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The French Suburban House and Field Negro

‫بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم‬

The French Suburban House and Field Negro
In the aftermath of 9/11, Muslims all over the world came to realize that they have been the real victims of international terror attacks. If Osama Ben Laden really was behind the September attacks he definitely had caused more harm to his own ummah then he had to the West. Muslims today feel targeted when displaying their religion, especially when it comes to practicing the Sunnah1. In doing so, they become subjected to a "guilty until proven innocent" policy and are expected to justify themselves for the crimes of a few nut heads who happen to have the same religion. Thousands of innocent Muslims, including journalists, found themselves behind bars, and torture increased worldwide due to some ridiculous anti-terror law. Organizations like Al Qaida have rolled out the red carpet to the West welcoming a new kind of colonization into the Middle East with US invasions tearing up Muslim countries with a 6000 year old history, costing the lives of thousands of innocent civilians. Americans greatly benefited from their newly installed oil plants, Muslims only saw blood and humiliation. Another international post-9/11 phenomena is that Islamic dress is being repressed, by which Muslims undergo a new widespread form of religious discrimination, whether it be in the West or in Muslim countries. It seems everything has become permissible in this never ending war on terrorism, whether this war is fought out by American troops, US sponsored Arab governments or by major broadcasting companies in renewed assaults of ideological warfare against everything that smells Islamic. The world is rife with anti-Islamic sentiments and the international fight against „Islamic terror‟ echoes throughout the streets of European suburbs. Ever since it has been colonizing Muslim countries, France has never been able to cope with the Muslim population. When in 1963 Algeria, France‟s „colonie chérie‟, was given back to its people, many thought it to be the end of French colonization- but it wasn‟t. It continued in a more subtle way. It changed from being physical and territorial activity to being a mental and cultural conquest. Instead of conquering natural resources abroad, it now tries to occupy the hearts and minds of the children of immigrants that came from the old colonies. France stubbornly persists in its attempts to force western norms on their Arab and other minorities, kneading and muddling up their culture and religion, trying to make it as French as possible. The feeling of superiority they had towards the Arab in the days of French colonization has never really disappeared, hence maintaining the colonial culture that lead to today‟s second class treatment of French Muslim citizens. French politicians have always strongly insisted on the fact that Muslims and Arabs in their country need to integrate. However, the term integration has never been clearly defined and it is understood in different ways. If integration would mean that people of foreign cultures are to
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The prophetic traditions that comprise the acts, words, silent affirmations and characteristics of the prophet Mohammed

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comply with French laws, than this would suggest that obeying state laws is alien to these foreign cultures and their demand for integration could then be considered a racist statement. It would also imply that all French people whose parents were born in France should from now on be asked to integrate. No, what really is meant with the term integration is adopting Western values, as became clear in 2003 when a new bill required immigrants who applied for French residence to sign a contract of integration enjoining on them “respecting the Republican laws and values”. Muslim citizens are expected to obey unwritten laws of forced cultural assimilation, and this has lead Muslim youth in French suburbs to adopt a different approach in dealing with their intolerant society. Some of them totally merged with French culture, others took it back to their Islamic roots in which they found new pride and strong identity. These two opposite ways of reacting to discrimination isn‟t new and was already noticed in the time of American Slavery. Throughout time, a submissive mentality has always faced the revolutionary way of thinking.

House vs. Field Negros On November 9th, 1963, Malcolm X gave his “Message to the Grass roots”, a speech in which he described the two different kinds of slaves living in 18th century oppressive, cruel America. X looked back at the history of slavery and found striking resemblances between what he called Negro slaves and the African-American people of the 20th century. This is how he portrayed this fascinating duality within the slave community: “Back during slavery there was two kinds of slaves, two kinds of Negros. There was the house Negro and the field Negro, the house Negro always looked out for his master. When the field Negros got too much out of line he held them back in check, he put them back on the plantation. The house Negro could afford to do this because he lived better than the field Negro, he ate better, he dressed better and he lived in a better house, he lived in the house of his master in the attic or the basement, he ate the same food his master ate and wore his same clothes and he could talk just like his master, good diction. And he loved his master more than the master loved himself. That is why he didn‟t want his master hurt . If the master got sick, the house Negro would say: "What's the matter, boss, we sick?" We sick! He identified himself with his master more than his master identified with himself. If the master's house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. They would give their life to save the master's house quicker than the master would. But then you got some field Negros who lived in a hut, they had nothing to lose. They wore the worst kind of clothes, they ate the worst food and they caught hell, they felt the sting of the lash. The field Negro hated his master. I say he hated his master. He was intelligent. If the master got sick he prayed that the master died. If the master‟s house caught on fire he prayed for a strong wind to come along. This was the difference between the two. And today you still have house Negroes and field Negros…I am a field Negro!” Malcolm X was right; today you still have house and field Negros, and the dichotomy between both types of slaves during slavery cannot only be compared to the differences in today‟s Afro -

