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French Riots Lead to Crackdown on Blogs 1020

Posted by Zonk
from the can't-talk dept.
Browncoat writes "Wired reports that because of the recent riots in France, authorities have shut down a blog called Hardcore, whose participants have allegedly violating a French law concerning violent speech. Many bloggers fear there will be consequences for them if they are outspoken, even if it is in a nonviolent way. From the article: 'Ahmed Meguinia, a political activist who saw some of the Paris region's hardest-hit areas during the past week, said many bloggers feared prosecution for publishing even nonviolent content. While not condoning blogs that incited violence, he said that there was a lack of media coverage explaining why ethnically segregated inhabitants of some of France's poorest cities have been driven to riot. Instead, the world repeatedly sees CNN images of burning cars and shops, he said.'"
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French Riots Lead to Crackdown on Blogs

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  • In the USA too (Score:3, Informative)

    by Stiletto (12066) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:36AM (#13997332)
    Before anyone starts spouting about how fascist the French government is and how this could never happen in the USA, keep in mind that web sites are routinely taken down in the USA by government AND corporations (as if there is any difference anymore). A site can be taken down entirely because of urging from a [corporation/gov.official], without any judicial oversite whatsoever if they say it threatens [profits/national security]. In addition, who knows how many newsletters, sites, or blogs were never even published due to [corporate/government] intimidation and the threat of [a ruined credit rating/getting on the wrong watch list]?
  • by marsperson (909862) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:36AM (#13997333)
    You must mean the way they pandered to them by banning headscarves...

    Anyway, what does the rioting have to do with Islam, anyway? It's a social issue, not a religious one. Many of the rioters come from eastern europe and black africa, not just the magrehb. I suppose you think they all became islamists suddenly...
  • by dptalia (804960) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:38AM (#13997360) Homepage Journal
    Actually, from what I've read, unemployment is more like 50%. Add to it that there is little or no represntation of the north african imigrant in the upper echelons of government, and it's understandable why there's dissatisfaction.
  • by SubDude (49782) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:39AM (#13997361)
    The problem in a nutshell is Islam is not just a religion, it is also a political force that denies the legitimacy of other belief systems and other political orientations.

    Democracy is not an option!

    The Muslims that are rioting hope to gain politically from their actions in order to receive more entitlements in the already welfare rich environment (subsidized housing, free health, free education, even food relief).

    I am willing to bet they want sharia law for their community and then they will continue to push the boundaries of their communities out.

    One last thought, 50 years ago Turkey was 50% Muslim, today it is over 95% Muslim.

    Dude
  • by Viper Daimao (911947) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:44AM (#13997414) Journal
    Here's [truthlaidbear.com] a topic page with links to mostly right wing blog posts about the riots. Also, I recommend reading Jim Dunnigan In France, It's Not Jihad, and Never Has Been [strategypage.com] who's usually fairly insightful. And of course a link to my favorite blogger, Instapundit [instapundit.com] and finally The Belmont Club [blogspot.com] has a few posts about it, just scroll down.
  • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:45AM (#13997430) Homepage Journal
    The Muslims that are rioting
    I don't know how this is being spun in the US, but by and large the tension isn't religious. It's social and ethnic: poor blacks with their roots in French colonised Africa, objecting to the fact that France's agenda of social reform doesn't reach into their deeply marginalised slums.

    That's pretty much it, folks.

    If the American media want to blame this on their latest Islamist bogeyman, you might as well go the whole hog and blame the Watts and LA riots on radical Islam too...
  • Get the facts (Score:5, Informative)

    by PeDRoRist (639207) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:48AM (#13997469) Homepage
    I'm french. I live in Paris.
    As I understand it from reading the news today, those blogs (ran by kids respectively 18, 16, and 14 years old) were taken down and their authors were arrested not because they expressed opinions but because they called for more violence and murdering of police officers (namely by setting them on fire).
    Which is illegal according to french laws.
    Law broken. Law breaker arrested. I fail to see what the big deal is.
  • by Original Replica (908688) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:51AM (#13997489) Journal
    A different Wired article explains the official line between free speech and inciting violence. "The Council of Europe has adopted a measure that would criminalize Internet hate speech, including hyperlinks to pages that contain offensive content." "Specifically, the amendment bans "any written material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which advocates, promotes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence, against any individual or group of individuals, based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion if used as pretext for any of these factors."
  • by athmanb (100367) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:54AM (#13997519)
    A majority of them are "muslim" in the sense that it's what they write on census forms in the religion field. They are just as religious as those christians who go to church three times in their life for their baptism, marriage and burial. And as Islam lacks those forced religion moments (other than burial) they probably haven't seen the inside of a mosque in a very long time.

