Minette Marrin parrots the SookhDevil

In the Sunday Times today, there’s a very weird article by Minette Marrin entitled Muslim apartheid burns bright in France, in which the author describes how she once lived in a beautiful village in the Camargue near Montpellier, until everything went sour:

Then the government rapidly developed the beautiful coast for mass tourism and a lot of building went on everywhere. But our village remained much the same, with a bull ring and a church in the main square full of plane trees, a few cafes, a smart pharmacy and not much else. For years we were the only foreigners and while nobody paid us much attention, everyone was pleasant enough. By the end we were on friendly terms with quite a few people.

I say by the end, because we left. We sold the house a few years ago because the atmosphere of the village had gone sour. … The first sign I noticed, one Easter, was the arrival of a lot of new people, north Africans to judge from their appearance, who seemed to spend most of the time hanging around in the streets looking lost and forlorn. That was not surprising; unemployment in France was about 14% at that time and much higher round there.

What surprised us was the animosity that people in the village felt for the Arabs, as they called them when they didn’t use worse words. Nobody talked to them or played with their children. I think ours were the only children in the main square who did. In every shop there would be angry mutterings among indigenous people about them and us — how they were parasites, thieves and ignorant; they wouldn’t even have their children inoculated. You had to lock your doors. And there were so many of them.

Marrin was living in what she described as long-established Le Pen country, but the phenomenon of foreigners, rich or poor, being on the receiving end of the natives’ hostility is not unknown and not confined to that part of the country. Marrin notes that the film La Haine (Hate) was made in 1995, a full ten years ago, and notes that it’s “odd that it has taken the French so long to wake up to the alarming failure of their much vaunted un-Anglo-Saxon society to accommodate its Muslims”, and mentions the “hellish high-rise suburbs from Seville to Rotterdam, in numbers so huge that integration became ever more unlikely and ghettos more inevitable”.

So it’s all the more surprising to see that her article concludes with an obvious paraphrase of Patrick Sookhdeo’s diatribe in the Spectator, which is full of half-truths, red herrings and stupid alarmism. I intend, insha Allah, to write a letter to the Times answering this. Given that Marrin is aware of the attitudes of some (many) French to Arabs, why should anyone be surprised that they are ghettoised and that the circumstances of a riot emerge? It’s nothing to do with any desire for a caliphate (where were the girls in hijabs?), but just for plain and simple respect.

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