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American community but also reflects on Muslims in suburbs of major Western European cities, like Amsterdam and Paris. This distinction in reaction to oppression can clearly be noticed in France within its Muslim community. Conscious of the religious and social injustice, French Muslim youth have all developed a different mentality in coping with their situation, and have fallen into opposites that don‟t attract. The House Negro Mentality could be found in the French Ikhwan Muslimoun (the French Brotherhood Muslims) who exert all effort to become model French citizens, often entirely assimilating into the French culture and leaving the suburbs to achieve higher status within French society, in this way hoping to receive some equal treatment. The typical Ikhwani is represented as being the clean shaven Arab dressed in suit and tie thinking his social disguise will grant him freedom by his French Sayyid. On the other hand you have the Salafis who mainly live in HLM buildings, the modern equivalent to the huts their old field Negro brothers used to live in. They are not trying to look or sound French, they don‟t dress French, nor do they care about what France expects from them. They realize that being in France or being born in France doesn‟t mean you‟re French. It isn‟t the dark red passport that makes you French, what makes you French is your state of mind. Salafis refuse to play the „oui bono‟ game, they have a flowing beard and dress nicely in Islamic robes2. The Salafi finds pride in all aspects of Islam, whereas his Ikhwani brother is ashamed of the Islamic rules and principles that go against western values. Ethnologically, the Afro-American and the European-Arab have a lot in common. Although Arab immigrants left their countries out of free will, they were accepted in the European continent according to the roughness of their palms and fingers3. The first black slaves had been selected according to their physical strength and were kidnapped from the African continent and put onto slave ships. French colonization was far from being as brutal and destructive as American slavery, but the comparison still holds, since both African slaves and Arab immigrants have been brought into prosperous promised lands to build up a country and boost its local economy. After World War II Muslims were invited into the European host-countries to do the „dirty‟ work Europeans didn‟t want to do , thus resolving their mass problem of labor shortage. The coal mines and car manufacturing plants have replaced the cotton fields, Kunta Kinte is now called Monsieur Momo and the metal shackles of the slaves have become mental ones the Western Arab can‟t get rid of. In America it all had to do with color; in France the problem is socio-religious. French converts who dress according to Islam are being discriminated against in the same way their Arab brothers are. And a clean shaven Mohamed in tight jeans will have a better chance of finding a good job than his brother Jacques who embraced Islam and now has a full-grown beard and white turban. Salafis have become France‟s most disturbing problem, and have come under great scrutiny by French media that is trying by all means to describe this new social being. One of those attempts
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Many of this is based on the verse in Sourah Al Baqara: “The Jews and Christians won't be pleased with you until you follow their religion” 3 This was a way to know whether the person was used to hard work; people with soft inner hands were rejected

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was made by a proponent of the French Ikhwan Muslimoun movement (Muslim Brotherhood) named Mohamed-Ali Adraoui, who in his article “Purist Salafism in France”4 has laid down the Ikhwani analyses of Salafism. In it he mentioned that, “according to Purist Salafis, human beings are created for a strict religious purpose: obeying Allah and following His moral and judicial commands.” This clearly proves Mr. Adraoui‟s unacquaintedness with Islam and raises the question whether he has ever read the Quran in which it is clearly mentioned in many verses that Allah has created men for the single purpose of worshiping their creator. All scholars of Islam and all Muslims in all times, whether they belong to a sect or not, have this belief; which, by the way, is fully comprised in the first pillar of Islam. Limiting this conviction to the Salafis is something quite strange. But what Mr. Adraoui is attempting to say is that Salafis are missing out or abandoning some aspects of life by focusing on religion. This is a clear distortion and nonevidenced restriction of the meaning of tawheed5, since all forms of adoration in Islam are social-oriented aspects which reach far beyond the scope of individual obedience. And this is something the Ikhwani has not grasped. Mohamed Adraoui seems to have an inferiority complex when describing Salafis, about whom he said that, “Allah chose them to be the taifa el mansoura, in reference to the hadith that Muslims will divide into seventy three factions, all of which will end in hell except for the one Allah saves”. First of all the hadith doesn‟t mean that all Muslims of the 72 sects will go to hell nor does it mean that all Muslims who didn‟t adhere to a sect will go straight to paradise. Just a little research in the explanation of the hadith would have been enough to understand its meaning. He then states that the saved group are those “that stayed faithful in the face of temptations”. Again this proves that Adraoui has not even read the hadith he is talking about6. The Muslims of the saved group are those who will stay upon Islam the way the prophet and his companions did, meaning those who don‟t adhere to any sect and don‟t innovate in religion by adding new principles into the creed. By claiming to be Salafi, one declares not to be part of any sect. This is a central idea of Salafism, since the prophet has forbidden his community to join sects7. Islamic sects are easily recognizable because they all have a founder and believe in principles of creed which can‟t be found in the Quran or prophetic Sunnah. The founding father of Shi-ism was Abdullah Ibn Saba, the Tablighi sect was founded by Mohamed Ilyas, the Muslim Brotherhood by Hassan El Banna 8 and today‟s Khawaridj are the descendants of Dhoul Khouweysira Attameemy.

