France’s Ramadan Uprising – a Ticking Bomb for Europe

The violent riots spreading across France took several worrying directions Sunday night, Nov. 6, and Monday. The mostly Muslim gangs of youths began surging out of the immigrant suburbs to invade town centers; they fired their first gunshots at policemen; the number of torched cars peaked to 1,400; and disturbing new slogans were hurled, depicting Paris as “Baghdad-on-the Seine” and their campaign as the start of Europe’s Ramadan Intifada.
A single slogan made a mockery of president Jacques Chirac’s efforts of the last three years to distance France from President George W. Bush’s Iraq war. Furthermore, the French government’s helplessness in quelling the trouble is encouraging other European communities to follow suit – in Denmark, Belgium, Spain and Sweden, for starters.
Chirac, after lying low for 10 days, finally called an emergency security meeting in Paris Sunday, Nov. 6. He then promised arrests, trials and punishment for those who “sow violence or terror” across France. But politics as usual held him back from instituting tough measures or naming those responsible for the violence, let alone deploying the necessary forces. French police are still under orders not to open fire unless fired on first. No names have been released of ringleaders despite several hundred arrests.
Saturday, Nov. 5, as the disorders went into their second week, the French prosecutor-general Yves Bot said he had detected an organized hand and a strategy behind the riots. Witnesses reported vehicles without number-plates distributing petrol bombs. A fuel bomb factory was in fact discovered Sunday in Paris with 150 bottles and gallons of gasoline ready to distribute to the bands of arsonists. Also found there were masks to hide rioters’ faces. In Clichy-sour-Bois, where the accidental electrocution of two teenagers in flight from the police ignited the first protests, residents said: This is just the beginning.
There are plenty of indications that the riots are not simply spontaneous outbursts of frustration by disadvantaged youths of North and black African descent, but centrally organized mayhem, an “intifada” activated by Muslim networking.
The Chirac-de Villepan government, trying to live down interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy’s provocative pledge to deal with what he called “scum,” is not acknowledging this. Because they refuse to recognize the rampage for what it is, they are withholding the forces required to restore order and so letting the danger get out of hand. Police, firemen and paramedics are no match for a fast developing civil war. The army will have to be brought in at some point, preferably sooner rather than later. For a start, marksmen need to be posted to pinpoint the ringleaders and the bottle-bomb wielders targeting cars, schools, shops, warehouses and public buildings.
France’s leaders, like the British and Dutch, are clinging to the hope that sympathetic dialogue with moderate Muslims will calm the street, despite all the evidence that radical, activist Muslims do not heed established Islamic authorities. On Nov. 6, the Union of Islamic Organizations in France, UOIF, issued a fatwa forbidding Muslims to seek “divine grace” by blindly attacking private and public property and urging meditation and calm.
The following night, bands of marauding Muslim youths extended their areas of attack from outlying city districts to urban centers and started shooting at police officers.
The controlling hand, far from being legitimate Muslim authority, is beginning to emerge as the very organization that has for several years been recruiting young fighters in French Muslim ghettos fight al Qaeda’s wars against the West in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq and other sectors.
On February 20, 2004, DEBKA-Net-Weekly and debkafile were first to reveal the extent of al Qaeda’s penetration of West Europe. They turned up French intelligence statistics which estimated that “al Qaeda had recruited in France between 35,000 and 45,000 fighters and was organizing them in military-style units. They meet regularly for training in the use of weapons and explosives, combat tactics and indoctrination and are controlled from local and district command centers under the organization’s national French command.”
“In Germany, Al Qaeda’s numbers are estimated at 25,000 to 30,000 men.”
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Today, French counter-terror sources are willing to admit, albeit on the quiet and not for attribution, that those clandestine terrorist cells may well be at the bottom of the current riots. They note the history of the Palestinian uprising, which kicked off in 1987 with stones and petrol bombs, only to evolve into a suicidal terrorist war by the late nineties. They fear this process may be beginning – not just in France but in the rest of Europe too, that the covert nucleus of trained and indoctrinated Islamic terrorists al Qaeda buried inside Europe is being turned against the continent, starting in France.

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