Paris is Burning


As the Paris (and now beyond) riots continue, I'm noticing a fair amoung of kvetching from the right side of the blogosphere about how the dreaded "MSM" is failing to play up the Muslim identity of the rioters. The iron grip of political correctness, so the narrative goes, is preventing the press from calling the "Paris intifada" what it is. My friend James Joyner, who has a good roundup of coverage, argues:

The fact that these "youths" and "frustrated young men" just happen to be Muslim is hardly irrelevant to this story, yet it is ignored in most of these stories and relegated to the last paragraphs of others. It would be the equivalent of covering the 1960s civil rights marches in the United States without mentioning that the people fighting for their rights were black.

Well, maybe. On the other hand, it might be the equivalent of not mentioning that the marchers were Christian—which, of course, the large majority were, often spurred to march from the pulpit. Obviously, I don't think reporters should be burying any religious angle here. But is there one? You've got a bunch of young 20-somethings with dismal-looking job prospects (unemployment approaching one-third in their age bracket and neighborhoods) who already feel marginalized by poverty, race, and immigrant status. Put it this way: Given that most of the rioters are Muslims, is there evidence they're rioting because they're Muslims, or even really as Muslims? If it were a Cambodian immigrant community blowing up, would we find it weird if the press didn't refer to it as a Theravada Buddhist uprising?

Now, maybe they're all right, and the religious angle is important somehow. But most of the complaints seem to be premised on the presupposition that it must be important, and if the press coverage is mostly focusing on other explanatory factors, that's per se evidence of P.C. self-censorship. We have any Parisian readers out there who want to chime in?