Public Policy Researcher Carys Moseley comments on the French riots
On 27 June 2023, riots broke out in the Nanterre district of Paris after Nahel Mazouk, a young man of Algerian descent was shot by an armed police officer whilst driving away from a police check.
He was already known to police for resisting arrest. The Wikipedia page on his death indicates that ‘his judicial file included 15 recorded incidents, including use of false license plates, driving without insurance, and for the sale and consumption of drugs.’
The riots spread to the working-class suburbs of cities (‘banlieues’) and far beyond all across France.
Mother of deceased calls for ‘a revolt’ on TikTok
On TikTok, the mother of Nahel Mazouk called for a ‘Marche Blanche’ (‘White March’, a type of tribute march) then when prompted by another woman she called for ‘une révolte’ (‘a revolt’).
The practice of ‘White marches’ originated in Belgium with the families of the victims of serial killer Marc Dutroux, calling for better protection for children.
Grandmother blames the French government for death
Initially Nahel’s mother and grandmother spoke anonymously to the press and only revealed the first initial of his surname. The grandmother also told the press ‘the government’ was to blame for his death and said she would ‘never forgive’ the French government.
In 2017, the French government had passed a law allowing French police the right to use firearms for five purposes, expanding its powers to do so. This has been the subject of heated debate in the press.
Widespread and wanton destruction
These nationwide riots have been marked by widespread and wanton destruction, including the burning of many cars and buildings.
Three hundred and seventy bank branches were vandalised, eighty of which were destroyed or set on fire.
The town hall of Val Fourre, not far from Nanterre, was burnt down on the night of the 28th of June.
Over 200 schools have been vandalised.
One hundred and fifty out of the 7000 French post offices were impacted by the riots; eighty have been unable to reopen.
Two hundred food shops and sixty sports shops were attacked.
A block of flats set on fire, and its twenty-two residents were saved by one hundred firefighters.
A hotel was set on fire in the middle of the night.
A prison was set on fire.
Thirty-nine buses were burnt in the Ile-de-France in Paris.
Rioters in Paris stole a lorry carrying oil or gas.
On 3 July the French National Assembly held a minute silence for a young firefighter who died fighting a fire caused by rioters burning cars in Saint-Denis in Paris.
Key aspects of the riots are Islamic
The press in France and internationally has avoided saying that the riots are Islamic in nature.
Much of the coverage has rehearsed claims of police racism, which are difficult to discuss rationally given that France does not collect official statistics on ethnicity. Neither does France record official statistics on citizens’ religion in its census. This is due to its constitutional secularism, stemming ultimately from the Revolution of 1789.
However, it is impossible to ignore the many signs that the riots are Islamic in nature.
Cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’ by some rioters
A video circulated early on in the riots of Islamic protesters crying ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘Allah is great’) saying that the Qu’ran says ‘whoever kills you, you have the right to kill him’, applying this to justify attacking the police.
Muslim rioters attack evangelical church in Marseille
The Philadelphia evangelical church in Marseille, a city in the south of France with a large Muslim population, was vandalised and a message left saying:
“Le dernier prophète c’est Mohamed” (Mohammed is the final prophet)
“Jésus n’est point Dieu” (Jesus is not God)
This shows the Islamic belief that Islam has come to take the place of Christianity, and it denies the religious freedom of Christians under Islamic domination.
Catholic bookshop vandalised in Nantes
On the night of 30 June, protesters who attended a ‘Justice for Nahel’ event vandalised the Catholic bookshop Dobrée in Nantes. This event had not been authorised by the Loire-Atlantique prefecture. The bookshop manager complained that it had been falsely accused of being a far-right shop.
Muslim rioters threaten Jews with new Holocaust
Rioters defaced the Holocaust Memorial in Nanterre, Paris, with graffiti threatening Jews with ‘une nouvelle Shoah’ (‘a new Holocaust’). This fits with the notorious anti-semitism in Islam.
This was condemned by the Prime Minister of Israel.
Muslim rioters threaten to blow up LGBT bar
Rioters threatened to blow up in LGBT bar in Brest in Brittany. The bar closed its doors for several days.
Rioters film themselves looting shops and supermarkets
The shamelessness of the rioters is very clear on social media channels as they have been filming themselves looting shops and supermarkets and vandalising business premises.
Clearly these are not normal criminals as they seem to think they will get away with this.
The Nike shop at Chatelet-les-Halles in Paris was targeted.
The Zara shop in Strasbourg was vandalised.
Sura 8: 41 of the Qu’ran permits jihadists to go looting in times of war against their enemies, and to give a portion of the spoils to ‘the poor and needy’. The significance of this verse was picked up by the secularist website Résistance Républicaine.
Rioters loot hundreds of tobacconists’ shops
Rioters attacked hundreds of tobacco shops, many of which in France are owned by Chinese-French shopkeepers. These also tend to double up as newsagents.
