The revolts in the French slums have got the attention of
England where people wonder about the integration problems
of the French system. This is the opposite of what
happened last July after the attacks in London. The
comparison regarding form: “which society has better
handled the process of integration?” does not seem to be
functional. Every system has its advantages and
disadvantages, the product of the history of the country.
What we should focus on now is analyzing what’s similar
between these systems that is causing social, cultural and
religious tensions.
In both countries, people talk about the
difficult “integration of Muslims.” It seems the obsession
of considering Islam as a problem for social peace exists
and this rhetoric is used several times in a bad way for
electoral reasons. Such obsession with Islam comes from
the refusal to talk about the social problems and the
inability to pay attention to the democratic and European
Muslims who affirm that it’s not Islam that is creating
troubles...Feeding fear to get votes is easier than
proposing courageous policies in the social and educative
Whether based on ethnic or economic bases, both models,
the French and the British, have created true ghettos.
What in England is determined by the ethnic group, France
is organizing with its money. The existent xenophobia in
both models and how much they feed it will never be openly
discussed. The core of the debates is not religious, but
social. We need a new political, brave and audacious
creativity. That, unfortunately, is not what is seen in
the left or the right. The recurrent speeches about Islam
and integration give reason to those who, on the Muslim
side, Islamize all problems and, on the other hand, feed
the idea of an avoidable conflict with Islam. Immersed in
debates, as passionate as futile, with regard to “what’s
French” and “what’s British”, no attention is being paid
to the legitimate social demands of citizens that are
French and British already. Their violence, using
illegitimate mediums, is an unfortunately comprehensive
reaction to such deaf ears.

Le Monde (France)

Nos ghettos vus d’Angleterre”, by Tariq Ramadan, Le Monde, November 9,