Today there are around five million Muslims in France. These Muslims have come from all over, but the overwhelming majority is from North Africa. These people started coming to Europe after World War II when the area was in a state of disaster and they needed cheap labor. Now, it has turned into a battle between North African Muslims and the continent, more specifically France.
The most recent acts of violence occurred after two Muslim teenage boys were electrocuted when they jumped into an electricity sub-station. A third young man was taken to the hospital in very serious condition. The outrage happened when rumors began to spread that the boys were being chased by police. These rumors started the riots, but tensions grew when the police threw tear gas into a mosque. After the riots concluded, more than 150 fires had been set and 34 protestors had been arrested. Claude Dilain, the Mayor of Clichy-sous-Bois, the place at the center of the rioting, said that even if the neighborhood is calm tonight, it will not be "a victory, because we all have the feeling that this calm could be precarious. If French society accepts that there are tinderboxes within its borders, it can't be surprised when they explode".A burned-out shop front in Bondy, Paris
The riots in Paris that have occurred are just some of the concerns of the people of the area. They are worried that as more Muslims cross the borders into France, the terrorist threats increase. The riots have been one way that these concerns have been proven relevant. The rioters are North African immigrants, another term for Arab and Berber Muslims. There has been an uneasy feeling about these immigrants because of instances that have occurred over the last two decades. Things like "a plot in 1994 to blow up a high-jacked Air France plane over the Eiffel Tower, oblique remarks on Arab from right winger Jean Marie Le-Pen, vandalization of Jewish synagogues by Arab immigrants, or demanding the rescinding ban on head scarves" (AINA). This is just the start of problems that have occurred between the African Muslims and The French. Here are some more examples of the terrorism in the country. On May 24, 1996, seven French monks were kidnapped and later killed by the GIA (Groupes Islamiques Armes). In July and October 1995, there were many bomb explosions that took a heavy toll of human lives and damaged massive amounts of property. What has France done to counter act these attacks?
The French government, after the bombings, banned five Islamic periodicals and withdrew their financial assistance to the Paris Mosque. These two things along with operations against suspect Muslim activists have begun to help control the attacks on France.
How do the African Muslims feel about these acts? Dalil Boubakeur, the Imam of the Paris Mosque has expressed concern over the recent events. He stated, "What we fear is that France comes to see every Muslim as a potential terrorist". After hearing about the threat by Muslim activists to carry out more attacks, he said, "I feel the Algerian attacks would trigger reaction and counter reaction, triggering for instance a kind of witch hunt. I am appealing to reason, vigilance, and common sense".
Leiken, Robert S. (2005, July/August). Europe's Angry Muslims. Retrieved April 3, 2006, from http://www.cfr.org/publication/8218/europes_angry_muslims.html
Sam Knight and Agencies. (2005, November 2). Chirac begs for calm as Paris riots continue. Retrieved April 17, 2006 from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-1854843,00.html
Seljuq, Affan. Cultural Conflicts: North African Immigrants in France. Retrieved April 14, 2006 from http://www.gmu.edu/academic/ijps/vol2_2/seljuq.htm
Red State Patriot. (2006, April 4). Islam, Terrorism, and WMD Archives. Retrieved April 14, 2006 from http://redstatepatriot.com/islam_terrorism_and_wmd/
Dutta, Pryadarsi. (2005, November 12). Islam's March on to Paris?. Retrieved March 24, 2006 from http://www.aina.org/news/20051112112006.htm