Immediately after the [Charlie Hebdo] murders the French press focused almost exclusively on the killers and their milieu: the poor neighborhoods, the radical preachers, imprisoned terrorists, and the international jihadist network that furnished arms, training, and indoctrination. While disturbing, none of this news was surprising (though the French had greatly underestimated the effect of the prisons, where young men who commit petty crimes fall under the spell of radical fundamentalists with terrorist connections). Western countries have had enough experience with Islamist terrorism to know how it breeds.
What genuinely shocked the public, and the political and intellectual classes that claim to speak for it, was the news that a noticeable number of students in what are euphemistically called here les quartiers (meaning poor and heavily Muslim neighborhoods) refused to recognize the moment of silence President Hollande had called for. And not only that. Some told their teachers that the victims got what they deserved because no one should be allowed to mock the Prophet; others celebrated the killers on social media, and circulated rumors that the entire crisis was manufactured by the government and/or Zionist agents.
France, alone among European nations, prides itself on laicity — secularism. That’s one of the reasons the French thought they could absorb millions of aliens who, they thought, would drop their allegiance to their “faith” and get with the multi-culti program. Mais non!
It is the multiculturalist [view] that seems the least in touch with social and political reality today. Not because the French don’t need to learn to accommodate more differences, but because it refuses to recognize the very disturbing developments in the Islamic world today (which are anything but accommodating to differences) and how they have already affected French life. The current mantra, which President Hollande felt obliged to repeat, is that Islamic terrorism has “nothing to do with Islam” and that the most important thing is not to “make an amalgam” of all Muslims. (The Socialist mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, went even further, declaring the terrorists to be “without faith”—in other words, infidels.) But this attitude only reinforces an institutional and intellectual omertà that makes it difficult even to discuss what is really going on in the schools.
When belief in something, no matter how evil, meets belief in nothing, no matter how secular, something always wins. Read the whole thing.