    Other than those just-on-paper muslims there are also plenty of christian and diverse animist religion immigrants from central africa that are rioting with them.
  • by lovebyte (81275) * <.lovebyte2000. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @10:58AM (#13997548) Homepage
    Your comment about nationality is totally wrong. In most of the EU, being born in one country gives you automatically the nationality of this country (this is not the case for Germany, though). It is certainly the case for France even if both parents are not French.
  • by lovebyte (81275) <.lovebyte2000. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:20AM (#13997787) Homepage
    I was not aware that had changed in France.
    Since it happened to my mother who was born in 1946, it has changed a very long time ago!

    But can someone of color ever really be "French"?
    or American? (yep, mod me flamebait)
  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:25AM (#13997834) Journal
    The official islamic body in France has published a fatwa that condemns the rioters. It basically said that a good muslim should not participate in the riots and that several passages of Islam forbid to blindly destroy property.

    Remember, the Bible and the Coran (not sure of the english sp.) have the same roots, you can find heinous passages in both of them. But both of them have proven to be able to be the basis of a viable morality.

    We share more than most think.
  • Re:my 2 euro cents (Score:2, Informative)

    by trollable (928694) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:28AM (#13997858) Homepage
    Good post but: anti semitism in France comes overwhelmingly from this arabic population
    Anti-semitism is a long "tradition" in France, especialy between 1850 and 1950. Addtionaly, if this population plays a role, it has certainly not the main one.

    Many of those rioters are simply criminals

    Depends what you call a criminal. Some are certainly thieves and drug dealers. And depends what you call "many"? 3%?
    BTW, I agree with your points 3, 4, 5 and 6.
  • Parent is Wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by weierstrass (669421) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:36AM (#13997936) Homepage Journal
    This is not true.
    Until about a decade ago most EU countries gave you nationality/citizenship if you were born in that country, regardless of parents nationality etc. Definitely the UK was like that until quite recently. France certainly doesn't have that rule at least since early nineties - in practice most children of immigrants got french citizenship, but the right wasn't automatic.
    Now citizenship cannot be acquired automatically through birth in any EU country. Ireland was the last to get rid of the right one or two years ago. Apparently since they were the only country in the EU to still have it, and since it's now pretty easy to travel anywhere in the EU if you have residence rights in one EU country, they were finding that lots of pregnant mothers were coming to Ireland specifically give birth and obtain EU-country citizenship for their child.
    This definitely applies to the 15 'old EU' members, but i would imagine that the new member states have come in line with this since joining.
  • by illu (712188) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:37AM (#13997946)
    In any case, the law was totally directed at Muslims. Did they make it illegal for a Catholic priest to wear his collar? For some reason I think not.
    It is not illegal to wear whatever you want in public, just in schools. And yes, it IS illegal to openly wear, let's say, a catholic cross. In schools.
  • by Captain Splendid (673276) <capsplendid@gmail. c o m> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:41AM (#13997984) Homepage Journal
    You, sir, might find this article interesting:

    http://www.juancole.com/2005/11/problem-with-frenc hness-readers-have.html [juancole.com]

  • by athmanb (100367) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:46AM (#13998033)
    Also there was never the institutional racism that could've sparked civil distaste for such policies, nor a split value country where one part could be the conscience of the other. There's was never a law against sitting in front of the bus that somebody could've protested against.

    Instead, racism in France was always something you did quietly. Many HR managers in low level industries throw applications with north african sounding names directly into the reject pile. If you're a brown skinned male in a white neighborhood, you cannot sit next to a white female on a bus or train or you'll always risk getting beaten up by some white power vigilante group. The police go around immigrant neighborhoods and beat up and arrest youths with the always convenient justification of them "resisting arrest".

    If you call anyone up on these occurances, they will brush accusations of racism off and claim they're not happening. Even us college educated north african immigrants who "made it" and generally don't have to deal with racism as much are reminded at least once a week that we're somehow less equal than others either in dealing with random people on the street or the especially fun police harassments.
  • by toupsie (88295) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @11:47AM (#13998035) Homepage
    If some American blog advocated setting fire to police stations and lynching Dick & George, it would also be "cracked down" upon.

    Just go visit Democrat Underground [democratic...ground.com] or Daily Kos [thedailykos.com]. You will find many articles that discuss violence against authority and the death of our President and Vice President. Heck Air America Radio between fundraising breaks and stealing money from poor children [washingtontimes.com] has had several commentators advocate the assassination [worldnetdaily.com] of our President.

