed to demand that their host communities respect it, rather than adapt to local conditions. Thus they create a division between themselves and their hosts that leads to misunderstandings and conflicts. It's time that west European governments woke up to this fundamental problem with Muslim immigrants and did something radical about it. Multiculturalism? Maybe - but not with Muslims.