Friday, 28 September 2012

It's characteristic of states or even civilisations in decay that foreign powers come to have inordinate influence in their societies. We saw this, for example, in pre-revolutionary China or the Ottoman empire before the Young Turk revolution. There are signs of similar developments in Europe. The Americans, for example, have been "reaching out" to Muslims resident in Europe for some time, forming ties to supposed future leaders, even when they have dodgy connections to the Muslim Brotherhood or other jihadists. Now we are seeing the Arab oil states get in on the act. Having financing jihad revolutions around the Middle East, they've now turned their gaze on the restive Muslim masses of Europe.

Months after it was announced Qatar was financing a fund to economically reinvigorate France’s disadvantaged suburbs, the French government has said it also plans to pour cash into the project, which has already sparked much controversy.
By Rachel HOLMAN

It’s a tale of Qatari riches, disadvantaged French communities, politics and public image. The French government announced earlier this week that it would contribute to a fund to economically reinvigorate the country’s disadvantaged suburbs, or “banlieues” as they’re known in France. While on the surface the decision may seem unremarkable, the fund, which was initially to be financed entirely by Qatar, has been dogged by controversy.

The story began in November 2011, when ANELD - a French minority advocacy group comprised of elected officials from the country’s suburbs - approached Qatar’s ruler, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, with the idea to create a fund for business projects and proposals submitted by banlieue residents.

The forgotten souls of the Chêne Pointu estate
According to Leila Leghmara, vice-president and treasurer of ANELD, the small but oil-rich Gulf state had long expressed an interest in France’s disadvantaged areas, where youth unemployment can reach beyond 40 percent.

Qatar, which already has a number of investments in France and owns the world-famous Paris Saint Germain football club, offered 50 million euros for the project. When the news that the Gulf state was coughing up cash for France’s suburbs broke, it sparked a brouhaha among left and right-wing groups.

After protracted wrangling, during which the very purpose of the fund was threatened, President Françoise Hollande’s government decided to tackle this political hot potato once and for all.

Hollande’s minister of industry and growth, Arnaud Montebourg met ANELD’s members and stated that the government would also invest in the project, making it a joint French-Qatari fund.

While Montebourg has yet to give a clear indication of how much money the government plans to put up, Leghmara said the minister told ANELD that the project would total at least 100 million euros, roughly half of which would come from French funding.

‘Trojan Horse of Islamism’

At the heart of the controversy surrounding the fund lies widespread French suspicions over Qatar’s soft-power intentions in France’s disadvantaged banlieues, home to a significant number of France’s estimated 4-6 million Muslims.

“There’s something going on. Nothing is free, that’s for certain,” French Middle East expert Karim Sader told FRANCE 24. “We’re tempted to link the funding for the suburbs to Qatar’s Islamist leanings, given the country’s role in financing the Arab Spring revolutions and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Over the past few months, Qatar’s role in the Arab Spring has raised eyebrows in Arab and Western diplomatic circles. Critics note that the Gulf emirate has been pushing the envelope. Qatar’s support for Islamist groups – including the Muslim Brotherhood and Libyan Islamist factions – have rung alarm bells across the international community.


Welcome to the ‘Ministry of Suburbs’
Pointing to these Islamist ties, Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Front party, immediately attacked the project on Monday, calling it a “major political mistake”.

“Arnaud Montebourg has shown that our country is indeed up for sale to oil monarchies who support radical Islam and jihadism across the world,” Le Pen wrote in a statement titled, “The Trojan Horse of Islamism”.

Members of the country’s political left also expressed discomfort with Qatar’s role in the project. Nicolas Demorand, director of the left-leaning French daily Libération, questioned the country’s motives for investing so much money into the suburbs in an editorial article published on Monday.

“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 (..) Therefore to see Qatar land in the French suburbs as a stand-in for a cash-strapped French Republic merits serious examination,” Demorand wrote.

Others, however, have viewed Qatar’s involvement more as an embarrassment for the French government.

“What’s interesting is that here is a state that is financing a project that is supposed to be [France’s] prerogative,” Sader told FRANCE24. “Our old countries are in crisis, and are no longer able to sustain a welfare state.”
Source: France24


Anonymous said...

As they ran past a Japanese tourist, she said, one of the men fired into the woman’s face from a range of about 15 inches.

“They made us get down on our knees,” Ms Dousse said. “And then they started shooting. A man who was very heavy fell on me and the lady behind me also covered me … They shot me in the arm and leg, and then they started again shooting those who were still alive in the head.

The gunmen “took all the young women, the girls, and disappeared with them. I don’t know where they went with the women, but they hurt them. We could hear screams of pain,” Dousse said.

“It went on for a long time, an hour or an hour and a half. The terrorists came back again and again; they danced and sang,” she said.

Among the horrors, the marauders cut off the ears and noses of several of their victims. A note praising Islam was found inside one disemboweled body.

The foreign dead included 31 Swiss, 10 Japanese, five Germans, four Britons one a child a Bulgarian, a Colombian and a French citizen. The Japanese victims were four newlywed couples and an elderly couple on their second honeymoon.

The man who ordered that atrocity, Mustafa Hamza was just pardoned by Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood President of Egypt.

Anonymous said...

Le Pen lost me when she came out against the wearing of the kippah in public. What an idiot.

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