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November 7, 2005

Paris Riots: Not A Muslim Thing

I knew something wasn't right when I kept seeing this framed as "muslims vs. whoever" in the American press...

Paris heat not from Muslims

The violence erupting in France reflects social, not religious, grievance, reports James Button in Paris.

They wear hoods, baggy jeans and brand-name sneakers. Their heroes are American rappers like 50 Cent. They have begun to describe their assumed antagonists as "white". They have a particular hatred for police and when they go to fight them they say they're "dancing with wolves".

...The riots, described as France's worst since May 1968, have been linked to the threat of radical Islam. But both descriptions are misleading. The violent unrest is better compared to the riots that burnt down African-American ghettos across the United States in the 1960s...

"It is nothing to do with radical Islam or even Muslims," says Olivier Roy, research director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research and one of the world's leading authorities on political Islam.

...He says that although many rioters are from Muslim backgrounds, "these guys are building a new idea of themselves based on American street culture. It's a youth riot they are protesting against the fact that they are supposed to be full French citizens and they are not."

While black Americans in the 1960s objected to police use of the word "boy", today's young French rioters have a similar demand: they want police to stop insulting them with use of the familiar form for you: "tu".

"The police in France are very badly trained on these issues," says Frenchman Jacques Reland, director of the European Research Forum at London's Metropolitan University. "They don't understand the culture of these estates. They are very rough and often racist..."

Posted by jsmooth995 at November 7, 2005 3:20 PM

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