Banlieues and Bombs

…Kepel’s book is not just a study of the ideology and tactics of Islamists, but a socio-political overview of how this disturbing phenomenon fits within a country on the brink. For example, Kepel finds that jihadism is emerging in conjunction with developments such as the “end of industrial society.” A downturn in work has led to an ominous situation in which a “right-wing ethnic nationalism” preying on the economically anxious has risen alongside Islamism as “parallel conduits for expressing grievances.” Filling a space left by the French Communist Party (which once brought the ethnic French working class and Arab immigrants together), these two extremes leer at each other from opposite sides of a societal chasm, signalling the potentially cataclysmic future that awaits France if both mass unemployment and Islamist terror continue undiminished.