French Resolve

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From the Washington Post:

France will not revoke a law banning Muslim head scarves in public schools despite demands by a militant Islamic group holding two French journalists hostage in Iraq.

Give the terrorists responsible this much credit: They are beginning to master Western rights rhetoric, mixing group-based outrage with appeals to individual liberty:

The militants claiming to hold [journalists] Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot described the head scarf law as "an aggression on the Islamic religion and personal freedoms," according to Arab TV station Al-Jazeera.

And give French officials credit for mastering Orwellian doublespeak. "France ensures equality, the respect and protection of the free practicing of all religions," pronounced Jacques Chirac in a televised speech. "These values of respect and tolerance inspire our actions everywhere in the world … They also inspired France's policy in Iraq."

Whole Post piece here.

Depending on how this plays out, I could see this incident becoming a turning point in "Old Europe's" attitudes toward Islamists in the Middle East.

NEXT: Pot People for Kerry

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  1. joe, it seems to me Islamic nut jobs of various stripes have been trying to influence policy for decades now. The deviation from this pattern was 9/11. Going back to making specific demands rather than trying to bring on the apocalypse is a retreat, not an advancement for them.

  2. Lone Wolf,

    If I?m wrong about you, please, just renounce the kind of separation I suspect you crave, and you?ll have my full apology.

    ?until then, I don?t have any answers to your questions, and I don?t have anything to learn from you.

    I gotta hand it to you for not running with the pack; if I were more courageous, I?d post my views where they would be less welcome. But I like it here. There are a lot of people who love freedom the way I do;…you can?t blame me for crying Wolf.

    https://www.reason.com/hitandrun/006570.shtml

    So your point is that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to practice their own version of banking because you don?t agree with their interpretation of the Qu?ran? When you start referencing such bizarre arguments and making vague suggestions about Wahabi plots to infiltrate the international banking system, it makes you sound like a neo-nazi scumbag! After reading something like that, how could I not ask?

    Your comments would be a lot more interesting if you would take the time out to denounce…um…I dunno?how ’bout Hitler? That should be easy enough for anybody!

    So why don’t you write something to the effect that Adolf Hitler should be universally despised, specifically, because he murdered more than five million Jews…if you can?

    I dare you.

    P.S. So many people would love to see me apologize; what a treat! And all you have to do…

  3. When I want interpretations of the Koran, I always to the Telegraph first.

    What, Wacko, is the connection between that article and my point?

    Todd,

    My point was a small one – there ARE various stripes, not all of whom are in absolute agreement, not all of whom are actually are enemies, and it is helpful to to assist those who wish to gell them all into one monolithic mass. As we’re had ample opportunity to learn over the last century, when that happens, it is usually the most radical who end up at the larger movement’s head.

  4. Article on France’s response to terrorism. Summary – very tough, though probably not tough enough some folks.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1092280020498&apage=1

    Doug Allen,

    Since when is France part of the Anglosphere ?

  5. thoreau,

    1) Get some bad-ass French Marines (paging Jean Gunnels! Um, I mean, Paging Jean Bart! 😉 to pop a cap in the ass of each hostage taker.

    I am not Jean Bart.

    Would the U.S. even let the French military go into Iraq?

    2) After a few months have passed, revoke the idiotic head scarf ban. Not because of the hostages, but because it was the right thing to do anyway. I won’t get into debates over whether there’s an inherent moral “right” to wear a religious symbol in a government school, but I really don’t see any good reason to ban it. However, I can see the point of waiting a few months to avoid any implication that it’s a response to terrorism.

    The problem with that is that the law is pretty popular.

  6. thoreau,

    BTW, your suspicions are correct; a little bird tells me that more “direct” action might be in the works.

  7. > “Since when is France part of the Anglosphere?”

    Mistaken use of terminology. A Case of the Mondays.

  8. Doug Allen,

    You’ve been watching “Office Space” too much. 🙂

  9. Wasn’t there a three or four month cease fire for European nations to get out of Iraq before Al Queda started in on them?

    Did the time limit run out?