    I am always amazed at the shouts from the left that they are being "oppressed" in this country. I am going practically deaf from their oppression. Its like a Monty Python sketch. If you want to see truly speech oppressive societies, just look at Europe and their numerous speech codes/laws.

  • by trollable (928694) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @12:01PM (#13998166) Homepage
    Then what do you call forbidding Muslim school girls from wearing traditional head scarves in school?

    Laicity. You can not wear religious signs at school and that applies to every one. You can not come with a cross, you can not keep your kipa, ... No exception. This is not about culture, this is about religion at public schools. And this is not targeted to the muslims but it applies to every one. This is the law and it is a very old one.
  • by nicklott (533496) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @12:01PM (#13998174)
    That's a fairly sweeping statement. I assume you live in the US, as Asian or eastern european immigrants who manage to get there will be the ones who have enough money to pay for their tickets. It is very difficult to hide in a transatlantic airliner, not so difficult to hide in the back of a truck.

    The perception of the "man in the street" and several national newspapers here in the UK is that Asians and Eastern Europeans are *entirely* reliant on the state. This is not of course true, but is about as valid a viewpoint as yours.

  • by SatanicPuppy (611928) <Satanicpuppy AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @12:10PM (#13998251) Journal
    Actually, you're wrong. Inciting to riot is illegal in the US, and has been upheld in the Supremes, and it seems pretty clear that the blogs in question were guilty of this.

    Here's a link from The First Amendment Center [firstamendmentcenter.org]

    And here is the Wikipedia Entry [wikipedia.org] for Brandenburg v. Ohio, which was the Supreme Court Case that set the predicent.
  • Re:In the USA too (Score:2, Informative)

    by android32 (929901) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @12:17PM (#13998314)
    There are a lot of web sites that are taken down routinely, a few of them have been politically-motivated (ie. raisethefist.com [raisethefist.com] was taken down for a while and Sherman Austin [cmu.edu] arrested and detained.

    However, on the issue of the French riots, I agree that raping and destroying your own community's property is bad, I agree with them.

    And as for rights, of course the US/Europe/France is going to view them as illegal - no government wants something that takes away some of their power. Personally though, I could care less what the government and a company tells me I can or cannot do, rights aren't given out because of a piece of paper. Where there is authority, there is no freedom.
  • by Rei (128717) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @12:20PM (#13998346) Homepage
    The beautiful irony is that French attitudes toward multiculturalism are exactly what the Republicans are pursuing over here.

    What do I mean by that? The French implement the opposite of affirmative-action type policies; all of their policies are designed to be completely color-blind. The net effect of this, however, is that someone with an african-sounding name with the same qualifications has been show to be a fraction as likely to get the same job as someone with a traditional French-sounding name. This refusal to look at their multiculturalism in the assumption that everything will just work out fine if you ignore it is the fundamental problem.

    Also, to attack some of the major myths underlying many people's arguments on here: these are hardly muslim radicals. Most of them, like most French, are not very religious. Most of them don't speak any arabic or any languages other than French. However, their French often isn't mainstream either - there is a "Beur" culture which is sort of the equivalent of American hip-hop culture. They're not immigrants, but the children of immigrants; they're as French as Jennifer Lopez is American. France simply isn't filled with some sort of "pure race"; even the Minister of the Interior is the son of immigrants.
  • by ookaze (227977) <ookaze AT mail DOT ookaze DOT fr> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @12:30PM (#13998427) Homepage
    The issue, as always, is more complicated

    I live in France and know pretty well the psychology of these people, it's not complicated at all, sorry, it's actually pretty simple.

    What you have are immigrant population from French colonies in North Africa who have entered France through their weaker immigration laws

    Actually, France needed cheap labor at the time, and promised them work and home. So they came. Reality was hard work and cheap home.

    The French are traditionally very nationalistic, and the immigrants were discriminated against and were not assimilated into mainstream cultures. Secondly, the middle-eastern culture itself is very prideful, mainly becase of their religious practices and family customs. The net result was that the immigrants self-segretated themselves into comminities of like-minded peoples

    Nonsense. These people, with their hard work (far from their work location), just had no time to do anything other than work. When you're exhausted, it's way harder to integrate yourself (learn the language or educate your children). Immigrants were not self-segregated, they were all put together in the same cheap apartments.

    So, the dominant european ethnics (through prejudice) resisted their assimilation, which had the net result of limiting the earning potential of the middle-eastern ethnics

    Still true today.

