Skip to comments.In Suburban Squalor Near Paris, Echoes of Jihad
Posted on 05/19/2002 2:48:10 PM PDT by remaininlight
October 16, 2001
LA COURNEUVE JOURNAL
In Suburban Squalor Near Paris, Echoes of Jihad
By CHRIS HEDGES
Elise Colette for The New York TimesLaala Teula, 66, and his wife outside their apartment building in La Cité des 4,000. The Algerian immigrants are part of a huge Muslim population in France.
The Associated PressA policemen dragged away a spectator after dozens of Algerian supporters invaded the field during the France-Algeria soccer match on Oct. 6.
A COURNEUVE, France La Cité des 4,000 is a slate-gray housing project where many Muslim immigrants live in apartments with windows closed off by cement blocks, trash spills down stairwells, gangs openly deal cocaine and hashish, and the burned-out hulks of cars lie in parking lots.
Like many pockets of poor Muslim immigrants, La Cité is a world unto itself, where young men are caught in a profound and disturbing identity crisis, suffer the sting of racism and the plague of unemployment. Some have come to see in Osama bin Laden, the man America is trying to bomb into submission, as a savior.
It does not take long in La Cité des 4,000, nicknamed the Bronx because of the high crime rate, to understand why France's four million Muslims constitute a social and political powder keg. France has expressed strong support for America's war on terrorism, but the government is clearly concerned about containing Muslim anger at home.
That anger was evident on Oct. 6 when, for the first time since Algeria's bitter war for independence from France, the two countries played a soccer match. French-born Muslims hooted and whistled during the French national anthem. The crowd chanted "Bin Laden! Bin Laden! Bin Laden!" and pelted two French ministers, both women, with bottles.
When it was clear that the Algerian team would lose, the Algerian fans stormed the field waving Algerian flags and stopped the match.
The turmoil was striking not least because France's relationship with its large Muslim population appeared to have improved after France won the World Cup soccer tournament in 1998 with a team that included immigrants and the children of immigrants. The star of the team was Zinedine Zidane, a brilliant player of Algerian descent.
That progress now seems to have evaporated. At La Cité, it seems clear that Mr. bin Laden has contrived to express the rage of many dispossessed Muslims.
"You want us to weep for the Americans when they bomb and kill Palestinians and Iraqis every day?" said Mohaam Abak, 21, a Moroccan immigrant who sat with two friends on a bench. "We want more Americans to die so they can begin to see what it feels like."
All the tensions between France's Muslims, most from North Africa, and the rest of French society have bubbled into the open in the last month in the sprawling "banlieue," the working-class suburbs populated by ethnic minorities that surround most French cities.
La Cité des 4,000 named because it had 4,000 public housing apartments at the time of its construction is the most notorious. Heavily armed policemen, since Sept. 11, have become more visible, where they patrol past huge spray-painted slogans that denounce the French government as fascist.
Moroccan and Algerian flags hang from windows, placed there the day the bombing strikes on Afghanistan began. When news of the attack on the World Trade Center reached the projects, young men streamed onto the cracked cement courtyards outside the 15-story apartment blocks to clap, whistle, cheer and shout in Arabic, "God is great!"
"America declared war on Muslims a long time ago," said Laala Teula, 66, an Algerian immigrant who worked for many years as a mechanic for the railroad. "This is just the response."
Evidently concerned, the government has appealed for the integration of Muslims. "Young people, whatever their origin, are at home in here," said the French interior minister, Daniel Vaillant, this past Saturday, "but they must behave as French who desire peace and national cohesion."
In this bleak suburban environment, such appeals have little impact. Claudette Dana, 47, waits for the elevator to her seventh-floor apartment. In the foyer outside, seven young men, all of North African descent and members of one of the three major gangs that dominate the projects, stand waiting. They throw rocks at the reporter she is speaking with, curse the United States and begin, like many who saw someone new visiting the projects, to chant "Osama bin Laden! Osama bin Laden! Osama bin Laden!" Mrs. Dana, whose husband is a firefighter and who lives on a disability check after two bouts with cancer, says that in the 30 years she has lived in the projects she has never seen such anger.
When the elevator door opens on the seventh floor, she points to a freshly painted white swath on the wall. Mrs. Dana, one of the few Jews in the projects, came home a few days ago to find the words "Death to the Jews" scrawled next to her door.
"I had to paint that slogan out," she says. "It scared my two sons. They want us to move."
The French government has plans to tear down the dreary blocks, standing northeast of Paris and built in the 1960's, which are now run down and beyond repair.
One 15-story block, home to 1,200 people, was demolished a year ago, and Mrs. Dana said her building would go, as soon as the government finds a place to move everyone. But the eradication of the buildings will probably do little to bridge the chasm between those of North African descent and the rest of European society.
French Ministry of Interior officials who direct the battle against the cells linked with Mr. bin Laden's network have arrested 30 Muslims in recent days suspected of plotting attacks, including four who they say planned an attack during the France- Algeria soccer match.
Several members of armed terrorist cells, including two who in 1994 machine-gunned the lobby of a hotel in Marrakesh, killing two Spanish tourists and seriously wounding a third, came from La Cite des 4,000. At least two dozen young men from the projects received training in camps in Afghanistan, French officials said.
"There is little in their lives that validates them," said a French Ministry of Interior official. "They find in radical Islam a cause."
Islam spreads its love all over the world.
Another sign that the Arab rulers, religious radicals, and collabo western lefties have successfully deflected and channeled all anger to a relatively small land dispute involving jews. I guess that's nothing new for the past few millenia.
Here's a happy thought from Middle East expert Daniel Pipes:
Islamists constitute a small but significant minority of Muslims, perhaps 10 to 15 per cent of the population. Many of them are peaceable in apearance, but they all must be considered potential killers.
How does 400,000 to 800,000 -- in our country -- potential killers sound?
America's Fifth Column ... watch PBS documentary JIHAD! In America
Download 8 Mb zip file here (60 minute video)
In my opinion, the greatest cause of gang violence anywhere, Islamic, black, hispanic, whatever.
Victor Davis Hanson, a professor of Classics at California State University
Seems the INS has been very busy importing this problem. Time to slam the door on them or get ready for "echos of Jihad" in a neighborhood near you.
But that was before Le Pen shocked everyone by winning 17% of the vote. Now it's all racist white boys who harass the Jews. This "Death to the Jews" crap will never be heard by anyone.
How about moving them back where they came from?
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