The French Way

The Arab European League is an extremist Arab group working in France, Belgium and Holland and claiming to be fighting only for the rights of Muslims and Arabs to be treated equally.

Dyab Abou Jahjah, its founder and leader, posted several days ago his thoughts on the riots in France, comparing them to the French revolution. The rioters, after all, only want Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

The needs of a person, or a society, can be divided into two – the physical and the spiritual. The physical needs, such as food and shelter, are a pre-requisite to the spiritual needs, such as dignity and respect. The most basic spiritual need is identity. Identity is not just a name, it's a sense of "belonging" to a certain group - family, culture, nation etc.- that rewards that person with a "station" in society, a form of respect, which is a basic need.

A person, and a society, can give only after its basic needs are met.

In "Western", ie liberal, culture, a person's identity is respected exclusive of his political citizenry. Even when countries like France, Spain or Britain control numerous peoples with unique identities, each one can live in "its area" and retain a measure of identity and freedom, as long as the government doesn't feel threatened. The problem with immigrants is that they come with a "baggage" of non-aboriginal culture. Any immigrant should feel thankful for the opportunity to be accepted into his new country of residence. He should realize that, at least for a while, he'd be a burden on society. This is true whether the immigrant is coming to fill low-paying temporary jobs, or whether the immigrant is coming as a knowledge-worker.

In addition, some segments of the native population will perceive the newcomers as taking jobs from the locals, irrelevant if that is a justified accusation or not. For these reasons and many more, an immigrant has less rights socially, irrelevant of the spirit of the law.

Society justly views its nation as its family; its country as its home - it expects that its guests won’t abuse their hospitality. An immigrant may season the French culture with "ethnic" foods, but altogether they're expected to assimilate. The problem with a massive influx of immigrants is that they inevitably threaten the identity of the host society. The problem with a massive influx of Moslem immigrants is that they don't care. Abou Jahjah calls these riots a “soft expression” and threatens with a “harder” response, however a normal person who’s threatened won't give to his threatener.

But in France of today, you can find no Liberty, certainly no equality and anything but fraternity. France betrayed its republican values and embraced the values of oppression, social exclusion and internal war mongering.

According to Webster’s, fraternity is defined as: "a group of people with the same beliefs or joined together by common interests". Immigrants who do not want to share the same beliefs as the French people and who do not have common interests with them, do not fit into this category.

Abou Jahjah claims that Islamic culture upholds liberty and equality. That it believes in "respect of others and their ideals" or practices "a context where discrimination is a total absurdity; exclusion is unheard of and racial hierarchy a crime". However, he gives no example of such a Moslim country, either in the past or present. He can’t, as it doesn’t exist.

By equating the riots to the French Revolution, Abou Jahjah does a disservice to the virtuous issue he claims to be defending - the social acceptance of Muslims by the French people. This equation is nothing less then sacrilege, it is spitting on an icon of French culture.

"Rights" given by a government is its obligation; those given by society are an act of benevolence. They cannot be forced. It is a statement of acceptance into that society when that society is willing to treat an immigrant as their own. But a society cannot do that unless the immigrant aspires to be part of his host community.

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