Gatestone Institute 3 January 2013
By Soeren Kern
Muslim immigrants and their supporters have been using a combination of lawsuits, verbal and physical harassment -- and even murder -- to silence debate about the rise of Islam
Opinion surveys show that to voters in France -- home to an estimated 6.5 million Muslims, the largest Muslim population in the European Union -- Islam and the question of Muslim immigration have emerged in 2012 as a top-ranked public concern. The French, it seems, are increasingly worried about the establishment of a parallel Muslim society there.
But government efforts this year to push back against the Islamization of France were halting and half-hearted and could be described as "one step forward, two steps back." A chronological review of some of the main stories involving the rise of Islam in France during 2012 includes:
Muslim immigrants, as of January, began to find it more difficult to obtain French citizenship. New citizenship rules that entered into effect on January 1, 2012 now require all applicants to pass exams on French culture and history and also to prove that their French language skills are equivalent to those of a 15-year-old native speaker. Moreover, candidates seeking French citizenship will be required to pledge allegiance to "French values."
Muslim applicants make up the majority of the 100,000 people naturalized as French citizens each year, and the new citizenship requirements form part of a larger effort to promote Muslim integration into French society.
In February, the Persian Gulf Emirate of Qatar announced plans to invest 50 million ($65 million) in French suburbs, home to more than one million disgruntled Muslim immigrants.
Qatar said its investment was intended to support small businesses in disadvantaged Muslim neighborhoods. But as Qatar, like Saudi Arabia, subscribes to the ultra-conservative Wahhabi sect of Islam, critics say the emirate's real objective is to peddle its religious ideology among Muslims in France and other parts of Europe.
Shortly before Qatar announced its plans to invest in France, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who has long cultivated an image as a pro-Western reformist and modernizer, vowed to "spare no effort" to spread the fundamentalist teachings of Wahhabi Islam across "the whole world."
The promotion of Islamic extremist ideologies -- particularly Wahhabism, which not only discourages Muslim integration in the West, but actively encourages jihad against non-Muslims -- threatens to further radicalize Muslim immigrants in France.
The Qatari investments are being targeted in blighted French suburban slums, known in France as banlieues, where up to one million or more mostly unemployed Muslim immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East try to get by on an impoverished existence.
The banlieues are already being exploited by Islamist preachers from countries such as Morocco and Turkey which are leveraging the social marginalization of Muslim immigrants in France to create "separate Islamic societies" ruled by Islamic Sharia law.
Also in February, a French television documentary revealed that all of the slaughterhouses in the greater Paris metropolitan area are now producing all of their meat in accordance with Islamic Sharia law.
The exposé broadcast by France 2 television on February 16 also alleged that much of the religiously slaughtered meat known as halal is not labeled as such and is entering the general food chain, where it is being unwittingly consumed by the non-Muslim population.
Halal, in Arabic meaning lawful or legal, is a term designating any object or action that is permissible according to Sharia law. In the context of food, halal meat is derived from animals slaughtered by hand according to methods stipulated in Islamic religious texts.
According to the France 2 documentary, French slaughterhouses produce far more halal meat than is needed to serve the 6.5 million Muslims who live in France. The documentary reported that roughly 30% of all the meat produced in France is halal, while the Muslim population in France makes up approximately 7% of the total French population. (continue reading...)