Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Paging Charles Martel...

France is in big trouble.

Urban rioting -- almost entirely by Muslim immigrants and their children -- keeps spreading, and though the French government is finally beginning to wake up, their response is still too anemic to stem the rising tide. Civil war may not be entirely out of the question.

The mainstream media is telling us that these "youths" are simply erupting in frustration over high unemployment, poverty, and discrimination, and that religion has nothing to do with it. But if so, why are cries of "Allahu akbar" now being heard more and more often in the streets, as the mayhem spreads and gains strength? Why have so-called moderates among French Muslims issued only ambiguous fatwas against "blind" violence? And why have even those weasel-worded cautions been condemned by other clerics? No, Islam is definitely there; just behind the scenes for now, providing religious cover for anything anyone wants to do.

Some Muslims are already suggesting that the best solution to the underlying problems is the establishment of Muslim enclaves, similar to the millet system in the old Ottoman Empire, which would govern themselves by Sharia law, not the laws of France.

Thirteen hundred years ago, the infant nation of France faced another Muslim challenge. Spain had already fallen to Muslim armies from north Africa, as had the southern French regions of Septimania and Provence. A reconnaissance in force was driving north toward Paris, and the smart money was on a Muslim conquest.

But France had vigorous leadership then. The king's right-hand-man, the mayor of the palace, led an army out to face the foreign marauders, although the Muslim armies were known to be better equipped and well-led. (For one thing, he had only foot soldiers; the Muslims had a large and superb cavalry). When he met the Muslims somewhere near Poitiers sometime in October of 732, he didn't try anything fancy; he simply and grimly held his ground. After a day or two of trying to smash the Frankish shield-wall, the Muslim commanders gave up and went back to Spain. And though their raids into France continued for decades, they never again seriously threatened the existence of an independent France.

The name of that mayor of the palace was Charles, and he soon picked up the sobriquet "Martel" -- the Hammer -- from his soldiers. And so he has come down to us in history as Charles Martel.

France desperately needs another Charles Martel, a brave man who will simply stand his ground, and refuse to let his country be overrun by Islam.