  10. Gary-

    I don’t actually think you’re Jean Bart, but I still enjoy joking about it.

  11. So your point is that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to practice their own version of banking because you don?t agree with their interpretation of the Qu?ran? When you start referencing such bizarre arguments and making vague suggestions about Wahabi plots to infiltrate the international banking system, it makes you sound like a neo-nazi scumbag! After reading something like that, how could I not ask?

    Ken: I appreciate my fans, but, at some point every famous person realizes stardom is just too much.

    I’d also suggest you seek help with that reading problem you have. You know, the one were you read something – or, just as likely, fail to read something – and then completely misinterpret it. Try reading the Telegraph column again, and this time take notes or try writing a summary.

    That way, when you comment on something, you’ll have a bit more credibility.

  12. Is it just me, or are most of the governments in “old europe” younger than the US? France had a revolution after we did. Germany, Italy, Spain – they’ve all experienced regime change since WW2. Why call it old europe then? Much of it is no older than my grandfather – and our nation is more than twice as old as him.

  13. But wait, I heard the Islamists are only mad at countries that support Isreal. Perhaps some of the Blame America for the Middle East people will see that all the appeasement in the world won’t stop the radicals from their religious crusade. Although I like to see France squirm, I hope they hold firm in their head scarf policy (right or wrong)or we’ll only see more and more kidnappings.

  14. I think France is determined to have everyone despise them. This country has out-of-control anti-semitism, yet the muslims STILL hate them? Please.

  15. Nick,

    I actually think the beginning of that change may have occurred a couple of days ago when a much-respected Italian journalist was murdered–apparently by the same group which has Chesnot and Malbrunot. That provoked quite a shock in Europe. By the way, I know Malbrunot for having met with him several times in Beirut. He’s a real professional, one of the few who knows the region well and who never hesitates to report from the scenes of its myriad crimes. I do hope he and Chesnot make it.

  16. The headscarf policy IS an infringment on personal freedom. But so much worse is kidnapping innocent people, though perhaps not as bad as having ignorant bigoted anti-French and “anti-raghead” feelings of the obligatory nationalist type of political correctness.

  17. I’m not reading anything into anything, at least, not yet. But I’ve asked you a couple of questions, and I’m looking forward to the answers.

    Do you or do you not agree that Adolf Hitler should be universally despised, specifically, for murdering more than five million Jews?

    Are you or are you not willing to disavow yourself of any affinity, whatsoever, for the separation of different races?

    I’m aware of the ad hominen foundation these questions are based on. Just because a man is a Mooney doesn’t mean that he can’t make a rational point on a question of religion and just because a man is a neo-nazi doesn’t mean that he can’t make a rational point on questions of politics. But, personally, I’ve argued with enough neo-nazis in my time, and life is too short, and I just don?t want to argue with neo-nazis anymore.

    Your policy positions, to my eye, seem to be indistinguishable from those of well know neo-nazi groups, and every time I question you about them, instead of getting a straight answer, you dismiss my questions with observations about my ignorance, and, now, my credibility.

    You seem to have a lot a local knowledge regarding an area of the country that is world renowned for organizing neo-nazis and propagating neo-nazi propaganda. Your handle is remarkably similar to the term “Lone Wolf”, a well known strategy for advancing the neo-nazi cause most famously advocated by a neo-nazi leader from the geographical area with which you seem to be familiar. “Lone Wolf” as a strategy would have an operative legally and openly go to a libertarian blog and post comments with a neo-nazi spin to counter libertarian posts contrary to the Third Way, would it not?

    There’s nothing wrong with that per se. I post here to advance my ideas too.

    But if you’re advocating some kind of variation on the Third Way, or some other anti-capitalist or neo-nazi agenda, on a blog with the slogan “Free Minds and Free Markets”, then you can’t expect a heart felt libertarian like me to pretend that there isn’t a neo-nazi in our midst trying to water down our message in every third thread. The people here at Hit & Run are magnanimous, Lone Wolf; certainly more so than I am. They may not even mind what you’re doing if that’s what you’re doing, but, I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can’t expect me, personally, to pretend that you’re not doing it, once again, if that?s, indeed, what you?re doing.

