Road to the Toulouse killings
- Last Updated: 12:31 AM, March 23, 2012
- Posted: 10:40 PM, March 22, 2012
Paris What was Mohamed Merah thinking when he died yesterday under siege in a shabby apartment block in Toulouse?
The 23-year-old self-styled “Islamic holy warrior” left no written testament, but he made it clear that he wanted to die a martyr in armed jihad against the Infidel. In his weeklong spree in Montauban and Toulouse, he killed seven people — three French Muslim soldiers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi — and wounded half-a-dozen policemen.
In messages sent before French Special Forces cornered him, Merah claimed that he wanted to “punish” France for its presence in Afghanistan and its support for Israel.
Born and raised in France by Algerian parents, Merah is the latest symbol of the French “dis-integration” — the third- or even fourth-generation French-born children of Muslim immigrants who reject France’s policy of assimilation.
Coincidentally, French cinemas are showing a film by Philippe Faucon with the almost prophetic title “Desintegration.” It tells the story of Ali, a young Frenchman of Arab descent, who lives on the silver screen what Merah did in real life.
The film portrays “dis-integration” as if it came about solely because of the rejection of France by some of its youth. Reality is more complicated.
Ali in the film and Mohamed in Toulouse may have rejected France, indeed Western civilization, in part because elements in French society want them to do so.
France has a long tradition of integration. French laws prohibit questions regarding race or religion even in a general census. The French didn’t think it odd, more than 60 years ago, when their republic became the first Western democracy to have black Cabinet ministers, nor when a black man, the grandson of a slave, presided over their Senate for 10 years.
In recent years, however, part of the French left has begun arguing for special dispensations to “accommodate the Muslim community,” with some creating an industry around the “identity question.”
Once unheard of in France, double-barrel identities are becoming fashionable among leftists, who looks to the Muslim “community” as the new proletariat, a potential revolutionary vanguard.
The left wants to allow Muslims to build mosques wherever they wish. Streets in the heart of Paris could be suddenly shut to traffic to accommodate Muslim mass prayers. It pressures local authorities to introduce “halal” food at school canteens and public libraries not to buy books critical of Islam.
In Muslim suburbs (banlieus), vigilantes terrorize shopkeepers into withdrawing “illicit items,” including wine, pork products and magazines with pictures of women. Often, the police keep a low profile so as not to offend “community youth,” a code word for suburban Muslims.
In some such suburbs around Paris, Lyon and Marseilles, it is becoming increasingly difficult for young women to appear in public without the mandatory Islamic head scarf. (The emirate of Qatar has set up a $50 million fund to help “Islamic” development projects in hot banlieus.)
Praising Western civilization is regarded as a sign of racism because, we’re told, all cultures and religions are of equal value. A few weeks ago, Interior Minister Claude Gueant was roundly criticized because he dared question that dogma publicly. (Meanwhile, anti-Semitism, once limited to the fascist fringe, has become part of the discourse of many on the left.)
More disturbing yet, France now recognizes polygamy, provided the extra wives are registered in Mayotte, an overseas French department. In the city of Lille, the Socialist mayor has authorized gender apartheid in public swimming pools.
Gilles Kepel, an expert on French Islam, has identified banlieus like the ones where Mohamed and Ali lived as social ticking bombs. What signals do young men get in such an environment?
They hear that, as Muslims, they belong to a separate community that deserves special treatment because of what it suffers at the hands of “Infidel” powers.
Mohamed and Ali hear that, as victims, they have the right, indeed the duty, to revolt against their oppressors, even if that means martyrdom.
Since 2001, more than 300 Muslim Frenchmen have been killed or captured in Afghanistan fighting for al Qaeda and other jihadist groups. The French Interior Ministry puts the number of “radicalized” French Muslims at about 15,000 — enough for jihadi recruitment.
Produced by leftist political correctness and Islamist propaganda, Mohamed Merah may not be France’s last jihadi martyr.Follow @NYPostOpinion