By Thomas D. Segal, email@example.com
Harlingen, Texas, May 2, 2004: There are more than one billion Muslims in the world. The largest Muslim population, totaling 180 million, is in Indonesia. It is followed by 125 million in Pakistan, Bangladesh with 109 million and India with 84 million. The remainder is spread through 100 countries, including an estimated 5 million Muslims in France.
Though the figure 5 million may not seem large when viewed next to the populations of countries such as Indonesia, it still represents almost twenty percent of the people in France. What it has done to this western nation is negatively impact it so severely that it may soon lose its European identity. In fact, if the birth rate continues as projected, France will have a Muslim majority in less than 25 years.
According to International Limits To Growth organization writer Brenda Walker, France should be seen as a cautionary tale of immigration run amok, and how quickly things can get out of control. Muslim immigration to France is a post-war phenomenon for the most part. Just a few decades of high immigration of a group with high fertility has put France in the unenviable position of being the European nation thought most likely to be the first to introduce sharia (Islamic) law.
The constant appeasement attitude of officials has also been seen to embolden the Muslim population into making strong demands on the country. As they grow in numbers most French Muslims feel they can impose the will of Islam on the entire country. There is also the threat of violence, which is always a concern by French leaders. They have already seen an increase in crime and violence against women among the Arab immigrants.
Starting in the year 2000, following the Intifada uprising, France started to experience an escalation of crimes against its Jewish citizens. Six synagogues were burned down in less than three weeks. The perpetrators were Muslims. By 2002 France was experiencing 12 anti-Semitic incidents daily. The Muslim population had grown 10 times larger than the country's Jewish community and by sheer numbers had placed themselves in a position where anti-Semitism seemed to no longer be a concern of those in government. Today French Muslims outnumber all non-Catholic ethnic and religious factions in the country combined, including Protestants and Jews.
Also frightening to the French government is the lack of assimilation into national identity by these immigrants. Decades of immigration have produced a large class of young men who claim Islam, not France, as their identity and consider crime as an acceptable life style.
As France became more and more concerned about the attitudes of its Muslims, more forms of appeasement were offered. The Muslim Brotherhood, an outlaw organization in Egypt, was given official status and allowed to preach its message of hate. One of the basic Brotherhood themes is: it is a duty to kill in the name of Allah. France also decided to make Muslims more mainstream by giving them a national council. What was thought would be a voice of Muslim moderation became instead the voice of radical Islam.
By the time the United States was seeking United Nations resolutions on Iraq the French-Muslim connection was so strong that as a country they preferred an Iraqi victory and strongly rejected the United States position. There are many who feel that France lives in such fear of a violent uprising by its Muslim population that it can never take a strong western position on anything. There are writers such as Guy Milierre who have remarked, ³France behaves more and more as if she does not belong to the West any more and as though she is the leader of the Third World.
If this fear of its own population does not seem possible to the reader, consider this:
* Ten Arab men were convicted of raping a teenage girl. The Arab families left the court shouting revenge. Eight days later the court was burned to the ground and the girl along with her family had to flee for their lives.
* More than 23,000 French prison inmates are Muslim. This is more than six times the proportion of Muslims to the overall French population.
* From Marselle to Paris synagogues have been destroyed, Jewish men, women and children have been attacked, and schools and school buses of Jews have been stoned. Even with the strong anti-Semitic violence so openly displayed, few officials speak out and fewer members of the media report the incidents.
With all of this as a background Al Qaeda is rapidly recruiting new members. In France the terrorist organization, according to best estimates, has created military style units of between 35 and 45 thousand men.