WHEN THE MEDIA began covering the spreading violence in France, it appeared to go out of its way to avoid the notion that Islam had anything to do with the riots or their organizers. After all, even the French viewed the first couple of nights of unrest with a jaundiced eye. A nation that experiences nationwide protests every decade over some real or perceived injustice doesn't react quickly to a few burning cars in the Parisian suburbs. France averaged 80 cars a day lost to arson this year even before the riots began, and they assumed the riots meant little.
After a few straight days of increasing violence, however, the only people still believing that comforting line appeared to be members of the French government and the media, who insisted on doing everything they could to miss the story. Twelve days into the riots, even after they had spread across France and inspired violence in Germany and Belgium, the media for the most part still could not bring itself to mention the "M" or "I" words: Muslim and Islamist. The lack of even any suggestion that radical Islamists might have initiated the violence, or at least be taking advantage of it, boggles the imagination.
After calling attention, as I have, to The New York Times' strange aversion to using the M word, and to that same hesitation on the part of the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, Captain Ed points out how the WaPo's reluctance is particularly ironic given that three weeks before the start of the rioting
...the Post warned its readers... that Islamist groups had targeted France for the next stage of their war.
In September, the Algerian Islamist terror group GSPC issued a communiqué describing France as "enemy number one" and called for Muslims to conduct attacks on France. Agence France Presse reported this threat without great fanfare, but the French authorities took it seriously enough to round up over a dozen suspected terrorist cell members throughout the country. The Post took a different look at the Algerian threat, noting that the training for terrorists had focused on younger French citizens, with a greater ability to move unrestricted through the streets of Paris and other target-rich environments. Among the training areas that intrigued the Post was the urban-warfare areas of Iraq...
As Glenn Reynolds says, read the whole thing.