Why would rioters be so interested in tobacconists’ shops? The answer may be that since many Islamic scholars forbid smoking that therefore Islamist rioters would have no problem attacking tobacco shops as haram. Islamists are also known to be involved in tobacco smuggling and illegal production of cigarettes as means of financing themselves.
Thirty pharmacies attacked
According to the French professional journal for pharmacists Le Quotidien du Pharmacien over thirty pharmacies in France and Mayotte, a French territory in Guyana, have been vandalised. A mob of between two and three hundred people attacked the pharmacy in the small town of Montargis on the 30th of June, and its complete collapse was caught on video.
The Taliban has attacked pharmacies as anti-Islam for stocking contraceptives.
Riots coincided exactly with Eid Al-Kabir festival
A significant clue that the riots are Islamic in nature is their timing. Tuesday 27 June, the day Nahel Mazouk was killed and the riots started, was a day of fasting, with Eid Al-Kabir – the most important festival in the Islamic calendar – commencing on 28 June in France. This date was fixed by the Grand Mosque of Paris. Parallel to this was the scheduled Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca scheduled between 26 June and 1 July. The grandmother of Nahel Mazouk called for calm on Sunday 2 July. Why did it take until that time to say this? She should have said this immediately.
Previous French riots coincided with the Islamic calendar
The 2005 riots lasted from 27 October to 16 November that year.
We can tell from the Islamic calendar converter that they started during the month of Ramadan and ended ‘officially’ on 17 November 2005, the 15th of Shawwal, one of the four sacred months in Islam.
During these months Islam only allows fighting if Muslims have been attacked. Of course, this depends upon one’s interpretation of whether a Muslim was attacked for being a Muslim.
The first riots in a French banlieue (inner city area) happened in Vaulx-le-Velin near Lyon on 15 September 1979. This again was during the Islamic sacred month of Shawwal. It is interesting that on the night of 8 September 1979 martial law was decreed in Iran in the wake of the Iranian Revolution, and that Ayatollah Khomeini went to live temporarily near Paris.
Grand Mosque of Paris gives away Muslim identity of rioters
On 29 June, the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris tweeted a message expressing condolences to Nahel Mazouk’s family, and calling on ‘young people’ not to react with violence. This was a tacit admission that the rioters were Muslims. It is relevant that this message is no longer available either on the Grand Mosque’s website or on the Wayback Machine.
Perhaps this is because too many people responded pointing out that the message tacitly admitted the Islamic identity of the rioters. It was also pointed out that the message was entirely inappropriate as the Grand Mosque positioned itself as an authority on the law of the land to French Muslims above that of the government.
Is France ‘at war’?
The trade unions representing the vast majority of French police officers have said ‘we are at war’ and vowed to take concrete action if measures are not taken to legally protect the police officer charged with manslaughter of the Algerian 17-year old whose death sparked the riots.
Back in 2018, Gérard Collomb (then Minister for the Interior) warned that France could descend into civil war within five years. Now in 2023 we are five years on. However, I think there are other questions that need to be asked.
Are the riots revenge for France cracking down on Islamist activism?
The French government cracked down twice on Islamic political activism earlier this year.
In early May the French National Assembly voted down a bill denouncing Israel as an ‘apartheid state’, a familiar Islamic tactic to undermine Israel and the west. Also in May, it froze millions of euros of the funds of the Muslim Brotherhood in France.
It is not impossible that these riots were spread across all of France in revenge of these two actions. This would make sense of the attack on the Holocaust memorial.
Did the government of Algeria foment the riots?
The government of Algeria published a response on Twitter to the riots which commiserated with the family of the deceased, and expressed its confidence that the French government would protect Algerian citizens living in France. Algeria failed to condemn the riots. This silence was widely condemned on social media in France.
The specialist news site on North Africa, Maghreb Intelligence, argues that the Algerian government has exploited the death of Nahel for its own purposes, namely fomenting hostility against the French police and Ministry of the Interior. It is stated that intelligence sources from Algeria claim that Algerian diplomats openly took part in the march to commemorate the deceased, which ended in violence. Sources then claim that elements of the Algerian security services spread anti-French content on social media from 30 June.
Are the French riots an underground jihad against France?
It is one thing for the friends and family of the deceased to protest, and for such protests to descend into a riot in the Nanterre area. It is quite another for riots to spread across France.
Far from being truly spontaneous or merely mimicking content on social media, they appear co-ordinated by underground networks. The vast majority of these French riots since the 1970s have been after drug gang members with Muslim names have died or been killed. When British journalist Gavin Mortimer, based in Paris, tells us it was the drug dealers who really ended the riots because these were ‘bad for business’, this is plausible but does not explain everything. The drug gangs are overwhelmingly Muslim.
It is as if there is an underground Islamist militia in France fronted by drug gangs. This would make sense of a police chief saying that men who attack officers clearly want to kill them. The French police unions may well be right that this is in reality ‘a war’ – a jihad against France started by an underground Islamist network, plugged into various networks and expert at manipulating the media and political parties.