The Free State
"Man, in a word, has no nature. What he has is - history."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Rapping 9/12

Few things rile me up like hysteria about Muslim immigration/integration into Western countries. All these doom and gloom books like "Eurabia", "Londonistan" or "America Alone" with their horrific visions of the death of Europe are of the same ilk as all the worry about Chinese immigration (the Yellow Peril) or Black integration (given their unchangeable nature).

Usually the arugment will claim it is not xenophobic or racist, merely cultural, that Muslims have a distinct and, apparently, unchanging culture. It glosses over the many Muslim countries who don't fit the theocratic conservative stereotype (Senegal, Indonesia (bigggest Muslim country), Malaysia, Turkey (who is dramatically expressing its laicite right now), Bangladesh (whose two main political leaders are women)) and presents Western Muslims, most of them anyway, as immune to the pressures and culture of living in the West. The Muslims raised in rural ultra-conservative Pakistan carry the same essence as those raised in suburban Paris: at best Islam (if there was such a coherent entity) needs a "reformation", at worst Muslims are a malign cancer within Western civilization... . In this vision, the "Eternal Muslim" replaces the "Eternal Jew" of Nazi ideology: that no matter how respectable, secular or assimilated on the outside, they are and always have been at war with "us", now corroding the West from the inside.

Usually France, given its large Muslim minority, plays a large part in these "Death of Europe" visions especially given the 2005 riots involving mainly Blacks and Arabs. However, the fact is, though many 2nd or 3rd French Muslims may not be socio-economically integrated, they are, like African-Americans, in large part culturally integrated. They speak the same language, share the same media, while their star representatives in rap, comedy (Jamel Debbouze) or RnB (Nadyia) are fully mainstream.

I came across this video by a French Muslim rapper on another blog which I think illustrates the reality of young French Muslims in dealing with the GWOT better than the cliches of right-wing pundits. It's by Abd Al Malik, it's called "September 12", and as the title suggests is about Muslims in the world and Europe in particular after 9/11.


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