Last Sunday the Islamic holy month of Ramadan began. It lasts until 23 October. Many will remember last year’s ramadan riots, which set France and, to a lesser extent, parts of Belgium and Denmark, alight. Rioting went on for three weeks. Each night thousands of cars were set alight by immigrant youths, until the French and Belgian governments ordered the police to no longer divulge any information about the disturbances, after which the media stopped reporting, the youths lost interest and the number of nightly “carbecues” in France dropped to the “normal” level of about 50.
It looks like some Brussels immigrant youths want to make “ramadan rioting” an annual event. Last Saturday morning, between 1 and 4 am, ten cars were set on fire in the Brussels borough of Schaarbeek. Last night several car and shop windows were smashed and one shop and five cars were set alight in the Brussels Marollen quarter.
The police were able to arrest ten youths, who meanwhile have already been released. The authorities want to defuse the situation by downplaying the incidents. Philippe Close, the chef de cabinet of the Brussels mayor, emphasized that there were “no direct confrontations between the youths and the police” and that there had only been “isolated incidents.” The judiciary will not press charges and the Brussels municipal authorities have announced that they will confer with the youths tonight to allow them to vent their grievances. “The youths wish to discuss prison security,” Mr Close said, “but it is not easy to discuss such a topic in the streets.”
Last night’s incidents are said to have been trigerred by the death last Sunday of Fayçal Chaaban, a 25-year old inmate of Vorst Prison, one of Brussels’ main gaols. Chaaban, who had been involved in criminal activities since he was 13 and who had been convicted for stealing in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005, had been in prison since 16 September on the suspicion of theft. According to the immigrant youths his death is suspicious since it allegedly occured after he had been given a sedative by his guards.
The authorities in France also fear riots during the 2006 ramadan. Last Tuesday night two police officers suffered severe injuries when they were ambushed by immigrant youths in the Paris suburb of Corbeil-Essonnes. According to the police union the attackers are waging “a kind of guerrilla warfare aimed at getting the forces of law and order to leave certain areas in order to immerse them in a logic of sedition and terror.” Earlier, the prefect [governor] of the Seine-Saint-Denis province, which includes many of the Parisian suburbs that were the centre of last year’s disturbances, warned about the risk of a new outbreak of suburban rioting, caused by rising crime, a court system that is failing to punish, and the active incitement of Islamic radicals.
TBJ on the 2005 Ramadan Riots:
A Civil War Underway in Old Europe, 30 October 2005
Riots, How Very American of You, 1 November 2005
Riots: The Failure of Big Government, 4 November 2005
Why Some Riot and Some Do Not, 4 November 2005
The Fall of France, 5 November 2005
Show Them Who Is the Boss in France, 6 November 2005
Intifada Spreads to Brussels and Berlin, 7 November 2005
Allons Enfants de la Jihad, 8 November 2005
Land of the Lost, 9 November 2005
The Breakdown of the Extended Order, 9 November 2005
Copycat, Copycat, Where Have You Been? 10 November 2005
Censorship as a State Collapses, 11 November 2005
Mosque Attack in France, 12 November 2005
All Quiet on the European Front, 13 November 2005
Religion, Don’t Mention It, 14 November 2005
France “Quasi Normal” After The Jack Chirac Show, 15 November 2005
Too Many Wives Causes Unrest, 16 November 2005
The Writing on the Wall, 18 November 2005
France’s Toll of Destruction, 18 November 2005