Mark Steyn thinks this is the opening salvo of the Eurabian Civil War.
HH: And so, you're not going to Paris anytime soon?
MS: I'm actually thinking of going to Paris. I went to one of these suburbs that's currently ablaze three years ago. And what was interesting to me is I had to bribe a taxi driver a considerable amount of money just to take me out there. They're miserable places. But what was interesting to me is that after that, I then flew on to the Middle East, and I was in Yemen, and a couple of other places. And what was interesting to me was that I found more menace in the suburbs of Paris than I did in some pretty scary places in the Middle East. I mean, there is a real...this, I think, is the start of a long Eurabian civil war we're witnessing here.
HH: Now that's a pretty provocative statement. Let's begin by...describe these for us. Are they like the Moscow or the Leningrad or the St. Petersberg tenements that stretch on and on?
MS: Well, actually, I would say they're more miserable than that...
Tempting as it is to blame the Muslims for everything (they pissed me off on 9/11 something severe, and I don't like the way they treat women) one must note that these people live in crappy conditions and permanent unemployment enforced by the French Welfare State. Like the Black Panthers say, "no justice, no peace". Its not just a slogan. More like a prediction.
HH: For Le Pen. Yeah. This is what...what option do they have if these riots continue, though? They can't appease people who won't be appeased.
Mark Steyn: No, they can't. And essentially, you're dealing with communities that are totally isolated from the mainstream of French life. Where all kinds of practices that wouldn't be tolerated, that are not officially tolerated by French law, such as polygamy, for example. Polygamy is openly practiced in these...in les Bonlier, as they call these suburbs, these Muslim quarters of Paris. I mean, we're talking about five miles from the Elysee Palace. Five miles from where Jacques Chirac sits. And you finally got...you know, we kept hearing all this stuff ever since September 11th, you know, the Muslim street is going to explode in anger. Well, it finally did, and it was in Paris, not in the Middle East.
On the other hand, we have this bit from Denmark where there is also rioting and burning etc. going on this week.
There's been more than an outcry and some marches, to put it mildly. For a tiny little mental reality check, imagine Toronto's Globe and Mail printing a Mohamed cartoon and the local Faithful burn down Rexdale. Better yet, the New York Times prints a cartoon of Jesus and the Moral Majority throws Molotov Cocktails for a week in Brooklyn.
A Danish experiment in testing "the limits of freedom of speech" has backfired - or succeeded spectacularly - after newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed provoked an outcry.
Thousands of Muslims have taken to the streets in protest at the caricatures, the newspaper that published them has received death threats and two of its cartoonists have been forced into hiding. Jyllands-Posten, Denmark's leading daily, defied Islam's ban on images of the Prophet by printing cartoons by 12 different artists.
Impressively, both the newspaper editor and the Danish Prime Minister have refused to apologize.
Carsten Juste, the editor of Jyllands-Posten, spurned demands that he apologise, saying he "would not dream" of saying sorry.
"To demand that we take religious feelings into consideration is irreconcilable with western democracy and freedom of expression," he said. "This doesn't mean that we want to insult any Muslims."
Good deal. Never get anywhere if you surrender before the fight. Something for the French to learn there. Notice also that it is the Right which is sticking up for freedom of expression here. Socialists don't care about rights. They care about gaining power and keeping it. Period.
The ambassadors of 11 Muslim countries called on Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the prime minister, to take "necessary steps" against the "defamation of Islam".
But Mr Rasmussen, the head of a centre-Right minority coalition dependent for its survival on support from an anti-foreigner party, called the cartoons a "necessary provocation" and refused to act.
"I will never accept that respect for a religious stance leads to the curtailment of criticism, humour and satire in the press," he said.