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See ISIM Review 21 (http://www.isim.nl/files/review_21/review_21-12.pdf) Singling out Allah in all affairs of worship, asserting that there is no god that deserves to be worshipped except Allah 6 The hadith has been reported by 13 of the prophet‟s companions in several Sunan -books and is not at all contested 7 The prophet has, in many hadiths forbidden to adhere to sects, the most famous one is the hadith reported by Hudheyfa Ibnoul Yaman in Sahih El Bukhari (#3606) 8 Hassan El Banna (1906-1949) founded the Society of Muslim Brothers in Egypt in 1928

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Adraoui then expressed that “many Salafis think they form that only group destined for eternal salvation, because they have resisted the allure of “new” gods such as money, democracy, or secularism." These again are tremendous misconceptions. Believing in "new gods" is not something that makes you part of the 72 groups, on the contrary it takes you out of each and every Islamic group and sect because worshipping another god with or besides Allah takes you out of the fold of Islam. The second point is that the reason why these groups have become sects is not because they love money or are committing physical sins. The breaking off of sects from “original Islam” is primary due to religious matters, not worldly matters. All sects in Islam descend from four mother sects: the Khawaridj, the Rafidhah, the Jahmeeyah and the Qadareeyah. But it is also incorrect in regard to the modern groups like Jihadees, Tablighis, Ikhwanis, and extreme Sufis. They do not belong to the seventy two sects because they accepted the "new” gods such as money, democracy, or secularism but because of ideological innovation in their religion. Mr. Adraoui is juggling apples and oranges and calling them mangoes!

Hijra, the Escape to Freedom Back in the days of slavery when black field slaves in the Deep South were plucking white cotton under a burning sun, they only dreamt of one thing: freedom. This wasn‟t the case for the house slave, who was satisfied with the life he led under his slave master and wasn‟t thinking about escaping the plantation. Fleeing to freedom was also a major topic Malcolm X brought up in his same speech: “The modern house Negro loves his master. He wants to live near him. He'll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near his master, and then brag about "I'm the only Negro out here." "I'm the only one on my job." "I'm the only one in this school." You're nothing but a house Negro. If someone came to the field Negro and said, "Let's separate, let's run," he didn't say, "Where we going?" He'd say, "Any place is better than here”. But if someone came to the house Negro and said, "Let's run away, let's escape, let's separate," the house Negro would look at him and say, "Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this? What you mean, separate? From America? This good white man? Where you going to get a better job than you get here?" I mean, this is what you say. "I ain't left nothing in Africa," that's what you say. Why, you left your mind in Africa. "That was that house Negro. In those days he was called a „house nigger‟. And that's what we call him today” Very similar to the first influx of African slaves into America, many of the first Arab workingclass immigrants that flowed into Europe have abandoned a part of their cultural and religious identity in their home countries. They wished for their children to benefit from a Western education and earn a good livelihood, rarely teaching them religious basics and cultural aspects. This is how the new home grown second class generation Muslims got assimilated into a foreign

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culture and became uprooted to such a degree that very often their name is the only Islamic leftover they now possess. But on the other hand many of them, just as Alex Hailey, traced back their religious roots and discovered Islam was much more than their parents told them it was. Indeed, they entirely took it back to the source and started practicing Islam in its most original way, bringing the Sunnah their parents had all forgotten about back to life, and living according to the Quran their often illiterate parents never read. Despite the fact that they are more fluent in French than their parents and that they are receiving a „better‟ French education, Salafis today have more hardship finding a job their fathers had. Muslims applying the prophetic Sunnah don‟t get accepted in French society, in which they are unable to fully practice Islam. A strong desire to emigrate ensued from this general ill-feeling. Today the Salafi dreams of religious freedom the same way the slaves in the cotton fields dreamed of physical freedom, all despising the white man for the injustice he committed on their people, whether it be by slavery or colonization. The same way black slaves escaped the oppressive racist south to find freedom in the Northern states of America, European Salafis escape a new form of inquisition in the countries they were raised in and travel to Muslim countries where they can practice Islam without the headache. The Ikhwani doesn‟t understand why his Salafi brother wants to leave France- why he wants to leave that good French man. But really, why shouldn‟t they? T hey are often not allowed onto the French work plantations, since religious discrimination on the French job market is at an all-time high. It has become an almost impossible mission for bearded men or head-covered women to find a job, whether that person has graduated or not. Job-hunting for Salafis has indeed become a painful activity because employment agencies in France and Belgium are known to work with religious and racially segregated employee files providing employers with the requested homeborn white employee. In his analyses Mr. Adraoui claimed “that hijra made by French Salafis obeys a western logic, because they are attracted by modern and dynamic trading circles enabling them to set up businesses and become wealthy”. This quote is in total contradiction to what he previously stated. How does he reconcile between the restricted understanding he first attributed to Salafis with them jumping up businesses and then calling it “religiousness”? Neither Salafis nor any other Muslims see trading or business as being a western logic and in Islam there is nothing wrong with becoming wealthy. This is a reproach often made by Ikhwanis who call up to the boycotting of western products, yet fully accept western ideas; whereas the Salafi is boycotting western ideas, not western products. For example most Ikhwanis don‟t drink Coke, which they boycott or deem to be haram (illicit) basing themselves on a Yousouf El Qardawi fatwa. The Ikhwani would say that Coca Cola is a Jewish company, to which the Salafi would reply that the prophet Mohamed was invited to Jewish households where he ate and drank with Jews. A Salafi doesn‟t have any problem with enjoying a refreshing can of Coke, or with wearing American shoes or driving in US-made cars, and will assert that the problem of the Muslim ummah is not the western financial wealth but rather today‟s Muslim intellectual and religious poverty.

