Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
"France's Muslim rioters" was truly a by-word in the English-language press, and it still pops up. We spent a lot of time here saying religion had nothing to do with it. See these diaries: one, two, three, four.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Mar 2nd, 2007 at 08:37:21 AM EST
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I totally agree.  This was a class riot, but I did want to point out that there were pressures in France to turn this into a revolt with religious harmonies.  Alain Finkielkraut [Le Monde]: "le gros [des émeutiers] était constitué de jeunes d'origine africaine et nord-africaine..." [The majority of the rioters was constituted by youth of African and North-African descent...".

Of course, Finkielkraut was proved totally wrong, but the tones of his discourse (and Sarkozy's) shaped the perceptions--the misperceptions--of many people.  Likewise, the media (in France or the U.S.), never really tried to correct these misperceptions, at least not on the evening news.

I haven't read all the excellent diaries that were posted here during that time since 2005 or 2006, so I'm sure I'm just reposting what you wrote.

by andrethegiant on Fri Mar 2nd, 2007 at 09:29:27 AM EST
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Don't forget Hélène Carrère d'Encausse and Gérard Larcher, Minister of Labour said the riots were caused by polygamy... (it was echoed by...the Financial Times!)

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Fri Mar 2nd, 2007 at 09:57:30 AM EST
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Polygamy? Gee, then I don't understand at all what Mitt Romney has against France...

(Yeah, I know, bad joke. I can't help myself at times...)

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Fri Mar 2nd, 2007 at 10:10:58 AM EST
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You're quite right. See, in particular, this story from back then, which starts with an editorial from André Glucksmann and goes on to an astounding interview in Haaretz with Alain Finkielkraut. (That he later tried to tone down by saying he "didn't recognize the person" who was talking in the interview. But did not issue a straight denial or an accusation against the journalists...)
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Mar 2nd, 2007 at 04:33:48 PM EST
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