In France, nothing says ‘Happy New Year’ like hundreds of cars burning. Burn out the old year; torch in the new. France celebrated the onset of 2013 in its uniquely pyromaniac fashion, with officials reporting that nearly 1,200 cars were torched overnight from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 — 209 of them in the Paris area alone.
Time World Those figures marked a 4% increase over the 1,147 autos set ablaze on the same night in 2009 — the last year for which French officials released figures on the nation’s peculiar New Year rite. This time the record for the greatest number of torchings is proudly claimed – surprise, surprise! – by the Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis, which is by pure coincidence home to a large North African MUSLIM community.
The mere fact the government of Socialist President François Hollande resumed publication of the burnt-car toll also caused sparks to fly. As the debate raged over whether to publicize the nation’s flaming-auto fetish, some French observers sought explanations for the singularly antisocial custom of car toasting.
More amazing, still, is the fact that the New Year’s Eve auto roast is only part of the story. In announcing the New Year’s Eve tally on Jan. 2, Interior Minister Manuel Valls also revealed that figures provided by fire, police and insurance officials indicate that somewhere between 42,000 and 60,000 automobiles are intentionally torched in France every year.
The majority of those go up in smoke in or near the immigrant suburban housing projects located outside most French cities. Indeed, the rest of the world first took notice of France’s distinctive car-burning penchant during the three weeks of nationwide rioting in French housing projects in 2005, when 8,810 automobiles were incinerated by enraged Muslim youths. Yet, despite that riot-driven surge of car arson, year-end figures of around 43,000 for 2005 came in at around normal levels. Normal, that is, for flame-happy France.
The Trumpet Fireworks are the most traditional way to celebrate the New Year. But in certain French cities, immigrant youth burn cars. That’s right. The New Year’s Eve car burning has become so regular it is almost a tradition.
Naturally, the story has gathered a lot of media attention. But all the mainstream reports on the subject are strangely vague about one thing—who is doing the burning. Every student of journalism learns that his or her article should answer the “five Ws”: who, what, when, where and why (and sometimes “how”). Who is invariably listed first.
Why have so many journalists suddenly forgotten their basic training? Perhaps the French media are keeping quiet for fear that publishing the truth will pour oil on the flames. Who are these rioting youths? The mainstream reports contain the hints necessary to put it all together.
Car burning “also became a voice of protest during the fiery unrest by despairing youths from housing projects that swept France in the fall of 2005,” continues AP. “At the time, police counted 8,810 vehicles burned in less than three weeks.
“Yet even then, cars were not burned in big cities like Paris, and that remained the case this New Year’s Eve. [Interior Minister Manuel] Valls said the Paris suburban region of Seine-Saint-Denis, where the 2005 unrest started, led the nation for torched cars, followed by two eastern regions around Strasbourg.”
Who rioted in 2005? At the time, the New York Times wrote that “a majority of the youths committing the acts are Muslim, and of African or North African origin.” Seine-Saint-Denis is heavily Muslim.
Even the Iranian state-owned Press TV notes the connection between car burning and Muslim districts. “While not a single car was burned in Paris, its suburban region of Seine Saint Denis led the nation in torchings,” it wrote. “Heavily Muslim and just as heavily dependent on welfare, the area has 75 percent of the population of Paris, but Paris is protected by five times as many police officers.”
Whether you believe that Muslims are rioting or that French police refuse to protect France’s poor Muslim districts (à la Press TV), it’s clear France has a problem with Islam. And that’s becoming obvious to the French too. They can hardly escape it after last year’s shocking attacks on Jews.
This week, the Gatestone Institute, a U.S.-based think tank, published a comprehensive report titled “The Islamization of France” detailing Islam’s confrontations with French society.
“In August, the French government announced a plan to boost policing in 15 of the most crime-ridden parts of France, in an effort to reassert state control over the country’s so-called ‘no go’ zones (Muslim-dominated neighborhoods that are largely off limits to non-Muslims),” it wrote. These zones “include heavily Muslim parts of Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg, Lille and Amiens,” according to the report—in other words, the areas where people burn cars. Obviously the government’s plan hasn’t succeeded.
But the Gatestone Institute’s report notes that French attitudes to Islam are changing. “Opinion surveys show that to voters in France … Islam and the question of Muslim immigration have emerged in 2012 as a top-ranked public concern,” it writes. “The French, it seems, are increasingly worried about the establishment of a parallel Muslim society there.” The government’s efforts, however, “were halting and half-hearted,” the report said.
A survey published in October last year found that 60 percent believe Islam has become “too visible and influential.” Forty-three percent said the presence of Muslim immigrants is a threat to French national identity, compared to 17 percent who said it enriches society. Sixty-three percent oppose Muslim women wearing veils or Islamic headscarves in public. Only 18 percent support the building of new mosques.
“Our poll shows a further hardening in French people’s opinions,” said the head of the French Institute of Public Opinion’s polling department, Jerome Fourquet. “In recent years, there has not been a week when Islam has not been in the heart of the news for social reasons: the veil, halal food, dramatic news like terrorist attacks or geopolitical reasons.”
The most headline-grabbing resistance to radical Islam came from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Islamists firebombed its offices in November 2011 after it published cartoons of Mohammed. Its response? This week it published Mohammed’s biography in cartoon form.
Nearly a thousand years ago, France was at the heart of the clash between Islam and Europe’s Christian civilization. Now, as home to the EU’s largest Muslim population, it is at the heart of that clash once again. The politics haven’t changed to reflect this. But the people have.
Islam vs Europe One of the best indicators of the sheer malignancy of the Muslim mindset is the way jihad attacks are stepped up on days that are special or sacred to the Muslims’ victims. Christmas, for example, now brings a flurry of jihad attacks each year, no longer just in the Middle East but around Europe and elsewhere too. As well as the high profile terrorist incidents, the Muslims find ways of expressing their contempt for the infidel through many smaller-scale church burnings and desecrations that rarely make national headlines.
In France, Bastille Day, has become another such occasion. What, for the French people, is a day of celebration, one in which they express their sense of national togetherness, is, for the Muslim invaders currently colonising their country, a day of rage, an opportunity for them to express their malignant contempt for the French people.
The night before Bastille Day has now become a time of ritualised violence in France. Every year, Muslims set fire to cars and engage in pitched battles with the French police. Look at the video above. It’s like something out of Beirut or Gaza.
Muslims are now apparently competing with one another to see who can destroy France the fastest. According to a police trade union spokesman, two adjacent “problem” housing estates, Bois Labbé and des Mordacs, are engaged in a “ferocious competition” with one another.