THERE AIN’T NO FREE LUNCH

It’s official, it is now wet pants time in the Elysée Palace.

The Gulf state of Qatar offered to pump 100m euros into the banlieues, the suburbs housing the vast majority of Fance’s 6,000,000 Muslim immigrants. The French government pounced on the offer like a hungry hobo on a steak. President Hollande claims that the influx of Gulf money will enable the French to detect potential business talent in the banlieues. Clearly something the French appear unable to do themselves. Perhaps the French really don’t have a word for entrepreneur.

In 2005 rioting erupted in the département of Seine-Saint-Denis, the Parisian département where Islam is the controlling ideological force and where to a significant extent French law has been replaced by sharia. In many ways the banlieues have become islands of disaffection within France.

Muslims Riot in Paris, September 2012

This situation continues. In August 2012 in Amiens Muslim youths from deprived estates fought with riot police, cars and public buildings were set ablaze, firearms were discharged against the police and tear gas against the rioters, and 16 police officers were reported among the casualties. The estimated bill for damages: between 4 and 6 million euros (as much as $7 million). In September 150 were arrested in Paris after riots outside the American embassy.

James Shields, Professor of French Politics and Modern History at Aston University,  describes the failure of French multiculturalism in the banlieues, “The reality behind the Republican myth of assimilation today is so many urban no-go zones of graffiti-covered tower blocks where crime rules and where the police and emergency services venture at their peril.”

French politicians hope that the injection of Arab money will help fight the poverty endemic in the Muslim neighbourhoods. This is based upon the premise that poverty and not refusal to integrate is the source of the problem.

It is not only the right wing who see danger here. The Qatari offer was described by the left wing newspaper Liberation as a “Qatari take over of the banlieues.” Nicolas Demorand, director of Liberation warned, “Even if Qatari diplomacy works the circuits that define the modern world – those of finance, mass media, sport and entertainment, as well as the arts and academia – it is in no way a philanthropic enterprise.”

Questions concerning the motives behind Qatari invesment in France also come from the Muslim community. Nabil Ennasri, the president of Muslim activist group the Collectif des Musulmans de France says Qatar is playing a long game in attempting to to exert its influence over France’s Muslims. He explains: “France has a large Muslim population of Arab heritage, which will one day, whether it is welcome or not, play an important role in French politics. Investing in this population is a way of recruiting supporters who will — consciously or unconsciously — further Qatari interests.”

The problem with accepting the Qatari riyal is the baggage which comes along with it. Qatar, although it poses as a pro-Western state, is run by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani as a family dictatorship. The Sheikh has promised that he will “spare no effort” to spread the virulent Islamic fundamentalist teachings of the Wahhabi sect across the “whole world.”

Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani

The first leader of a foreign nation to be received by Francoise Hollande when he entered the Elysée Palace after his election last May was the Emir of Qatar, ruler of a state with a population of 300,000.

In France Qatar already has considerable financial interests in department stores, football clubs, the aircraft industry, luxury goods, the media and communications. 

Wahhabi’s reject integration with the Western world and encourage jihad against Kaffirs or non-Muslims. As a significant factor in the problems of the banlieues is the refusal of Muslim youth to assimilate into French culture it appears a dangerous ploy to accept Wahhabi money.

Although they lead the way in knuckling under, which after all is their position by right and tradition, the French are not alone in accepting Qatari cash and influence.

Some 60% of the mosques in Italy are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is heavily influenced by the Wahhabi ideology subsidised by Qatar as well as Saudi Arabia.

In Ireland, Qatar recently donated €800,000 to build a mega-mosque in Cork. Ireland’s Muslim population has grown tenfold in 20 years, making Islam the fastest-growing religion in the country. According to the Irish Times, “the Muslim Brotherhood influence constitutes one of the strongest elements of Islam in Ireland.”

As well as being funders of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas the Qataris have also made significant investments in Europe, including Britain. Qatari money financed Europe’s tallest building, the Shard in London, and Qatar was a major investor in London’s Olympic Park.

Qatar has immersed itself deeply into the financial sinews of Luxembourg. This, with the purported ambition of helping to make the Grand Duchy, Europe’s Islamic financial centre. Last year Qatar purchased the Luxembourg operations of the Belgian Dexia and KBC banks.

In the USA Qatari Diar is financing the $700 million construction of CityCenterDC in Washington, DC. The 10-acre project is touted as the largest downtown development under construction in the US.

We used to say “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” Now that the Greeks are having to hold out the begging bowl themselves perhaps the saying should be altered.

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About Campbell

Now retired but once upon a time a parish minister in Glasgow, before that the South West and initially the Black Isle. Been a prison chaplain and lecturer. Still am constantly bemused by the weird world around me.
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