French Immigration Policy Government and Rioters Are Victims of Liberal Laissez-Faire

By James Walsh
Volume 16, Number 2 (Winter 2005-2006)
Issue theme: "The 14th Amendment: what were the intentions of the Amendment's framers?"

French lawmaker, Philippe de Villiers, tells the press he wants "to stop the Islamization of France" which, he sees as the result of "the failure of a policy of massive and uncontrolled immigration." Europeans, troubled by the uncontrolled immigration of foreigners, especially Muslims, express concern that these new émigrés do not share western cultural values of patriotism, freedom, education, democracy, and the republican separation of church and state. In contrast, socialist politicians, secularist academicians, and complacent and complaisant citizens condone uncontrolled immigration in Western Europe and the prospective balkanization of their countries. The United States is not far behind.

Intentionally or not, Muslims, Africans, and Asians in France and other European countries are being segregated from the indigenous population (those of French stock or French whites). The French and their European neighbors are being forced to realize that multiculturalism is not working and that much of the immigrant segregation is self-imposed. Academicians argue that France's historic color-blind or egalitarian policies does not permit multiculturalism. Whether color-blind welfare or multiculturalism or socialism, French governmental laissez-faire attitude toward Muslim and African immigrants created an explosive "Arab street." A clash of cultures has created for European Muslims a tend to prefer a self-segregation from the secularism and perceived impurity of Western art, literature, history, and daily Christian ambiance. Historically, Jewish people have assimilated European culture, but the same cannot be said for Muslims or generally for people of color, who blame Islamophobia and xenophobia among indigenous Europeans for the lack of integration.

As evidence, the rioters point to French history books, which continue to teach that the nation's ancestors were Gauls, not Arabs or Africans, thus "demeaning" non-European ancestry. The French government's avowed secularism is another source of perceived disrespect, exemplified by the ban on religious symbols in public schools, such as Muslim women's headscarves (hijab). The hijab is both a religious symbol and a display of cultural identity; to ban it, Muslims hold, is to "dis" them. The Muslim leaders attempt to cast polygamy as a leading cause of the riots is a subterfuge; although Arab and African Muslim culture and history have long permitted polygamy, French governments have long chosen to ignore it as part of its multicultural laissez- faire.

The failure of France to enforce any immigration controls is bearing bitter fruit in violent anti-government rioting. The riots, however, are but the tip of the iceberg. Behind the young men in ski masks are well-heeled proponents of open borders for Europe and America. These forces to be reckoned with are moving to delegitimize the governments of France, its European neighbors, and ultimately, the United States of America. The explosive population of Muslims in Europe, as the result of rising birth rates and immigration, can no longer be denied.

At an immigration conference in Turin, Italy, in 1991, a professor from the University of Ankara (Turkey) stated that in 1990, France had 75 mosques. The professor predicted that by 2000, France would have 750 mosques, and by 2010, at least 1,500 mosques. Today, France has an estimated 3,000 mosques and a Muslim population of 5 million to 8 million or 12 percent of the total population. The birth rate of the immigrant community is four times that of the French-stock population.

For too long, the French have turned a blind eye to Muslim populations within their borders. Ethnic monitoring is prohibited by the French constitution, based on the Gallic hubris of liberty, equality, and fraternity. Integration of all French residents is exposed as a myth when applied to Arab Muslims, African Muslims, and Asian Muslims, and generally to people of color.

France in the post-World War II period began a campaign of de-colonization, with the granting of independence to former colonies, which ended in 1963 with Algeria. Independence for Algeria almost shattered La Belle France, save for the presence of Le Grand Charles, General Charles De Gaulle. France, along with its colonialist counterparts in Europe, had come under the sway of liberal/socialist/communist politicos and academicians, who advocated giving carte-blanche to former colonials wishing to emigrate to Europe. In the case of France, the majority of its former African and Middle East colonies or protectorates were Muslim. As the decades passed, the influx of former colonials was joined by a wave of desperate illegal immigrants fleeing to the West to escape the poverty, joblessness, hopelessness, and oppression of totalitarian dictators in their homelands. For all the perceived faults of the Christian West, it was deemed better than what they had at home. France readily granted émigrés welfare but denied them dignity, humanity, and self-respect. While advocating liberty, equality, and fraternity, the architects of French multiculturalism managed to dehumanize immigrants. Fed, clothed, and housed by the French stock, immigrants saw Islam as their only pillar of self-worth and personal salvation.

