(A man cuts meat from a spit as he prepares kebab in a fast-food restaurant in Marseille October 9, 2014. Reuters Photo)
In a country whose national identity is so closely connected to its cuisine, France’s hard right has seized on a growing appetite for kebabs as proof of cultural Islamization.
Four kebab houses opened last month in Blois, bringing the total to over a dozen in the pretty Loire valley town where tourists come to see the castle. The far-right National Front party railed: “The historical center of Blois, the jewel of French history, is turning into an Oriental city”.
The implicit message is clear: the now ubiquitous kebab, popular with the young and cash-strapped, is a sign that Middle Eastern culture has taken root in France, where not everyone is happy about the presence of 5 million Muslims.
“The kebab is a bit of a reflection of all the problems with immigration and integration in France,” says Thibaut Le Pellec, founder of KebabFrites.com, a website that ranks kebab houses across the country and seeks to raise the reputation of the “kebabistes” who make and sell the food.
Damien Schmitz, who runs a kebab shop in Paris, puts it more bluntly: by criticizing the kebab, he says, “you can speak ill of Muslims without speaking ill of Muslims”…
I am sure the French are far more upset about burning cars, the large Muslim prison population and population replacement, than with kebabs per se. But political correctness does not allow these subjects to be addressed directly.