Saint-Denis feels stigmatised, disorientated and vulnerable. Muslim men talk as if they are all suspects. “They call us all terrorists,” says Mbraki, a 34-year-old halal butcher. “We’re not!” But they nearly all also lament the loss of authority. Mbraki leans on his metallic counter, dripping red mutton behind him. “The French are too scared to come and shop in Saint-Denis since the attacks. There’s fear. There’s less order — less police, more druggies, more dealers and more thieves. It’s getting worse. I tell you — ten years ago it was not this bad.”"A generation in thrall to football, rap and Allah": if that's not a cautionary tale for our "diversity"-mad Trudeaupia, I don't know what is.
How does the French state explain all this? I take the butcher’s accusation to the prefect. Grey-haired Philippe Galli is Saint-Denis’s most powerful official and the president’s envoy to the department of Seine-Saint-Denis. His throaty, gravelly voice is accustomed to power.
“Those same people who say there is a lack of authority,” snaps the 60-year-old prefect, “are the same ones who refuse the police access when they try and enter. Those from the Maghreb, by origin, permit themselves to behave in ways that would be unthinkable where they came from.”
He tells me that the secret services are currently monitoring 700 people at risk of radicalisation in Saint-Denis, and the police are too frightened to enter alone most areas under his control. So what, on the outskirts of Paris, has gone so wrong?“The children of this great wave of immigration are living in failure,” he says. “The failure of integration, the failure of schooling, the failure of employment.” Every day, Islamists are gaining ground in Saint-Denis. Militant Salafist and fundamentalist groups are active around the mosques, says the prefect, who finds the imams worryingly reluctant to speak to his officials. “The children of immigrants don’t recognise as their values those values that attracted their parents to France.” He remembers the first wave of North African immigrants: no veils, no beards, no Salafists. They came, he says, not just for French jobs but also for French liberty. “They were proud of those values. But I don’t think their children share the same pride.” Under his administration the prefect sees a generation in thrall to football, rap and Allah. And the old values? “They just don’t attach any value to them.” ...
Saturday, August 6, 2016
Saint-Denis and the "Values" of Maghreb Immigrants' Children Make for a Toxic Brew in France
A worthwhile read in Standpoint explores the highly fraught situation: