Friday, November 18, 2005

Nothing to See, Move Along

It seems the riots in France are officially over, at least for now. Burned cars for the night slipped below the magical, "normal" level of 100--all the way to 98--as total arrests approached 3,000. In a sure sign the crisis has become part of the status quo, and therefore no longer a crisis, stories on the situation slipped off page 2 of Google News and into the memory hole.

Meanwhile, spokesmen for the Religion of Peace sounded a familiar theme:
"Dalil Boubakeur, the director of the Great Mosque of Paris and one of the country's leading Muslim figures, said in a statement Tuesday that it was too easy to make Muslims 'the scapegoat' of France's riots, and that he detected a 'troubling Islamophobia.'"
We wouldn't want to blame the people who were rioting for any of this, now would we. Actually, many non-Muslims went to great lengths to actively conceal the ethnic/religious backgrounds of the vast majority of the "youngsters" engaged in criminal activity.

Against that backdrop, several French government officials played up a new angle on the integration problem:
"That debate grew more strident after Labor Minister Gerard Larcher was quoted in Wednesday's Financial Times as saying that youths from large polygamous families often had social behavioral problems, stemming from lack of a father figure.

At the same time, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy was quoted in the current issue of newsweekly L'Express as saying that polygamy is one of the cultural differences that 'makes it more difficult to integrate a French youth of African origin with a French youth of another origin.'

And Conservative lawmaker Bernard Accoyer told RTL radio that polygamy was 'certainly one of the causes' of the problems of integrating Muslim families into French society."
These don't seem to be outrageous suggestions, although we have no real idea to what degree this is actually a factor. Certainly, single-parent, fatherless families in the US have a strong correlation with poverty and low achievement levels. Considering the cultural resistance against Muslim women working outside the home, it seems likely that polygamous Muslim families would be prone to financial problems. It seems unlikely polygamy could be the main cause of the integration failures, but it might be a factor.

Although polygamy is illegal in France, from the reactions one would think it was a constitutional right: liberté, égalité, et poligamie.
The reaction was immediate. One group, the League of Human Rights, said in a statement that the comments were provocative and 'knowingly took the risk of reinforcing xenophobia and racism.'

Jean-Pierre Brard, a communist lawmaker from Seine-Saint-Denis, said he was aware of 150 polygamous families in his town. But to link polygamy to the rioting 'is to treat people like imbeciles.'

Polygamy is illegal in France. But visas were granted freely to family members of immigrants until 1993, after which visas were authorized for only one spouse. The Ministry of Social Affairs estimates on its Web site that there are between 8,000 and 15,000 polygamous families in France."
Actually, we'd say that to advocate communism is to show that you deserve to be treated like an imbecile, but Mr. Brard has a right to his opinions, no matter how stupid they are. The comments from the government officials don't seem in the least "provocative" to us nor do they seem to pander to racist/xenophobic elements. They're certainly debatable, but the Left doesn't want a debate on the problems, they just want to shout down the opponent with accusations of racism. Hmmm. Looks like a worldwide strategy.

So would you call a baby in a polygamous French family a "pollywog?"

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