November 9, 2005

IT’S NOT JIHAD, AND NEVER HAS BEEN: Jim Dunnigan on the French riots:

Thus, the street violence is partly a lark, because the kids know the cops are not going to use lethal force, and anyone who gets caught will, at worst, do maybe a year in the slammer (for burning cars looting stores). The drug gangs encourage the violence as a way to intimidate the cops. When the violence dies down, the gang bosses can threaten the local cops with a revival, if the cops do not back off (when it comes to the drug trade).

There are some Islamic radicals running around in all this, but they are a minority. The Moslem kids like to talk about respect and payback, but very few see this as a religious war. It’s become a sport, with various groups competing to cause the most destruction. Text messaging, Internet bulletin boards and email made it possible for the rioters to stay in touch and compare notes. The media coverage also encouraged the violence, giving the kids some positive (for them) feedback.

But now, nearly two weeks of street violence have thoroughly embarrassed the government so much that curfews and more arrests have taken some of the joy out of these Autumn antics. But it’s not jihad, and never has been.

I certainly hope he’s right.

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