    The immigrants resist learning the French language and culture, and because of French law, are denied representation in their governments

    Nothing to do with the law, it's a false secret, but access to high education is greatly influenced by where you live, which is greatly influenced by your income. It's nothing like the USA here in France, even for jobs and how they are paid.

    When the government does try to "help" them with social programs, their culture see it as insulting / condescending

    That's not true. They ask for more.

    The net result of this is a hatred of a government that is constantly trying to patronize them and force them to give up their heritage

    This is completely wrong. They have no more hatred for our government than other citizen. The problems are well known and here, it is the police forces. See the movie "La Haine" to have a good vision of what the problem is with some police forces (think Rodney King).

    So, these neighborhoods tend to have less governmental police prescence than other suburbs of Paris, which tends to lead to more criminal elements

    Not true either. Number of police force is dependant on your wealth and popularity (so, given what I said above, where you live).

    It had gotten so bad, representatives of the federal government of France were claiming that they would "clean up the scum", which didn't go so well with the locals. In the latest chain of events, there were two youths who were fleeing police, hid in a utility station and accidentally electrocuted themselves. The immigrant cultures see this as police brutality & oppression, something denied by the authorities.

    Don't know what USA TV relay, but this is all backwards and partly false.
    Everything started when 2 youths died in an utility station. Still no riot. We DO NOT KNOW for now what actually happened. Accident ? Not sure. Pursuit by police ? Not sure. We don't know. But the day after this tragic accident, the very well-known president candidate Sarkozy (for now, think he is Chief of Police) makes a huge mistake. Without any prior investigation, he says : "police was not responsible for the death of these youths". When you know how the people having the same life of these youths think, what they endure, and the fact that these youths never did anything bad in their life, you can immediately see the riots coming. And that's what happened. Bad guys who love to burn and break things go in the middle, they are encouraged by TV which report they deeds, count the number of cars they burnt.
    Others in other towns see that, and eve
  • by ookaze (227977) <ookaze AT mail DOT ookaze DOT fr> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @12:34PM (#13998471) Homepage
    This is a very good article on some of the reasons behind the rioting

    No this is not. The true reason is that 2 innocent youths died during a police intervention, and the "chief of police" said the police had nothing to do with it the day after.
    When you are one of those people, enduring bad treatments and discrimination from police, and you hear that, you think : "now the police can kill us and go away with it with a poor excuse or a lie".
    That's this fear that started the riot. IMHO the rest is fueled by political groups that jumped on the occasion.
  • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @12:46PM (#13998593)
    Look, it's what happens when a culture doesn't insist that immigrants conform.

    No, actually it's what happens when a culture tries to FORCE its immigrants to conform, to such an extent that they are not allowed to freely engage in aspects of their native culture. Humans don't like being told they have to conform. They rebel.

    Within American culture we have Jewish-Americans, Latin-Americans, African-Americans, and so forth. Our cultural groups don't always get along smoothly, but they all enjoy equal freedom of expression. That idea is foreign to French culture. You can't be Jewish-French, Latin-French, or African-French; unless you convert to being French-French you're still an outsider.
  • by Secrity (742221) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @01:11PM (#13998858)
    Some quotations from Thomas Jefferson:

    "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

    "Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."

    "I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did."

    "It is between fifty and sixty years since I read it [the Apocalypse], and I then considered it merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams."

    "Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must approve the homage of reason rather than of blind-folded fear. Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences.... If it end in a belief that there is no god, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and in the love of others it will procure for you."


    It appears that Thomas Jefferson was both a theist and diest that respected the ethical system of Jesus Christ. Thomas Jefferson created his own version of the Bible from which he removed the religious dogma and other supernatural elements. It does not appear that Thomas Jefferson was a Christian or ever supported Christianity. It also appears that Thomas Jefferson was a staunch believer in a strict separation of church and state.
  • Oh for God's sake. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Syncdata (596941) <syncdata71@yaho[ ]om ['o.c' in gap]> on Thursday November 10, 2005 @02:56PM (#14000096) Journal
    You sir, miss the entire point of the post, and that is why you fail it.

    The parent post was not saying one group is better then any other. He was using Kos and Democrat underground as an example of the fact we do not have the kind of speech codes that exist in europe. You want to include Freerepublic in that list? Fine, be my guest. You only bolster his point.

    I am sick and damn tired of kneejerk rebuttles from partisans, when they aren't even being attacked. (And yes, I am a partisan too.) Ease up people. Drink a glass of lemonade. Smile sometime.
  • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @02:56PM (#14000097)

    many USians sneak across the Canadian border in a desperate bid to find freedom.