For decades, France asserted its acceptance of immigrants as proof that multiculturalism or color-blindness or social welfare does work and offered its policy as a model for the western world. On October 27, 2005, unassimilated multiculturalists shattered the French social model. France has ignored the numbers of legal immigrants from its former colonies and the numbers of illegal entries since the end of the Algerian insurgency and independence. One French government after another has excused unregulated immigration with a liberal laissez-faire, believing that French culture would win out. The French and their neighbors have yet to comprehend the concept of "global Islam" and the consequences if ignored.

France was ablaze, literally and figuratively, with out-of-control Muslim Arab and African youths egged on by well-organized anarchists and terrorists. Rioters pillaged, burned, and killed from the English Channel to the Pyrenees and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rhine River. The guerilla insurgency of the immigrant underclass will not be bought off by more socialist giveaways, so more riots can be expected. After police found a gasoline bomb-making shop that contained 150 bottles for Molotov cocktails, gasoline stockpiles, and hoods for hiding rioters faces, Justice Minister Jean-Marie Huet observed that Molotov cocktails "are not being improvised by kids in their bathrooms." Christian churches, mosques, businesses, schools, and more than 9,000 vehicles were damaged or destroyed by rioters supposedly rebelling against poverty, joblessness, social exclusion, and poor housing. Other motives are at work, as the rioters were aided and abetted by anarchists and terrorists.

A combination of factors led to the 2005 French riots. French-born Muslims were in large part rioting because the police were entering Muslin enclaves of the banlieues (suburbs) and "habitation a loyer modere" or "cites" slang for émigré housing projects. The most significant factor, however, was Muslim disdain for infidel values, followed by unemployment, social exclusion, lack of education, police harassment, and housing almost as bad as in their homelands. These factors led to the pre-riot successful proselytizing of women and young people of Arab and African descent. The radical imams preached return to "Allahu." or tn the case of the non-arabs come to "Allahu.," as a source of self- redemption.

Tough talk and prosecution of rioters by France's Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy may have offended French intellectuals, social workers, journalists, and the Left; but his law-and-order and hard-line immigration stance lifted his approval rating to 62 percent. This popularity was despite the pillorying he took in the press during early days of the riots; and his approval rating is noteworthy considering France's many political parties.

Jihadism vs. Multiculturalism

France need not take all the blame for the present riots, as the rest of Europe is similarly situated and ready to explode. Muslim imams with the support of liberal politicians, local and foreign news media, anarchists, and naive do-gooders worldwide repeat and repeat that French rioting and future lawlessness are triggered by "racism," "poverty," "lack of respect," "lack of socioeconomic integration," "failed assimilation," and "lack of religious understanding." Such claims are meant to obscure the simple truth that the riots are the result of religion-based demands for acceptance of all tenets of Islam. For instance, regarding matters of marriage, family, and business, Muslim leaders want Sharia (Islamic law) not French law to apply to Muslims in France. Compliance with such demands can only result in independent mini-states within France. There is a radical Islamic agenda for a global Islam, and other European countries are dealing with the same demands. To deny that the French riots have a distinct anti-French tone is to deny reality.

At the root of these riots and future terrorism is an Islamic jihad mentality. The immigrants arriving in France and elsewhere are aware of immigrant poverty, joblessness, and lack of assimilation, and yet they come. Muslim immigrants, both legal and illegal, have an agenda not always based on the economic benefits of living in the West. Illegal Muslim immigrants (including recent arrivals from Albania, the Balkans, and Turkey), as well as second-and-third generation French citizens of African and Arab descent, are being recruited by anarchists and Islamic terrorists, who do not hesitate to recruit French stock malcontents and criminals.

The Arabic "Allahu akbar" (God is Great), the rioters' battle cry, signified that the majority of rioters were identifying with the "Muslim World" theory of the fast-growing Muslim Brotherhood, a group based in Egypt and supported by Middle East countries and sheiks. International anarchists and terrorists are committed to de-legitimizing western governments, and France needs to document exactly who funded the riots.

