Ramadan Rioting in Europe’s No-Go Areas

Paul Belien, Intellectual Conservative, Nov. 3

For some years now West European city folk and police officers have been familiar with the reality that certain areas of major European cities are no-go areas, especially at night and certainly if you are white or wearing a uniform.

This is from Sweden:

“If we park our car it will be damaged—so we have to go very often in two vehicles, one just to protect the other vehicle,” said Rolf Landgren, a Malmo police officer. Fear of violence has changed the way police, firemen and emergency workers do their jobs. There are some neighborhoods Swedish ambulance drivers will not go to without a police escort. Angry crowds have threatened them, telling them which patient to take and which ones to leave behind.

This is from France:

Sarkozy says that violence in French suburbs is a daily fact of life. Since the start of the year, 9,000 police cars have been stoned and, each night, 20 to 40 cars are torched.

This is from Brussels:

The police have been told [by the Mayor] that it is ‘not expedient’ to patrol [in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek] and officers are not allowed to drink coffee or eat a sandwich in the street during ramadan.

This is from Denmark (and it is hot news relating to the Muhammad cartoons):

For several nights in a row Rosenhøj Mall has been the scene of the worst riots in Århus for years. “This area belongs to us,” the youths proclaimed. [ . . . ] “The police have to stay away. This is our area. We decide what goes on down here.” [ . . . ] Falck, a Danish private emergency service, sent a group of fire engines under police escort to the Kjærslund nursery on Søndervangs Allé, right across the street from Rosenhøj Mall. A window had been shattered at the back of the house, and the fire had been blazing, apparently caused by gasoline poured onto the floor and lit. Falck stopped on Viby Square, a couple of kilometers from the site of the arson attack, waiting for the police to turn up so they could be escorted to the nursery.

The Nightmare of Permanent Conflict

If you want to know what is the matter with those that are described by the mainstream media as rioting “youths,” read Theodore Dalrymple’s poignant analysis in the latest issue of City Journal. We are just witnessing the beginning of Europe’s problems: “The sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict.”

Our mainstream media, in attempts to preserve the Left’s chimera of “universal cultural compatibility,” hardly write about all this. Nevertheless, for some years now West European city folk and police officers have been familiar with the reality that certain areas of major European cities are no-go areas, especially at night and certainly if you are white or wearing a uniform. Three years ago, a French friend who had his car stolen learned that the thieves had parked the car in a particular suburb. When he went to the police he was told that the police did not operate in that neighborhood and consequently would not be able to retrieve his car. This is Western Europe in the early 21st century.

Nicolas Sarkozy became France’s most popular politician by promising to restore law and order in the whole of France, including in the areas abandoned by previous governments. Since Sarkozy became Interior Minister he has insisted on more police presence in Muslim neighborhoods. This triggered last week’s riots in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, when policemen went in to investigate a robbery and two teenagers stupidly got themselves electrocuted while hiding from the police in an electricity sub station. Many French politicians now probably regret that the police had the audacity to investigate a robbery in Clichy. The result of the incident so far has been six consecutive nights of rioting that is now engulfing the entire Paris suburban area and might soon affect other parts of the country. Two nights ago at least 69 vehicles were torched in nine suburbs across the Paris region. Officials say that small, mobile gangs are harassing police, sometimes even shooting at them. The gangs are setting vehicles, police stations and schools on fire throughout the region.

Though the world is taking no notice, the same is currently happening in certain parts of Denmark.

Bring in the Army

Sarkozy has referred to those whom the media call “troublesome youths” as scum and rabble. “I speak with real words,” the minister says. “When you fire real bullets at police, you’re not a ‘youth,’ you’re a thug.” Unfortunately, it looks as if Clichy-sous-Bois might become Nicolas Sarkozy’s Waterloo because he seems to be losing the support of his colleagues in the government. Moreover, Sarkozy does not even seem to have the means necessary to fight the “youths.”

The riots in France have been going on for a week now. During the second night of street fighting in Clichy, police officers already warned that they are not up to the task Sarkozy has set for them. “There’s a civil war underway,” one officer declared. “We can no longer withstand this situation on our own. My colleagues neither have the equipment nor the practical or theoretical training for street fighting.” If there is, indeed, a war going on, Sarkozy cannot win it with troops that are mere policemen and fire fighters. As Irwin Stelzer pointed out last July when discussing the British reaction to the London bombings: In a war, use the army, rather than police. The latter, however, is unlikely to happen. If the politicians bring in the army they are acknowledging what the policemen, the fire fighters and the ambulance drivers know but what the political and media establishment wants to hide from the people: that there is civil war brewing and that Europe is in for a long period of armed conflict. This is the last thing appeasing politicians want to do and so they have begun to criticize Sarkozy.

The appeasers are found not only in the opposition parties but also within Sarkozy’s own party, where Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, who envies him his popularity, is eager to bring his rival down. Apart from political intra-party rivalry, however, there are two reasons why most politicians seem to be of the appeasing kind.

The first one is that the Muslim population in Western Europe has become so large that politicians fear what it might be capable of. Commenting on the situation in Britain, Theodore Dalrymple wrote in City Journal:

Surveys suggest that between 6 and 13 percent of British Muslims—that is, between 98,000 and 208,000 people—are sympathetic toward Islamic terrorists and their efforts. Theoretical sympathy expressed in a survey is not the same thing as active support or a wish to emulate the ‘martyrs’ in person, of course. But it is nevertheless a sufficient proportion and absolute number of sympathizers to make suspicion and hostility toward Muslims by the rest of society not entirely irrational, though such suspicion and hostility could easily increase support for extremism. This is the tightrope that the British state and population will now have to walk for the foreseeable future.

It applies to all West European nations. Where, however, is the boundary between carefully walking the tightrope and falling victim to the Stockholm syndrome? The latter would mean that Western politicians act as hostages of the Muslim extremists.

A second reason why some politicians try to appease the Muslims is that these are now a substantial segment of the voting population. Demographics are deciding the fate of Europe’s democracy. Time is running out. If Sarkozy cannot win the battle today, it is unlikely that he or anyone else will be able to do so tomorrow. If Clichy turns out to be Sarkozy’s Waterloo, it will be a catastrophe not just for France.

Paul Belien founded the Brussels-based think tank Centre for the New Europe, and acted as CNE’s first managing director and research director from 1994 to 2000, when he left to write his Ph.D. dissertation and homeschool his five children. He is the editor of the Flemish quarterly Secessie and the editor-in-chief of The Brussels Journal. His most recent book is A Throne in Brussels. Republished with permission of The Brussels Journal.

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