    Speaking as an American, I go to Canada for the beer.

  • by aepervius (535155) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @04:39PM (#14001387)
    First let me say you this :

    I remmember a group of more violent guys from my lower classes (12-13 years old). They were blackmailing other people, they accused everybody of being racist, they forced a young girl to have oral sex with them (and went in arrest for minor), some went in prison for drug dealing, most of the rest either dead of OD or AIDS. But the bottom line is NONE of them even tryed to study (prof are racist they give me bad notes) they were thieves (supermarket guard are racist they always ask me to empty my pocket) and were quite violent (all white are racist so we have the right to kick their asses).

    I do not even count the number of time I have been targeted because I had a skin a slight bit whiter and blue eyes. I nearly lost my left eyes after such an attack. And I was not a single case (one person I knew nearly lost her arm, another got kicked and punched until she gaves her jacket and shoes, and up to this day the way she reacted after I am really asking if this was the only things which hapenned).

    That MINORITY of guys did not ever want to be integrated or whatever. They just wanted to be violent and have their own little local "fiefdome". All the other friend I had (non white) we never even thougth about skin, for us it was normal to have various skin color, or eye color, or hair color or taste. So do not take me on "desperate" banlieu. I was there and a lot of my friend went doctor, technician, teacher, or guardsmen, one is even recently promoted police chief. But there is this freaking minority which was always those which burnt auto, grouped in bands, and mostly raised the violence level around and always placed themselves as victim. Those are the one rioting right now.

    I won't deny that some people are racist, but this is not the majority of people and certainly it NEVER justified burning car , or attacking innocent people. All those rioter wanted was an excuse to let their violence and they got it. Aynthing else would have done.

    As for the blog being closed, well there is law against incitation to violence. Voice an opinion about France official being racist is OK. Yelkl that youn want the bastard policist burn down and you get it [the censure] coming at you, no shit sherlock.
  • by fbonnet (756003) on Thursday November 10, 2005 @05:17PM (#14001789)
    Definitely the best US article on France I've read for a long time.

    The author is certainly better informed of the current events and the background than any other US 'journalist' I've heard of, with notable exceptions like Ted Stanger.

    I live in Rennes, France. It's a peaceful city of about 350,000 inhabitants, one of the capital cities of the IT industry (it's nicknamed the Telecom Valley). Minitel, Digital TV, DSL, MP3 were (at least partly) invented there. I work in the IT industry (Digital TV). It's green, quiet and pleasant. How surprised and shocked I was today when I saw excerpts of CNN and Fox News (that so-called 'news' TV, bah) about the riots (in the cult TV show 'Zapping').

    CNN couldn't even locate the cities properly: Rennes over Chartres, Paris in Champagne, Toulouse in Switzerland, Cannes on the Spanish boundary, Lyons in the middle of the Massif Central mountains, and Strasbourg in Austria! Come on guys, if you pretend to feed the world with news, at least learn to read a map!

    Fox News sucked even more, talking about 'Islamic riots', amongst a torrent of anti-French hate speech. Only in the US this parody of News channel is taken seriously, us the rest-of-the-world untermenschen know this is mere Murdoch far-right propaganda. The riots have NOTHING, I tell you, NOTHING to do with Islam. It's a social problem, not a religious one. Even the not-so-moderated local Imams called for the end of the violence.

    But back to Rennes. The France map on CNN was covered with fires, including one over my beloved city. Sorry but I see no fire from my windows, and I live in one of the tallest buildings. The total number of cars set on fire is about 50 over the last 12 days, compared to several thousands in the Paris area. I can tell you that, contrary to Paris (actually Seine-Saint-Denis, or 93, or Nine-Three), there is no real ghetto out there, only a excessive concentration of relative poorness in the southern district, but nothing like the 93, which is the largest in Europe. The arsonists were certainly a bunch of jerks with too much free time who tried to enter a 'competition' with other French cities. Anyway 50 is still too much for Rennes, but the city is certainly not on fire. In Strasbourg, about 100 cars are set on fire EVERY YEAR during the New Year's Eve.

    So sorry but I'm fed up with the US media who can't get basic facts and make me feel like I live in the Bronx during the 80's. It's Britanny, damnit, we have 100 times less murders than an average US city. If you want facts, call me, I'll give you 10 times more facts than your so-called reporters.

    Anyway, a very good article.

    (BTW the French don't hate the Americans, but it's not easy everyday)

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