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The Making of the French House Negro During the slave days the kernel method used by the slave master to ensure control over the plantation consisted of taking a handful of submissive slaves and upgrading them to what Malcolm X called “Uncle Toms”. They would be given a certain measure of authority over the field slaves they had to keep in control. In his same speech, Malcolm X compared the civil-rights leaders of his time to this type of house slave: “Just as the slave master of that day used Tom, the house Negro, to keep the field Negroes in check, the same old slave master today has Negroes who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms, 20th century Uncle Toms, to keep you and me in check, keep us under control, keep us passive and peaceful and nonviolent. That's Tom making you nonviolent. The slave master took Tom and dressed him well, and fed him well, and even gave him a little education -- a little education; gave him a long coat and a top hat and made all the other slaves look up to him. Then he used Tom to control them. They controlled you, but they never incited you or excited you. They controlled you; they contained you; they kept you on the plantation. The same strategy that was used in those days is used today, by the same white man. He takes a Negro, a so-called Negro, and make him prominent, build him up, publicize him, make him a celebrity. And then he becomes a spokesman for Negroes -- and a Negro leader.” The Uncle Tom figure in contemporary France is reincarnated as the French home bred imams on one hand and state controlled Muslim institutions on the other. During his function as Minister of Interior affairs Nicolas Sarkozy wanted all French imams to be trained in France and they were to be given „a little education‟, just enough to be able to control the French worshippers. In December 2004 Sarkozy announced the provision of university courses for would-be imams “on private law, the constitutional law on public freedom and the history of the French institutions”. These were the courses judged necessary by the French government to teach and spread Islam in France. France‟s tight control o ver Muslims all started with the formation of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM – Conseil français du Culte musulman) representing diverse Muslim groups. The project had been launched by Nicolas Sarkozy, again, who actively participated in joining the OUIF (the French Muslim Brotherhood) to CFCM. In April 2003, after a successful search for France‟s most submissive Sufi, Sarkozy entrusted the Algerian doctor, Dalil Boubakeur, with leading the newly formed CFCM coalition. By handing over the Islamic religious authority to a secular Sufi and the French brotherhood Sarko found an inventive way to impose a hybrid Islam on French Muslims: l‟Islam de France, being a mixture of sectarian Islam and French secular humanism. The CFCM became France‟s largest Uncle Tom association and French Salafis considered it as being part of Sarkozy‟s strategy to keep the Muslim masses unconditionally loyal to French culture and Western values.

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Dalil Boubakeur, the first chairman of the CFCM has often been described as a state controlled marionette who, with his very little Islamic knowledge, stated that the CFCM‟s prior engagement is to not infringe French secularism. Another impressive statement of France‟s new „Dalilama‟ was that his acceptance of French values constituted the wave of the future, as he expressed it: "That for me is being a modern man, and that is the message I would like to pass on to my Muslim brothers and sisters. I want them to adopt European culture without fear and to embrace it wholeheartedly." Sarkozy had found his perfect House Negro calling to French secularism in the name of Islam and telling French Muslims everything the French President always wanted but wouldn‟t dare to utter. Dalil Boubakeur wasn‟t representing the French Muslim community in France, but rather he was the de facto representative of the French government to its Muslim community. In 2008, Boubakeur was followed as chairman of the CFCM by Mohamed Moussaoui a mathematics professor meticulously walking in the footsteps of his meek predecessor. In February 2008, after having led the CFCM for five years, Boubakeur got rewarded for his unconditional loyalty to Sarkozy, who appointed him to „Commander to the Order of National Merit‟9. In his defense of the French Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Adrauoi mentioned that the “UOIF prioritizes the need for a contextual Islam that will allow one to be fully Muslim and fully citizen at the same time,“ and said that, “Integration leads to reformulating religious imperatives”. And this is exactly the religious bargain European Muslims are faced with today: the more you let go of your Islamic identity the more equal rights and esteem you will get in our society. A bargain Ikhwanis have miserably fallen for. Salafis consider their religion to be nonnegotiable, following the teachings of the prophet Mohamed, who taught his community that there is no obedience to creation when it comes to disobeying the creator. They therefore reproach Ikhwanis as having adopted an "I'm going to love these folks no matter how much they hate me"-mentality. Indeed, integration is assimilation, coexistence is something completely different. Mohamed Adraoui launched a religious ad by describing the Muslim Brotherhood as a group “insisting on the need to unify Muslims and to come to an agreement with all of them so that Islam and Muslims restore their glory.” This is indeed the sect‟s basic methodology, and was put forth by the founder of the Ikhwan Muslimoun, Hassan El Banna, who stated, “We work together on what we agree upon, and excuse each other in those areas we differ in”. He called it „ El „Qa‟ida El Dhahabiya‟ (the golden rule) and used this principle in a strategy to unite the different Muslim sects (regardless of their differences in creed) in the Arab nationalist resistance to British occupation of Egypt. That is why today almost all sects are represented within the Brotherhood‟s religious melting pot, from dancing Sufis to hardcore Takfiris and sometimes even Christians10. Ikhwanis are basically hamstrung by their obsession with El Banna writings, principles, and ideas. They have accepted the western paradigm that the individual makes the
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The Order of National Merit (l‟Ordre National du Mérite) was founded on December 3rd 1963 by general de Gaulle, it rewards people who delivered meritorious services to the French state. 10 This has been the case in Palestine where a Greek-Orthodox Christian candidate, Hosam Al Taweel, ran for Palestinian parliament on behalf of the Ikhwani group Hamas.