    There are two questions above that 99% of all Americans, in seconds, will all answer in the same way. I don’t know if you’re a neo-nazi or not, but I have known neo-nazis, and I swear, you read like one. Answer the questions please. Are you a neo-nazi?

    I used to work with a lot of government employees. When libertarians talk about how horrible government employees are, I tell them that they have good attributes; for instance, they’re meticulous. Like I said, in my punk rock youth, I knew some neo-nazis, and I can say, at least, one thing good about them too. They had integrity, by which I mean that they lived what they believed. They’d prefer to have been disowned, ostracized, beaten, shot at, harassed and arrested rather than pretend for a second that they weren?t who they were or pretend that they didn’t believe what they believed.

    Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Answer the two questions above or ‘fess up. Heck, even if you are a neo-nazi, you?re probably not even the most radical regular poster on this blog.

    …and besides, if I’m wrong, you’ll have the unusual privilege of being the recipient of one of my few heartfelt apologies.

  18. You don’t know how lucky you are that the French didn’t ban your “veiled subscription pitch.”

  19. The fact that this group is trying to get a country to change a raltively minor, internal policy suggests to me that they’re not coming from the same place as, say, Al Qaeda. At the very least, they’ve adopted a strategy of incrementalism in pursuit of an Islamic globe; at most, they really are focusing on specific grievances, rather than a “clash of cultures.”

    Monolithic thinking screwed up our efforts to contain Communism, and drove unlike parties into each others arms. It would be a shame if the same happened in the struggle against jihadists.

  20. My typing skills have deteriorated to the point that I made exactly the opposite point that I intended to make. Please, just ignore my above post.

  21. Joe said, “Monolithic thinking screwed up our efforts to contain Communism, and drove unlike parties into each others arms. It would be a shame if the same happened in the struggle against jihadists.”

    It is a shame because it IS happening.
    As we rational Hit and Runners watch from the sidelines, two groups of monolithic thinkers are like deer caught in each others headlights.

  22. So everyone who wears Arab/Islamic head coverings count as “terrorists and those who do their PR work?”

    Nice.

  23. I could see this incident becoming a turning point in “Old Europe’s” attitudes toward Islamists in the Middle East.

    Perhaps, if you accept the right-wing trope that “Old Europe” somehow doesn’t feel that Islamic terrorism is a problem. In the real world, western Europe, France in particular, has been dealing with Islamic terrorist threats for decades. If the French hadn’t foiled the hijacking of Air France flight 8969, there wouldn’t be an Eiffel Tower today, and 9/11 would have just been its sequel.

  24. “If the French hadn’t foiled the hijacking of Air France flight 8969, there wouldn’t be an Eiffel Tower today, and 9/11 would have just been its sequel.”

    Wow, which uninvolved secular government did they topple to keep THAT from happening?

  25. But if you’re advocating some kind of variation on the Third Way, or some other anti-capitalist or neo-nazi agenda, on a blog with the slogan “Free Minds and Free Markets”, then you can’t expect a heart felt libertarian like me to pretend that there isn’t a neo-nazi in our midst trying to water down our message in every third thread.

    Like I said Ken, I appreciate the attention, but don’t you think it’s time you took your meds?

  26. The French are right. You go to school to learn, not to profess your faith.
    Since the schools are public, the government has the right to establish dress codes.
    This is no different than schools here banning head scarves associated with gangs.

  27. I agree the govenrment has that right, however:

    1) the “rights” of government need to yield when they bump up against the rights (no quote marks) of individuals.

    2) while they may have the legal authority to establish dress codes, it is inadvisable for them to establish really stupid ones than go against the public’s interests.

    How many girls are going to be kept home, or sent to private madrassas, instead of going to the public schools, because of this policy? Is that the best way for France to promote national unity and secular tolerance among its Muslim populace?

