Third-generation French Muslims rebel against failed Western model

2023-07-08 16:33:55
Third-generation French Muslims rebel against failed Western model

By Ramin Mazaheri

France has witnessed a week of angry protests - “rioting” to reactionary commentators - following the inexcusably brutal slaying of a 17-year-old boy of Algerian-Moroccan descent by French police.

Viral video of the murder showed unnecessary, reckless and racist police brutality that even the French government was forced to condemn, although very reluctantly.

We have been here before.

Three weeks of anti-racism protests in 2005 were an irreparable blow to France’s international image because it was the first time the world became aware that systemic racism was just as present in France as it was in its imperialist allies, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Until 2005, France had touted that its universalist (White assimilationist) model of integration was superior to the multicultural (de facto segregationist) model common to Anglophone countries.

The rebellion proved that France, too, had an enormously repressed, neglected and alienated non-White underclass.

I doubt the French police will be foolish enough to repeat the tactic which caused the rebellion in 2005 to hit a higher gear: police fired tear gas into the mosque of a key Parisian suburb, during the holy month of Ramadan.

That stretched the unrest for three weeks, resulting in the declaration of a state of emergency to suspend democratic rights.

However, this time may be different, and it’s not because of the advent of social media, as French President Emmanuel Macron keeps insisting. What we are witnessing is the rise to political consciousness and activism of the youngest generation of French Muslims.

Muslim immigration to France is so recent that it can be easily summarised. It’s equally easy to explode the common myth that there was a historical era where the French model of integration actually worked.

It is inaccurate to say that France’s era of Muslim immigration began with the rebuilding after World War II: What they primarily had until 1976 was a male Muslim migrant worker class (as well as the rather non-representative “harkis” - Algerians who fought alongside France during the Algerian War for Independence (1954-62)).

That year saw the Family Relocation Act, which allowed these migrant workers to bring over their families, and it’s only here that we can accurately say that a true, complete era of “French Muslims” began. This was the middle of the alleged “actually worked” phase.

In reality, this was a phase when French Muslims were silent, fearful, over-accommodating and absent from the nation’s cultural and political scenes.

These were fresh immigrants, after all: ignored, exploited and subject to absurd assumptions, which is to some extent the universal experience of all first-generation immigrants.

Read full article at Press TV


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