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TBC Staff

Jewish World Review,11/7/05: Wake up, Europe, you’ve a war on your hands, by Mark Steyn [Excerpts]As Thursday’s edition of the Guardian reported in London: “French youths fired at police and burned over 300 cars last night as towns around Paris experienced their worst night of violence in a week of urban unrest.’’

‘’French youths,’’ huh? You mean Pierre and Jacques and Marcel and Alphonse?...It doesn’t take much time in les banlieues of Paris to discover that the rioters do not think of their primary identity as “French’’: They’re young men from North Africa growing ever more estranged from the broader community...and wedded ever more intensely to an assertive Muslim identity more implacable than anything you’re likely to find in the Middle East. After four somnolent years, it turns out finally that there really is an explosive “Arab street,’’ but it’s in Clichy-sous-Bois....

For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle....

The French have been here before: Seven-thirty-two. Not 7:32 Paris time...but 732 A.D.  By then, the Muslims had advanced a thousand miles north of Gibraltar to control Spain and southern France up to the banks of the Loire. In October 732, the Moorish general Abd al-Rahman and his Muslim army were...within 200 miles, just south of the great Frankish shrine of St. Martin of Tours. Somewhere on the road between Poitiers and Tours, they met a Frankish force and...this one held its ground “like a wall ...a firm glacial mass,’’ as the Chronicle of Isidore puts it. A week later, Abd al-Rahman was dead, the Muslims were heading south, and the French general, Charles, had earned himself the surname “Martel’’—or “the Hammer.’’

Poitiers was the high-water point of the Muslim tide in western Europe. It was an opportunistic raid by the Moors, but if they’d won, they’d have found it hard to resist pushing on to Paris, to the Rhine and beyond. “Perhaps,’’ wrote Edward Gibbon in The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, “the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mahomet.’’ There would be no Christian Europe. The Anglo-Celts who settled North America would have been Muslim....

Battles are very straightforward: Side A wins, Side B loses. But the French government is way beyond anything so clarifying. Today, a fearless Muslim advance has penetrated far deeper into Europe than Abd al-Rahman. They’re in Brussels, where Belgian police officers are advised not to be seen drinking coffee in public during Ramadan, and in Malmo, where Swedish ambulance drivers will not go without police escort....“There’s a civil war under way in Clichy-sous-Bois at the moment,’’ said Michel Thooris of the gendarmes’ trade union Action Police CFTC....

If Chirac isn’t exactly Charles Martel, the rioters aren’t doing a bad impression of the Muslim armies of 13 centuries ago: They’re seizing their opportunities, testing their foe, probing his weak spots. If burning the ’burbs gets you more “respect” from Chirac, they’ll burn ’em again, and again. In the current issue of City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple concludes a piece on British suicide bombers with this grim summation of the new Europe: “The sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced by the nightmare of permanent conflict.’’ Which sounds an awful lot like a new Dark Ages.

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