It's a hostile invasion, no doubt, but the silence of the media, the political elites, the free world, is unconscionable.
Bookshop in Seine-Saint-Denis, Marie-Neige Sardin was attacked twenty six times in seven years. She resists, while deploring the abandonment of the justice system.
No question for Marie-Neige Sardin, 54, of leaving her little bookshop in Bourget. Despite the vio¬lence and the intimidation, despite the shop-owners who used to be alongside her leaving, this energetic woman wants to yield nothing to her attackers. “In France an enormous number of people are living through what I live through in my banlieue”, she writes in the book she has just published. In it she denounces the weaknesses of a justice system that is too accommodating to delinquents. A shocking testimony.
Why have you written this book?
To serve witness. To what I’ve gone through and what other victims have lived through and are still living through, those who don’t have the means to make it known.
What have you gone through?
Twenty six attacks in seven years, some with extreme vio¬lence. I was raped. Don’t ask me to talk about it.
When was this?
22 June 2004. I had filed a complaint about an initial attack, in January the same year. Two men armed with a pistol and a tear gas canister stole the contents of the till and the scratch card games. I received a blow from the butt of the gun that time, which opened up a wound on my scalp. I was covered in blood. The rape took place a few days before a confrontation that was due to take place within the context of this affair. There were four of them. They said to me: “Withdraw your complaint. If not, we’ll do the same thing to your daughter.”
You recognised some of your attackers?
Yes, the head of the gang, on the police sheet. In my book I designate him with the initial G. He is known to the police for attacks, thefts, damage… I also identified one of the attackers. But it served no purpose.
With the break-in, the children’s judge dismissed the case. His mother and sister swore that G was sleeping at their house when the incident occurred. It was their word against mine. Theirs weighed more heavily than mine.
But there were witnesses… Yes, a father accompanied by his two children. In the end he abandoned his testimony, the two robbers threatened to attack his children … Two years later, G’s sister came for a package in the shop. I asked her why she swore that her brother was sleeping during the robbery. “I cover for him,” she told me. There was a priest in the shop at the time. He testified to what he had heard, but the case wasn’t reopened.
And with the rape?
There, too, the suspect said he wasn’t involved: he was sleeping at his brother’s house. The fingerprints the police took just after the rape couldn’t contradict him. So the judge dismissed the case, because of the lack of proof. Which didn’t prevent the gang in question from boasting all over the district about how they had raped me. A building security guard even went to the police to tell them about it, but nothing happened. (Read the rest here.)
One could say that Marie-Neige Sardin's experience was purely anecdoctal -- so let's look at the big picture, shall we?
More on this story. This Middle East Online report has additional information, but has a markedly different emphasis from the prior report. Here, Muslims have supposedly thrown up their hands in disillusionment with French democracy, which has "failed" them, turning instead to Islam, even as the report acknowledges "many residents are drawn to an Islamic identity rather than simply rejecting or failing to find a secular one."
France has so rudely decided to continue being French (unmitigated Gauls, if you will), and expected people who come to live there to do likewise.
"State is not ‘halal’: resentful immigrants turn to Islam in France," by Thibauld Malterre for Middle East Online, October 7 (thanks to Twostellas):Researchers say Islamic values are replacing those of republic which failed to deliver on its promise of 'equality'.Local communities in France's immigrant suburbs increasingly organise themselves on Islamic lines rather than following the values of the secular republic, according to a major new sociological study.Respected political scientist Gilles Kepel, a specialist in the Muslim world, led a team of researchers in a year-long project in Clichy-sous-Bois and Montfermeil, two Paris suburbs that exploded in riots in 2005.The resulting study -- "Suburbs of the Republic" -- found that religious institutions and practices are increasingly displacing those of the state and the French Republic, which has a strong secular tradition.Families from the districts, which are mainly populated by immigrants from north and west Africa and their descendants, regularly attend mosque, fast during Ramadan and boycott school meals that are not "halal".
Millions of schoolkids with food allergies, who are vegetarian, or who are avoiding meat on a Lenten Friday have packed their own lunch and managed to integrate among their peers just fine. A walkout of sorts at lunchtime may well be hoped to muscle the schools into providing halal meat and purging pork products from the menu.With between five and six million Muslim residents and citizens, France has the largest Islamic population in the European Union, and central government often struggles to address the challenges to integration that this poses.Kepel performed a similar study 25 years earlier, and told the daily Le Monde that the influence of Islam in the daily lives and cultural references of the suburbs has "diversified and intensified" since then.French schools, which are rigorously non-religious, have traditionally been seen as having the role of training young citizens of the republic, but local officials say Islamic pupils are heading home for a halal lunch."A certain number of children don't come to the canteen any more or, if they come, they only take a starter and dessert," Xavier Lemoine, the centre-right mayor of Monfermeil, told Europe 1 radio.Surveys suggest most in France do not object to mixed marriages, but in the suburbs the researchers were surprised find "a very large proportion of Muslim respondents said they were opposed to marriages with non-Muslims."
Did the research account for the distinction of whether respondents oppose Muslim men marrying non-Muslim women, or Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men? Sharia allows for the former, but not the latter.The researchers also delved into the reasons behind the 2005 riots, which they said had called into question modern France's founding myth "the implicit shared belief that the nation was always able to integrate people."While the resentment in the poor suburbs has social roots, essentially the residents' virtual exclusion from a tight jobs market, the rioters expressed frustration in a vocabulary "borrowed from Islam's semantic register."Islamic values are replacing those of a republic which failed to deliver on its promise of "equality", and the residents of the suburbs increasingly do not see themselves as French, the researchers said."One of the reasons for the strong role of Islam is that the Republic has withdrawn," warned Claude Dilain, the Socialist mayor of Clichy."Those who fell abandoned seek another identity, and Islam satisfies that well."But the report does not support the idea that the state has simply pulled back, to be replaced by Islam. The Clichy-Monfermeil agglomeration has been at the centre of one of France's biggest urban renewal programmes.Many physical barriers to integration have been removed, with efforts made to plug the area into public transport networks and improve public safety -- but unemployment and low school achievement remain high.A third of the population of the town does not hold French nationality, and many residents are drawn to an Islamic identity rather than simply rejecting or failing to find a secular one.Kepel's study was commissioned by the Institut Montaigne, which will make recommendations in January.The author warns: "France's future depends on its ability to re-integrate the suburbs into the national project."