So, the parade is over. The political class and a lot of white French people have expressed their solidarity with the dead. Now what?
Western leaders have pledged to increase security and surveillance of the “tiny minority” of extremist Muslims which is nothing less than what you would expect in the circumstances. There has not, however, been much chat about what to do about things like “No go” areas.
Nigel Farage was rude enough to point out that having a fifth column in your country is a poor idea. British politicians fell all over themselves explaining what a bad fellow Nigel was for making a political statement about a tragedy. The British public was delighted that at least one politician was willing to say what many were thinking.
But identifying the problem – “a fifth column”, “too many Islamists”- is not the same as trying to solve it. And a lot of the solutions ranging from outreach to outright deportation are dangerous because they fail to protect Western values while almost certainly failing to actually solve any of the underlying issues.
Fixing a decades old problem is not going to be done in a day or a month but starts can be made on a number of fronts.
First, suspend immigration and indeed travel from parts of the world where there is a significant Islamist presence. This would have two immediate effects: it would prevent the current problem from getting significantly worse and it would say to the Islamists and their supporters that actions really do have consequences.
Second, retake the no go areas. Canada does not have this problem yet but France, the UK, Holland, Sweden and German do. Retaking the areas should begin with a well re-enforce police presence. It should simply assert the sovereignty of the state throughout the state.
Third, make the promotion or enforcement of sharia a serious, prosecuted, criminal offence with serious jail time for citizens. This is nothing more than the assertion by the state that there is only one law of the land. Hardly a controversial position.
Fourth, make the promotion of sharia or violence by non-citizens an offence leading directly to deportation after a fair, but expedited process. The standard of proof should be administrative rather than criminal as such non-citizens are present by way of administrative leave.
Fifth, look for ways to encourage people who are unhappy or unsuccessful in their new country to go back to their old country. Frankly, French level benefits go much further in Algeria than Paris. For France to pay generous benefits to encourage people to leave is likely to reduce France’s costs in the long run.
None of these steps will solve the problem of I mass Islamic immigration but they will reduce its impact and the disruptions it causes. And none of them do significant damage to the basic principles of Western liberal democracy. There is no inherent right to migrate to the West or to spread the politics of Islam once you’ve arrived.