An article has been doing the rounds of the “anti-Jihadi” websites, purporting to report on nearly 1,200 cars being burnt in France in the course of Muslim rioting.
From what I can find in the French press, there has been a gang-related practise in recent years of torching cars in New Year celebrations. Critically, there is no mention in the French press of Muslim riots.
So what can we surmise? That the report from Jihad Watch et al was altered to include the assumption of Muslim or Jihadi rioting and this alternation betrays an agenda which goes beyond combating Islamism. It betrays a casual suspicion of Muslims as carrier-agents of dissension and danger.
I discovered this report from my Facebook page and was immediately struck by the lack of sources. The report links to the Washington Post, whose own page corresponds with the Le Monde report above. But crucially, it links to a Russian website without external links for verification and to a Christian fundamentalist site – again lacking links for verification.
I am surprised that people have taken this up without checking the sources, although perhaps this is more common than I suspect.
Take a look at this photograph from the Russian website (ria.ru):
Is this photograph altered? From where was it sourced? Ria.ru has it labelled as Reuters but Reuters has nothing on this subject, so how could it be a Reuters photograph?
Let us be clear. There are problems, well attested, with parts of the Muslim population in European countries. But I hold that this is not the result of a malicious religion as the authors of the report would argue but of many have described as the culture of places like Pakistan where women are fair game for men to assault and foreigners are the enemy. The issue is not religion but civilisation and barbarism and a collective political failure to adapt.
However, we should always check the truthfulness of accounts before accepting them as true. If journalists are expected to do so, then so should we as responsible subjects under law.