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movement, and that the movement is based upon the individual. Salafis reject this, since Islam has always been based upon transmitted, revealed knowledge; one either accepts it and implements it, or one does not and, by not doing so, often falls into sectarianism. The people always change over the centuries but the message never does. All the works and insights of scholars and others are essential but secondary, and subservient to the foundations which originate in revelation. Therefore Salafis see that Muslims should unite on Islamic creed and not on world based political views. They totally reject Hassan E l Banna‟s golden rule, refusing to line up with terrorists and grave worshippers, and only wish to unite upon the authentic belief of the Muslim that comprises true solid roots and a firm basis for the building of a successful society.

Uncle Tantawi and the House Negro Fatwa In 1712, the British slave owner Willie Lynch developed a method in breaking slave women in order to get control over the next slave generations. Controlling the black woman would mean controlling all slaves, since the woman is the strongest link in each community. Similarly, in 2004, Nicolas Sarkozy, in what was seen as an attempt to break Muslim women, developed a law banning the headscarf. French Muslims were oppressed by the new law, but almost didn‟t react to it because domestic and foreign religious institutions had been functioning as tranquilizers to the Muslim community. Dalil Boubakeur called on Muslims to show solidarity with the French people in respecting the new law on secularism and branded the French pro-hijab march as being dangerous. Boubakeur was saying out loud everything Sarkozy was silently whispering into his ear. During the 1960s in America, Black Christian preachers and civil rights activists were reprimanded by Malcolm X for their lax approach to white oppression: “It's like when you go to the dentist, and the man's going to take your tooth. You're going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they're not doing anything to you. So you sit there and 'cause you've got all of that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don't know what's happening. 'Cause someone has taught you to suffer -- peacefully. The white man do the same thing to you in the street, when he want to put knots on your head and take advantage of you and don't have to be afraid of your fighting back. To keep you from fighting back, he gets these old religious Uncle Toms to teach you and me, just like novocaine, suffer peacefully. Don't stop suffering -- just suffer peacefully. As Reverend Cleage pointed out, "Let your blood flow In the streets." This is a shame. And you know he's a Christian preacher. If it's a shame to him, you know what it is to me...”

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The law that was passed on March 15th 2004 banning all conspicuous religious symbols in public schools and government offices was a complicated way of saying that the headscarf had to disappear. Surprisingly, Christmas trees remained and no one seemed to care about the yarmulkes11. The law was only aimed at Muslims and more specifically the most vulnerable amongst them: the Muslim woman12. With the call of reaffirming the French tradition of secularism, a new form of hidden religious apartheid was born and no one knew how to counter it. In the 60‟s, American racist laws were preventing young black girls from attending classes due to a segregated school system. In France the headscarf ban is today excluding thousands of Muslim schoolgirls from attending French public schools and colleges due to religious segregation. The discrimination is the same; only the reason for it has changed. The French Muslima today has no choice but to suffer peacefully; never had she been more humiliated as then. Sarko had stolen her right to dress according to her belief and to live accordingly to her principles. She is refused work and education simply because she wants to practice Islam. The Salafi often wonders: if France gives its female citizens the right to walk in miniskirts, why wouldn‟t they give our Muslim sisters the right to put a piece of cloth on her head? And why are Christian nuns never bothered or discriminated against when they wear headscarves? French tourists never encounter any problem when they bathe naked on the shores of Muslim countries holding tight to their Carlsberg. So why is it when the Muslim woman wants to cover she is infringing French liberty. Boubakeur counters this way of thinking and has an entire different way of seeing things: "I am not in favor of multiculturalism, as a matter of fact there is only one culture: French culture." The UOIF opposed the anti-hijab bill and Boubakeur, who had previously stated that the headscarf was an obstacle to integration, said the scarf ought to be replaced by a bandanna, knowing that his full support to get Muslim women unveiled would mean his end. But if Sarko‟s local house Negros weren‟t going to give him the much needed fatwa, he w ould snatch it abroad from Egypt‟s Al-Azhar University, where he met with Uncle Tantawi. Indeed, Sarkozy was able to squeeze an „express fatwa‟ out of the „Grand Imam‟ of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawi, who told French Muslim women to obey their French master and take off their scarves. In the Arab world Tantawi is known to be Egypt‟s government „fatwa pimp‟, issuing measure made fatwa‟s to local political leaders who, for the occasion, had lent the Azhari Sheikh to France‟s interior minister. Two days after the pronounced edict, on January 1 st, Dalil Boubakeur sent a thank-you letter13 to Al-Azhar in name of the entire French Muslim Community, eulogizing the fatwa which had “a relieving impact” and was “unanimously well received by all
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Jewish skullcaps The latest example of this is the case of Faiza M., a niqab-wearing Moroccan woman who was denied French citizenship on the grounds of "insufficient assimilation" into France. 13 The letter was made public by Al-Azhar on January 3rd and was published in several Egyptian newspapers