  28. When you accept the premise that one has a “right” to education, the “right” to force others to provide that education, you lose all credibility. How can we speak of a right to wear headscarves in this context?

  29. The reports about these kidnappers often project them as a well organized group with a specific agenda, but this latest demand seems to suggest that they’re just grabbing whoever they can and divining a demand after the fact. Protesting changes in the dress code makes them look like a bunch of disaffected high school children. If it hadn’t been for the headscarf policy, maybe the kidnappers would have demanded halal lunches in school or, better yet, maybe they would have demanded that French officials cancel the prom.

    “Depending on how this plays out, I could see this incident becoming a turning point in “Old Europe’s” attitudes toward Islamists in the Middle East.”

    When I bet against your prediction of how the people of South Korea were likely to react to the beheading of a South Korean captive, I got clobbered; so I won’t bet against you this time. But I do wish you would elaborate. Are you suggesting that the outrage of the French people in reaction to a beheading might drive Chirac to join the Coalition in Iraq?

  30. I don’t think this will change any of France’s attitudes toward the Iraq War in itself. For the most part, the majority will still be stridently against it.

    But this may provide the French citizens some valuable insight into who exactly they are dealing with. Through the Palestinian intifada and Iraq War, its viewpoints have enabled France to be among the Islamic World’s “best friends” in the Anglosphere. And yet, the militant wing repays them by threatening the heads of two journalists over a domestic public school dress code.

  31. What France is doing is a relatively minor infringment on personal liberty; it might also be unwise too. It is also true that France has traditionally been quite good at dealing with terrorism.

    BTW, as I understand it, eastern Europeans are generally pissed off when Americans talk about “Old” and “New” Europe – they don’t like the notion of such a division in part because of the Cold War’s division of Europe.

    Finally, neither of these reporters deserves to have their heads lopped off; I like Michael Young hope that these bastards let them go.

  32. “The reports about these kidnappers often project them as a well organized group with a specific agenda, but this latest demand seems to suggest that they’re just grabbing whoever they can and divining a demand after the fact.”

    In Beirut, I understand, hostages were used almost as currency on occasion. One British journalist = X crates of grenades, Y rounds of .50 caliber ammunition on belts, and $Z.

  33. “… At the very least, they’ve adopted a strategy of incrementalism in pursuit of an Islamic globe…”

    Well, if that’s true, maybe they’ll only incrementally behead these guys.

  34. “France is not great when it is arrogant. France is not strong if it is alone.” – Michel Barnier, Current French Foreign Minister.

  35. That’s not funny, Doug. That’s what the black hoods actually did to several people.

  36. The French should do 2 things:

    1) Get some bad-ass French Marines (paging Jean Gunnels! Um, I mean, Paging Jean Bart! 😉 to pop a cap in the ass of each hostage taker.

    2) After a few months have passed, revoke the idiotic head scarf ban. Not because of the hostages, but because it was the right thing to do anyway. I won’t get into debates over whether there’s an inherent moral “right” to wear a religious symbol in a government school, but I really don’t see any good reason to ban it. However, I can see the point of waiting a few months to avoid any implication that it’s a response to terrorism.

  37. The fact that this group is trying to get a country to change a raltively minor, internal policy suggests to me that they’re not coming from the same place as, say, Al Qaeda. At the very least, they’ve adopted a strategy of incrementalism in pursuit of an Islamic globe; at most, they really are focusing on specific grievances, rather than a “clash of cultures.”

    Hey, Joe. You might want to check out (WARNING: link to Telegraph UK ahead) Islam is not an exotic addition to the English country garden. That describes Shariah-friendly banking in the UK, and how Wahhabis are involved with HSBC.

    I found out about that from a Samizdata comment, and I excerpt some of those comments here.

  38. I think that’s what people mean when they use the term non-denial denial.

    …and I need meds? But I’m not the one who suggested, completely out of context, that Semitic peoples are infiltrating the international banking system. Nor am I the one who, on the 27th, wrote that the government of Mexico is conspiring to help Mexican nationals sue us over the use of paint balls. (https://www.reason.com/hitandrun/006570.shtml) Nor am I the one who, on the 24th, suggested that the decedents of Southerners should have been held responsible for supporting the decedents of the slaves they imported as a deterrent to importing slaves. (https://www.reason.com/hitandrun/006537.shtml)

    At least you?re consistent!

