- The Washington Times - Monday, March 12, 2007

As the French presidential campaign moves into the home stretch, candidates Segolene Royal and Francois Bayrou are jockeying for second position, while front-runner Nicolas Sarkozy maintains his lead. With the incumbentpresident, Jacques Chirac, announcing that he will not seek a third term, the debate between the remaining contenders has sharpened. The immigration issue, with its unspoken Muslim component, hit the windshield last week. When Mr. Sarkozy announced he would create a Ministry of Immigration and National Identity he unleashed a torrent of righteous indignation. “Disgraceful!” declared Miss Royal, standing next to a cow at the Paris Agricultural Fair. Our companies bring immigrants here to do the dirty work, she explained, apparently forgetting her campaign promise to lavish aid, comfort, subsidies, succor, housing, free contraception and generous encouragement on “youths” suffering from double-digit unemployment.

Communist candidate Marie-George Buffet huffed and puffed — shades of the darkest hours of our Vichy past. NGOs that play games with questionable fringes of global jihad shoveled tons of dirt on “racist xenophobic” Mr. Sarkozy. The “neither right nor left” candidate Francois Bayrou pouted and scolded his rival in the name of la Republique: Neither immigrant nor native-born, we are all French. The media pitched the hay: “Nicolas Sarkozy accused of fishing for votes in Jean-Marie Le Pen’s pond.” And never mind that Mr. Le Pen is courting the Muslim vote — along with the anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and anti-American anti-parliamentarian votes. With his inimitable talent for slopping up history, Mr. LePen recently judged that September 11 was on a par with the bombing of Dresden.

As interior minister (he will resign next week), Mr. Sarkozy has already taken steps to control immigration. He promises, if elected, to go further. Immigrants would be expected to acquire rudiments of the French language and accept the values of the republic. They could not bring their families unless they could provide for them from their earnings, without counting on welfare payments. Challenged to justify the link between immigration and national identity, Mr. Sarkozy replies: “Today’s immigration is our national identity 30 years from now.”

Is the immigration trend resulting in a new form of Nazism? French Jews are currently facing the worst anti-Semitism since the 1940s. This violent Jew-hatred is, for the most part, a byproduct of three decades of Muslim immigration, an unprecedented population transfer that is challenging the stability of all Western European nations. Shocking attacks perpetrated by homegrown terrorists have provoked political movements opposed to unlimited immigration. Dismissing this political trend as xenophobic is accepting the perspective of global jihad with its denial of national sovereignty.

While security officials warn that a domestic or international incident could enflame tinderbox banlieues at any moment, Miss Royal and Mr. Bayrou tiptoe through the immigrant suburbs singing the praises of diversity and blaming the ills on discrimination. Miss Royal went one step further. She participated in a ceremony of allegiance organized by ACLEFEU (“assez le feu,” literally “enough with the fire”), an association formed in Clichy sous Bois in the aftermath of the November 2005 uprising. Whether or not members of the association personally indulged in the mayhem, they draw their legitimacy from the inherent threat of violence.

To put out the fires, ACLEFEU compiled a “Notebook of Grievances,” gathered from all corners of the realm, and drafted a 12-page “Social Contract,” an extravagant wish list that would destroy whatever is left standing after the fires of rage and revolt. The contract imposes a radical revamping of political institutions — 6th Republic, Zimbabwe-style economic reforms expropriate the rich to indulge the poor, abolish the value-added tax, free public transportation for the underprivileged. Delinquents will be judged as victims of society; foreign professional degrees will be accepted without qualification exams; the media, schools and government will transform public attitudes toward banlieue “youths”; no one will look askance at women in the hijab — or miniskirts. Mayors who don’t build the obligatory amounts of public housing will be ousted. And, of course, all illegals will be given residence permits.

ACLEFEU convoked all presidential candidates to sign the contract before March 5. Miss Royal was the first to comply. The ceremony was featured on primetime news and proudly displayed on her official Web site. Dressed with exceptional modesty, she paid honors to the two teenagers whose accidental death, while fleeing from the police, was the pretext for three weeks of savage violence. Messrs. Bayrou and Sarkozy stayed away, but all the little far-left candidates dutifully signed the contract.

The whole affair was swallowed like honey. There was no analysis of the Socialist candidate’s simple-minded act of dhimmitude, no outrage, no indignation. No one chastised Miss Royal for courting the punk jihad vote. No one said it was a reminder of the darkest hours of the jihad conquest. No one seemed to understand the deal: the fire this time, then the ballot box, and if our demands are not met — heads will roll.

Opinion-makers missed the point, but voters were watching and they will decide whether they prefer Mr. Sarkozy’s “chosen not imposed” immigration or Miss Royal’s dhimmitude pact.

Nidra Poller, an American writer living in Paris, is Paris editor of Pajamas Media.

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