This random collection requires a strong stomach. Let’s start with The New York Times (January 9): “M. Steven Fish, a political scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, sought to quantify the correlation between Islam and violence . . . ‘Is Islam violent? I would say absolutely not,’ Mr. Fish said in an interview. ‘There is very little empirical evidence that Islam is violent.’”
“Don’t blame this bloodshed on France’s Muslims,” Nabila Ramadani sternly warned in The Guardian on January 8. Violence is inherent to Paris, she insists, and “the French capital has been associated with some of the worst barbarism in human history”:
As the history of Paris shows, extreme violence often inspires further violence. The bloody cycle continues, just as it has always done. But attributing its causes to millions of law-abiding French Muslims is as cynical as trying to blame it on a small group of artists and writers.
In the same organ of the British multiculturalist Left Owen Jones cautioned against vengeance and hatred against Muslims:
Social media abounds with Islamophobes seizing this atrocity to advance their hatred. Islam as an entire religion is responsible, they cry: it is incompatible with “western values”. They wish to homogenise Muslims, as though Malala and Mo Farah have anything in common with the sectarian murderers of Isis. This is a dangerous moment. Anti-Muslim prejudice is rampant in Europe. The favoured target of Europe’s far-right – like France’s Front National, which currently leads in the opinion polls – is Muslims. France is home to around 5 million Muslims, who disproportionately live in poverty and unemployment, often in ghettoised banlieues. This incident should rightfully horrify, but it will now undoubtedly fuel an already ascendant far-right. The consequences? More anti-Muslim hatred, more disillusionment among already marginalised young Muslims, more potential recruits for extremist groups.
In the same vein The Huffington Posts’s Barry Lando sees the carnage in Paris as a jihadist ploy “to strengthen the far-right movements of formerly shunned xenophobic leaders like Marine Le Pen, who have long campaigned against immigration and warned darkly of the coming Muslim takeover of France and the rest of Europe”:
By provoking widespread repression and islamophobia, the terrorists hope to convince France’s Muslims that they no longer have a place in the nation… The danger is that, over the coming days, French leaders, reacting to public fear and outrage, and desperate to compete with Marine Le Pen, will push for ever more draconian measures against immigrants in general, Muslims in particular.
France’s leaders, Lando concludes, “must continue to emphasize the unity of the nation, resist the mounting calls for drastic new laws, and the temptation to adopt the islamophobic slogans of the far right.”
“Charlie Hebdo Paris shooting may deepen ‘normalized Islamophobia’”, according to Canada’s CBC News. “Right-wing rhetoric in France could ‘destroy’ goodwill among Muslims, experts warn.” The specialist quoted is one Valerie Amiraux, who holds the Canada Research Chair for the study of Religious Pluralism:
“As an expert, I have to tell people you can’t use this event to systematically destroy the work that has been done to protect the rights of Muslims… The public in France has this natural tendency to be Islamophobic without being aware of it,” said Amiraux, who teaches sociology at the University of Montreal. “But the horror of what just happened cannot let us forget about rationality.”
The same news source quotes Patrick Simon, the Paris-based director of research at the International Demographics Institute, who argues that France’s laws on secularism are to blame because they “have targeted Islam, riding a wave of fear over a ‘great replacement’ of the French population”:
“This idea is that immigrants and ethnic minorities are taking over the French population in big cities and metropolises,” he said. Simon warned that concerns about diluting the country’s white, French stock could be inflamed by France’s far-right movement after the mass shooting at Charlie Hebdo. “This is a nightmare,” he said. “Not only because it’s a horrible massacre. It will also create more stigmatization of Muslims. It’s destroying years of support to try to create more understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims in French society.”
Und so weiter, ad nauseam. No comment needed for our readers. And yes, Attorney General Eric Holder is flying off to Paris this weekend for a meeting with the French Minister of Interior to discuss the threat of “Islamophobia.” “There can be no ‘us’ or ‘them’ among Americans,” Holder said at a 2010 dinner held by the California-based group Muslim Advocates. “And I believe that law enforcement has an obligation to ensure that members of every religious community enjoy the ability to worship and to practice their faith in peace, free from intimidation, violence or suspicion . . . We have also strengthened efforts to prevent and combat hate crimes — and to protect American Muslims from acts of violence and discrimination.”
Just what France needs.