    Maybe you’re already familiar with all the information on the following link, but, if you?re not, maybe you can use the information there to distinguish yourself from the competition.

    Those of you who aren’t familiar with this stuff might find the information on this link of interest too. It’s a web-site set up by the Anti-Defamation League as a service to law enforcement, keeping them up to date on certain hate groups. The group described here seems to be active in the area that Lone Wacko seems to know a little bit about. Those of you who decide to take a look may find the information under the heading “Lone Wolf Theory” of particular interest.

    http://www.adl.org/learn/Ext_US/Metzger.asp

    Have a nice day.

  39. SM,

    Haven’t I done enough already?

  40. I’m not the one who suggested, completely out of context, that Semitic peoples are infiltrating the international banking system.

    Hi everybody else! It appears to me that Ken has gone off the deep end, so I’m going to address the rest of you instead. In the above quote, Ken seems to be responding to the voices in his head, as that’s not what I wrote nor is it what the article I linked above (to the Telegraph UK) says.

    I’ve noted this problem Ken has before. I’ll say something, and then Ken will respond as if I said something entirely different in what appears to be a rather pathetic attempt to make me look bad. For example, as we see here, Ken described an offshoring project. In order to make a point, I asked him what technologies were involved. For one reason or another, he not only refused to answer the question, he seems to have, well, responded in what I would consider a crazy manner.

    Nor am I the one who, on the 27th, wrote that the government of Mexico is conspiring to help Mexican nationals sue us over the use of paint balls. (https://www.reason.com/hitandrun/006570.shtml)

    Dear Ken’s minders: The San Diego Union-Tribune ran a report entitled Mexico may sue U.S. over pepper-ball projectiles which starts with the following: Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez said Tuesday his government will consider helping migrants sue U.S. officials for improper use of so-called “pepper ball” non-lethal projectiles…

    Nor am I the one who, on the 24th, suggested that the decedents of Southerners should have been held responsible for supporting the decedents of the slaves they imported as a deterrent to importing slaves. (https://www.reason.com/hitandrun/006537.shtml)

    I realize, unfortunately, that a few of Reason’s readers aren’t exactly Mensa candidates. However, as I suggested at that link, if you read my comment through a few times it might help you understand it. As I said, this was a “Swiftian thing” intended to make the point that people in power frequently make choices that affect large groups of people negatively and are able to isolate themselves from those negative affects. If people in power knew they would be held responsible for their choices, they would no doubt make better choices. Does anyone else see a problem with an argument of this nature? That is, making such an argument in and of itself?

    I believe the reader will see that Ken – at the least – has no credibility. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide whether he’s in fact sane or not.

  41. Re “Old Europe’s” attitude toward “Islamists”:

    One shouldn’t confuse opposition to the Iraq war with appeasement to Islamic extremism. Iraq used to be quite secular by Middle Eastern standards. Whether it will remain so remains to be seen.

    By contrast, when the target was the Taliban, France and Germany sent troops. Of course, unlike in the Iraq debacle, there was actually a good reason for going after the Taliban, so maybe their extremism wasn’t the deciding factor.

  42. “Heck, even if you are a neo-nazi, you?re probably not even the most radical regular poster on this blog.”

    So, Ken, who are the most radical posters around here ? C’mon, out with it, we want to know 😉

  43. The froggies are really between a rock and a hard place. Muslims in the US are such a minority that we really don’t have to worry about a wholesale uprising…but I think the French really have that fear in their minds. I really am clueless as far as how much day to day bigotry a Muslim in France experiences on a day to day basis, but the scarf policy (big old crosses and yarmulkes too) was sort of assinine in the first place.—-Just think, I couldn’t wear my great big pectoral crucifx to school. A jerky way to deal with a much deeper problem.

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