Jihadists, homegrown or foreign, have one goal, an international Islamic order. Sayyid Quitb, credited as the intellectual designer of jihadism, envisioned a permanent Islamic revolution resulting in an Islamic world. In October 2005, a mere ten days before the French riots began, French police revealed that French citizens were being trained by Islamic extremists to attack targets in Paris. Minister Sarkozy stated that the terror risk to Paris was very high. "We know," he said, "that there are about 10 young Frenchmen (presumably of Arab or African descent) in Iraq, ready to become kamikazes." French Intelligence thus had prior information that Paris would come under attack by Muslim extremists.

Minister Sarkozy was vilified for calling the rioters "la racaille" (rabble), and the news media chose to translate his words as "scum," adding fuel to the fire. French Minister for Equal Opportunities M. Azouz Begag, disagreed with Minister Sarkozy's description of the rioters and suggested that the discrimination victimizing Muslim youths was a basis for the riots. Multiculturalists continue to claim victimization as an excuse for terrorism. Minister Sarkozy is the most popular of all French politicians as a result of the riot.

The appeasers in the French government, President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, have revived a discredited concept of a "French Islam" to nationalize the financing of Islam in France and to integrate Muslims into French society. They plan to accomplish this integration in harmony with France's republican ideals of secularism and separation of Church and State, which have dominated French thinking since the French Revolution of 1789.

Islamic fundamentalists are now infiltrating France's business sectors, such as banking, cargo handling, entertainment, security, and transportation. Islamic extremists are successfully proselytizing these workplaces. Thus, French business managers are being subjected to embezzlements of monies and thefts of business designs and strategies. A French think-tank, the Center for Intelligence Research, suggests that proceeds of the fundamentalists' corporate crimes go to financing terrorism, locally and internationally. The conversion to radical Islam is on the increase in all sector of France and Europe. France is slipping into an abyss of Islamic domination, by both internal and external forces.

Because Islamic dogma is rigid and unyielding, it clashes with the secularism and permissiveness of France and other western countries. "French Islam" is just another name for more welfare. In France, Britain, Belgium, and Denmark, the governments have ceded control of specific areas to Muslim imams and Islamic law. Present-day European leaders appear to have forgotten British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's Munich appeasement, which led to World War II.

Needed An Immigration Policy for Western Nations

The recent French riots were a rude awakening for those Gallic policymakers critical of U.S. border problems, forcing a reluctant French government to acknowledge that multiculturalism is not working. Britain is learning the hard way, following the July 2005 subway bombings, that a nation must control its borders. The United States has yet to commit to border control, by action, rather than words.

Immigration, legal and illegal, must be controlled in accordance with each nation's culture, ethos, language, national resources, and economic well-being. Each nation needs to adhere to a reasoned, two-pronged immigration policy with control of legal immigration and prevention of illegal entries. Prevention is far more cost-effective than apprehension, detainment, and deportation. Currently, neither Western Europe nor the United States of America adhere to such policies.

The 2005 riots put France and Europe at the crossroads, either France embraces French Islam and a resulting Islamic command or it demonstrates governmental backbone by insisting on one French culture, which is being challenged by the followers of Islam in the 21 st century. In mid-November 2005, as the insurrection subsided, President Jacques Chirac promised to crack down on illegal immigration. Several weeks later, Prime Minister deVillepin announced a multi-facet plan to correct decades of laissez-faire cracking down on illegal immigration. The government will better enforce requirements that immigrants seeking 10-year residency permits or French citizenship must master the French language and integrate into society. There will be stricter screening of foreign students in the student's homeland before being allowed to matriculate in French schools. A serious study of immigrant marriages foreign marriages between French nationals and foreigners will be closely evaluated. Legal immigrants will have to wait two years before applying for family reunification. Lastly, the government plans to better enforce the legislation outlawing polygamy.

Is this mere Gallic bravado or a lesson to be learned by the French and by Americans as well?

About the author

James H. Walsh, a former federal prosecutor and retired Associate General Counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, was a U.S.-German Marshall Fund Scholar on Immigration.