When Islamists strike, never blame society

After Islamist terrorists killed 17 people in and around Paris in January, the trend was to drone on about how the attacks pointed to France’s failure to integrate Muslims. But our latest attack at home, at a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tenn., highlights the insanity of blaming ourselves.

The ingredients for the “blame-France” critique were simple.

First, talk about France’s housing projects. Extra points for showing off your sophistication in using the word banlieue. “The housing project that was home to Amedy Coulibaly” — one of the Paris terrorists — “is a concrete labyrinth so scary that doctors refuse to make house calls and mail workers won’t deliver parcels,” the AP reported.

Next, talk about police brutality in those projects. Remember when the cops chased French teens in a Paris suburb in 2005, causing two of them to seek refuge in a power substation and die of electrocution?

After that, mention joblessness, inequality and racism. “France is scrambling to remedy the inequities highlighted by the Charlie Hebdo attack,” New York Times critic Michael Kimmelman wrote, “troubles that have . . . alienated Muslim and migrant youths. . . . France must also reckon with its abiding racism, which pushed poor and unwanted citizens out from central Paris.”

Then talk about France’s policy of “extreme secularism” — that is, people are supposed to identify as French first, and can’t wear religious dress to school. “Demanding cultural assimilation may backfire,” wrote the L.A. Times’ Doyle McManus.

Finally, suggest France’s military intervention in Mali is upsetting people who see an Arab world under Western attack.

All of these forces, the theory goes, combined to radicalize and alienate Muslims — forcing them to kill.

To see how absurd this theory is, apply it locally.

Click to read Nicole Gelinas’ full column in the New York Post.