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French Muslims at all levels”. To put it short, Boubakeur thanked Tantawi for having done the dirty job. French people love to boast of their many freedoms, but are unable and unwilling to apply them in their own country. The universal declaration on human rights isn‟t that universal after all. France doesn‟t respect freedom of religion and their national motto “liberté égalité fraternité” is only applied to its non-Muslim citizens. Having someone like Boubakeur speak in name of five million Muslim citizens shows the French are not ready to accept other thinking patterns from its religious minorities. Suburban Intifada On November 9th 2005, exactly 42 years after the Malcolm X‟s Message to the grass roots, France witnessed one of its most severe riots ever. Violence erupted all over the country and suburbs were set to fire. The most worrying part of this uproar was that the youth that were revolting didn‟t even have a Malcolm X figure calling them to a violent street revolution „intending to bring all their rights into existence by any means necessary‟. It came as a natural reaction to the racism-infected French police14 and DST15 who are both given great impunity when it comes to dealing with the suburban youth. But today was payback day, a blind revenge broke out and left the French stupefied. Did the Muslim state-controlled organizations lose entire control of the banlieues, or had it just became clear they never had any influence on the youthful masses? One thing was sure: Sarkozy‟s strategy in forming the Muslim bulwark institutions to pacify the French suburbs had miserably flopped, and the French model of integration had been torched along with some six thousand cars. A similar situation occurred in the US during Malcolm X‟s time, who described how the black civil rights leaders lost control over their people once they started revolting. X, later known as Malik El-Shabazz, considered leading civil rights activists like Martin Luther King, Roy Wilkins16, Philip Randolph17 and James Farmer18 to be pacifist House Negros. The gap between civil rights organizations like NAACP 19 or CORE20 and the African-American community became clear when in the spring of 1963 riots broke out in Birmingham, Alabama21. As Malcolm X put it, they were losing control over the Negro masses: “On that same plantation, there was the field Negro. The field Negroes — those were the masses. There were always more Negroes in the field than there were Negroes in the house …. As soon as
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This has been confirmed by several Amnesty International reports The 'Direction de la surveillance du territoire' is a French anti-terroriste intelligence service 16 Roy Wilkins was NAACP‟s Executive Secretary 17 Philip Randolph was the founder of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters 18 James L. Farmer, Jr. co-founded The Congress of Racial Equality in 1942 19 The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 20 The Congress of Racial Equality 21 The demonstrations of the Birmingham campaign were aimed at ending segregation policies in the city

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Martin Luther King failed in Birmingham, Negroes took to the streets. Wilkins started attacking King, and King started attacking Roy, and Farmer started attacking both of them. And as these Negroes of national stature began to attack each other, they began to lose their control of the Negro masses. It was the grass roots out there in the street. It scared the white man to death, scared the white power structure in Washington D.C. to death; I was there.” It was only after an outbreak of severe hostilities that the folks at the Elysée realized they had greatly underestimated the growing resentment of its minority groups, which were only reciprocated with incomprehension and repression. By having France's labor force hoarded in suburban repositories, they came to realize that they had been sleeping with the enemy. This unpredicted consequence of clear class segregation meant the bankruptcy of the French integration policy, which had never been more obvious than now. Numerous articles were written in the French press trying to find an answer to why a multicultural intifada had burst out in their backyard. But no single newspaper was able to come up with a sensible explanation or simply didn‟t have the guts to speak about a reality that the French still refuse to face; the reality that France has today become Europe‟s most racist and islamophobic country. When political turmoil struck America some forty-five years ago, John F. Kennedy gathered with the heads of the national Civil rights movement in hopes of having them bring an end to the uproar. This is how it was described in the Message to the Grassroots: “When they found out that this black steamroller was going to come down on the capital, they called in Wilkins; they called in Randolph; they called in these national Negro leaders that you respect and told them, "Call it off." Kennedy said, "Look, you all letting this thing go too far." And Old Tom said, "Boss, I can't stop it, because I didn't start it." I'm telling you what they said. They said, "I'm not even in it, much less at the head of it." They said, "These Negroes are doing things on their own. They're running ahead of us." And that old shrewd fox, he said, "Well If you all aren't in it, I'll put you in it. I'll put you at the head of it. I'll endorse it. I'll welcome it. I'll help it. I'll join it."

A few days prior to the outburst of the French riots Nicolas Sarkozy, who was then running for president, declared on national television that he was going to clean out the suburbs from what he described as “la racaille”, the French equivalent of the American racist term “niggers” . He reiterated this insult on several occasions, and it positively influenced his campaign. This was the kind of president that racist France was hoping for. When the French suburbs were set on fire, Muslim organizations fought hard to put out the blaze, whereas the revolting youth prayed for a strong wind to come along. And Sarkozy, who by then had become the banlieues‟ most hated political figure ever, had now been nicknamed Sarkochon ( Sarkopig) by its inhabitants. The riots galvanized into action the French Interior Minister who summoned his Muslim representatives, trying to find a way to have them stop the riots. Sarko called in Boubakeur and asked him to do something to stop the suburban revolt. But Uncle Bou had never lived in the

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The French Suburban House and Field Negro

suburbs, he had hardly ever visited one, and Muslims never saw him as being one of them. As one of the French Muslim Union leaders once put it: "He speaks the language of the French elites, not that of ordinary Muslims. The youth in the suburbs don't understand him, and he does not understand them." Boubakeur couldn‟t stop it since he didn‟t start it. For once he wasn‟t able to serve his French sayyid. The black revolt in the US and the suburban riots of France shocked the world. Major world powers with aggressive foreign policies ruling big parts of the world were unable to solve problems in their own ghettos. Sarkozy had to call in the army the same way JFK did in 1963: “And Negroes was out there in the streets. They was talking about how we was going to march on Washington22. By the way, right at that time Birmingham had exploded, and the Negroes in Birmingham -- remember, they also exploded. They began to stab the crackers in the back and bust them up 'side their head -- yes, they did. That's when Kennedy sent in the troops, down in Birmingham. So, and right after that, Kennedy got on the television and said "this is a moral issue." John F. Kennedy called the riot a moral issue and knew it wasn‟t; Sarkozy made it a religious issue knowing it wasn‟t. The riots had nothing to do with Islam, but clumsy French media coverage ignited a new wave of anti-Islamic sentiments and kindled the fire of French Islamophobia. Although Salafis and Ikhwanis had no part in the suburban outburst, Sarko Islamized the riots and fully exploited them in his political campaign by having the French Muslim representatives condemn 23 and almost apologize for a crime neither they nor their religion were guilty of. A master trick Uncle Tom wasn‟t able to apprehend, since he was lacking all insight in Sarkozy‟s political strategies.

