Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
First of all you're right to put Muslim between quotes. The rioting was not specifically Muslim, had no religious roots or claims at all. Not all the youth involved was Muslim, even though a majority no doubt was -- but they were not kicking up because they were Muslim. It's no doubt a mix of economic problems -- under-qualification because of school problems, unemployment, poor prospects, plus the racism faced by many (the Pew Report doesn't say French Muslims consider there is no discrimination against them), and then above all the deliberate provocation by the Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy who called them scum. And, yes, a bad incident with police (there are plenty) and the opportunity to challenge the cops and win over several days.

So it's not that there's no problem in France with under-privileged youth in the cités, (the French equivalent of sink estates), there is. But what is so often said, that France has a "Muslim" problem, that it isn't integrating Muslims, that in fact (see the headscarf controversy) it doesn't have a clue, doesn't appear to be true.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 25th, 2006 at 02:10:37 PM EST
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