Theodore Dalrymple: Tyranny of the MinorityPosted: January 20, 2015
There is more to fear in one terrorist than to celebrate in 99 well-adjusted immigrants.
Theodore Dalrymple writes: The shots in the Paris street that were seen and heard around the world killed Ahmed Merabet, a Muslim policeman going to the defense of Charlie Hebdo: a reminder that by no means all Muslims in France, far from it, are France-hating, Allahu-akbar-shouting fanatics, and that many are well-integrated.
“A handful of fanatics can easily have a much more significant social effect than a large number of peaceful citizens…if only 1 percent of French Muslims were inclined to terrorism, this would still be more than 50,000 people, more than enough to create havoc in a society.”
I go to a Muslim boulanger in Paris whose French bread and pastries are as good as any in the vicinity; and, if anything, I have a prejudice in favor of patronizing his shop precisely to encourage and reward his successful integration. And he is only one of many cases that I know.
Unfortunately, this is not as reassuring as it sounds, because a handful of fanatics can easily have a much more significant social effect than a large number of peaceful citizens. There is more to fear in one terrorist than to celebrate in 99 well-integrated immigrants. And if only 1 percent of French Muslims were inclined to terrorism, this would still be more than 50,000 people, more than enough to create havoc in a society.
The jihadists now have a large pool from which to draw, and there are good reasons to think that more than 1 percent of young Muslims in France are distinctly anti-French. The number of young French jihadists fighting in Syria is estimated to be 1,200, equal to 1 percent in numbers of the French army, and probably not many fewer than the number of Algerian guerrillas fighting during much of the Algerian War of Independence.
That is why the following argument, taken from an article in the Guardian by French journalist Nabila Ramdani, will not be of much comfort to the French or to other Europeans. Referring to a terrible episode in 1961, when the French police in Paris killed 200 Algerians and threw them in the Seine (though Ramdani fails to mention that 20 times as many Algerians in France were killed by other Algerians at about the same time, in a power struggle among the nationalist factions), she writes…(read more)
Theodore Dalrymple is a contributing editor of City Journal and the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
- Remembering the Paris victims (matadornetwork.com)
- RT @analuciaraujo_: Robert Fisk: Algeria is the post-colonial wound that still bleeds in France http://t.co/ZcLrGwfLs4 (independent.co.uk)
- Charlie Hebdo: Paris Attack Brothers’ Campaign of Terror Can Be Traced Back to Algeria 1954 (transcend.org)
- What we know about the Charlie Hebdo shooting victims (cbc.ca)
- Biographies of the victims in French terror attacks (usnews.com)