22

In the summer of 1963, King led the March on Washington where he delivered his most famous speech: "I Have a Dream". 23 During the uproar the UOIF was pressured to issue a fatwa condemning the riots.

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The French Suburban House and Field Negro

Breaking the Silent Consensus of Western Fashion America and Europe have for many generations greatly benefited from imported work labor; but the new working class was only loved and appreciated by the host people for what it did, not for who it was. The people that constitute France‟s main labor force are seen as cockroaches the French want to get rid of- but are too in need of to do so. In his time, Malcolm X tackled the problem of racism and demanded equal treatment: “America has a very serious problem. Not only does America have a very serious problem, but our people have a very serious problem. America's problem is us. We're her problem. The only reason she has a problem is she doesn't want us here…I believe in treating people right, but I'm not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn't know how to return the treatment...”24 Salafism has become Sarkozy‟s worst nightmare, and this feeling of hatred is entirely mutual. The French religious apartheid is mainly based on the disturbing way practicing Muslims dress. A Salafi growing his beard and wearing an Islamic garment realizes he is persona non grata in France and knows that most French want to see this image removed from the street scene. Mr. Adraoui stat ed “that Salafis act as if they don‟t want to stay connected with their former environment”. It is rather their former environment that has spat them out as being the date pit French society is unable to digest. Salafis didn‟t break more with society than society had broken with them, and all other Muslims who dress, behave, and think according to Islam. But why do Salafis dress like that? Mohamed Adraoui believes that “their dress aims at stating at an immediate glance that they do not belong to modern t imes”. Rather it says that they are "free thinkers" who have the courage to challenge the modern trend towards a Western based monoculture. It is well known that a major pillar of this phenomenon is the tidal wave of western fashion along with its concepts and ideas, such that to be modern now is equated with wearing blue jeans. Therefore the dress of the Salafis says that they adhere to a consciously accepted and stable standard and criterion that is not under the control of the cultural organizations, ministries, and groups. Salafis don‟t shun modernity, they just don‟t see it as being tied to the external appearances of certain people or restricted to Western culture. Saying that dressing Islamically is backwardness is a typical Ikhwani House Negro critique on the Salafi who refuses to conform to the informal dress code imposed by France. In general, Western Ikhwanis as well as Sufis are uncultivated when it comes to Islam and consider the Sunnah to be a relic from the 7th century and therefore see the Salafi as a fuddy-duddy. Salafis of course see it the other way around and believe Ikhwanis have a mental lag due to their lack of religious identity and consciousness which is being expressed in their blind following of the
24

Detroit speech, Michigan ( November 10th 1963) and New York City Speech (December 12th 1964)

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The French Suburban House and Field Negro

western way of dressing. Like many French Muslims, Mr. Adraoui seems to be unacquainted with Islamic clothes, which became clear when he described the shorter pants that end before the ankles to be an izar. The Arabic word for this kind of pants is sirwal, an izar is a loincloth that is wrapped around the waste. Many French Moroccans like Mr. Adraoui are fluent in Darija (a far derived dialect of Arabic) but merely speak or understand fusha (classical Arabic). To the Salafi, Islam fills up all aspects of life and prescribes to Muslims a way of dressing, thinking, behaving and worshipping and therefore they have no need for the cultural values of their ex-colonizers. This new dress dilemma is shaking up the French socialization process. The French don‟t want them to dress in robes and taaqiyas; but at the same time they claim to want to maintain freedom of religion. Mr. Adraoui also stated that “before conversion many Salafis lived an un-Islamic life, including the consumption of alcohol and sexual promiscuity”. That is indeed true for the many Salafis and the difference with their Ikhwani counterpart is that the latter, after his conversion, still lives an un-Islamic life of sin and often sexual promiscuity. Salafi World Citizenship A new generation is born which does not agree with the de facto Western cultural way of thinking, and they are well aware that the price they pay for their religious independence will sour their lives. But this is the choice they make, and they have accepted the fact that they will never be accepted in French society. The same holds true for the Afro-American community, which after all these centuries still faces wide-spread racism in present-day America. This is how Malcolm X worded it: “Being here in America doesn't make you an American. Being born here in Ameri ca doesn't make you an American…We don‟t see any American dream; we‟ve experienced only the American nightmare. We haven‟t benefited from America‟s democracy; we‟ve only suffered from America‟s hypocrisy. And the generation that‟s coming up now can see it and are not afraid to say it...”25 A typical remark people make of Salafis is that “they do not consider themselves as citizens, but as people whose bond with the state is not allegiance but utility”, using the words of Mr. Adraoui. Ikhwanis see themselves living in a philanthropic society to which they have to be thankful and faithful, often not realizing that the bond France always had with its Muslim citizens, from the first day France welcomed its Arab immigrants has never been allegiance or compassion, but 100% utility. They came to rebuild France in its post world war era. Many of them were placed as soldiers in the front lines of the French and Belgian armies to fight other non-Arab enemies to whom they had no link with whatsoever. The same way black people were
25

Taken from „The Bullet or th e Ballot‟ speech, Cleveland, Ohio ( April 3rd 1964)

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The French Suburban House and Field Negro

put in the firing lines in the Vietnam War, fighting non-white people with whom they didn‟t have any relation. The Arabs helped them fight in their war against the German Nazis and helped them build up their country; yet all this has never made them fully accepted citizens. And that is quite surprising, since France cannot survive without its Muslim population. If only half of the Muslims were to leave France tomorrow its economy would collapse within less than a month. It is very unlikely a „Monsieur Lacroix‟ is going to busy himself with wiping clean the windows of the Montparnasse Tower. Despite their huge need of Arab labor, the French have no scruples about treating French Muslims as second class citizens. And the French political establishment is far from introducing Affirmative Action projects to help its minorities. That is also why the French Salafis are not concerned about giving esteem or respect to what they consider a racist country which is based on utilizing people they despise due to their religion. Another reproach made to Salafis by Mr. Adraoui was that “they have no scruples in taking welfare from the state. They do not admit that accepting welfare is prohibited”. This personal fatwa from Adraoui is quite unique since no Islamic scholar has preceded him in prohibiting welfare. I really doubt this financial analyst has enough Islamic knowledge to issue fatwas for Salafis. Mentioning welfare futility to forget the exploitation of migration utility is a common French practice to hold non-French citizens culpable. According to Adraoui, Salafis are rightfully excluded from the labor market because their dress aims at stating that they do not belong to modern times. Also they can‟t benefit from welfare because Mr. Adraoui has declared it forbidden for them to receive money from the French government. When purist Salafis start up businesses Mr. Adraoui is accusing them of “wishing to hold on to the many attractive features of western modernity and consumer culture” and if they leave France to become wealthy they are “obeying a western logic”. For a Salafi to make it in life is described by Mr. Adraoui as being a change from a „down and out‟ state to a „chosen one‟ state and he then blames Salafis of considering it as religious superiority. It seems Mr. Adraoui is only going to be satisfied with Salafis if they starve to death in extreme poverty. He ended by describing Salafis as being the bourgeoisie whereas he previously stated that “salafism is overwhelmingly popular with young Muslims who do not succeed at school and are mistrustful of the surrounding society”. But to anyone who writes about what he doesn‟t fully grasp, a good dose of self-contradiction is an expected and frequent occurrence. In blind following the French press Adraoui is describing Muslim terrorists as being “Islamists” not realizing he is using an Islamophobic term since it attributes terror to Islam. By ist-ing the name of a religion to describe actions of terror and killings of innocent people, Islam has received the most pejorative connotation of all religions. If someone were to attribute terrorism to Christianity by calling IRA bombers “Christianists”, no single Christian would accept it and consider it very offending. But Muslims have no choice and have to put up with it. Due to worldwide feelings of Islamic resentment, Muslims, when listening to news, get torpedoed in their households with terms such as: extremists, radicals, integrists, fanatics, terrorists,…. All of

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The French Suburban House and Field Negro

which are always carefully preceded by „Islam‟. Ikhwanis have accepted these terms; Salafis fully reject them and consider them to be insulting to Islam. Unlike the French Muslim Brotherhood, Salafism doesn‟t have an organized infrastructure and isn‟t represented by any religious organization. It doesn‟t have any local scholars, but it is growing at a tremendous pace. Salafism has set foot on the European continent- it is here and it is here to stay. It is strong, it has pride and it is hated by the French political establishment who see any significant manifestation of Islam to be a slap in the face of modern pluralism and democratic ideals. Increasingly more young Muslims are leaving the sects of political Islam and Arab nationalism and are accepting the orthodox Islam Malcolm X accepted on his return from Hajj, freeing himself from the Black Nationalism and the NOI racist sect. “Purist Salafism in France” was an insulting and denigrating article to Salafis and another true misrepresentation of French Salafism, in which they felt the sting of the Ikhwani lash. One cannot understand and study Salafism if he doesn‟t understand and study Islam. Salafism is not a manifestation of post Islamism but a quest for the grass roots of religious independence. By basing themselves entirely on the Quran and the prophetic tradition according to the understanding of the salaf assaaleh26, Salafis refuse to blindly follow the religious interpretations of their often uncultivated parents or their state controlled religious Uncle Tom organizations. Salafis have grown out of the hexagonal working-class mentality and no longer belong to a lost generation. They have broken loose from the French cultural shackles they grew up with and see Islam as being one, universal, authentic, and as something that could never be „French‟. The y have transgressed the narrow borders of Western prevailing cultural norms and hence attained world citizenship. Salafis have brothers and sisters all over the world who they consider to be their real compatriots. In returning to the Islamic sources they found back a lost pride and religious dignity. Written by Kareem El Hidjaazi July 21st 2008, Yemen

This article was a reply to “Purist Salafism in France” by Mohamed Adraoui, originally published by ISIM Review, Europe‟s number one islamophobic magazine .

26

The predecessors during Islam‟s first three generations who were closest to the era of revelation and ha d the best understanding of Islam

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