Ambassador Says "Religion Played No Role" in Riots

November 21, 2005

Source: The Tribune

Wire Service: AP

On November 21, 2005 the Associated Press reported, "The violence that swept predominantly Muslim communities in some 300 cities and towns in France for three weeks has abated and 'we are back to normal,' French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte said Monday. He said mostly teenagers had acted out of social and economic hardship. 'It was not about the role of Islam in France,' he said. 'We never saw any link, direct or indirect,' the French diplomat said. 'Religion played no role.' 'We know that jihadists are recruiting teenagers, but this has nothing to do with the general unrest in those neighborhoods,' he said. The teenagers want to be considered 100 percent French, he said. 'They want full equality.' Levitte also suggested 'the word "riot" is a bit too strong' to describe the disturbances and that while thousands of automobiles were destroyed and scores of police officers injured, there were only a handful of fatalities, in contrast to the 1992 Los Angeles riots that left 55 people dead and $1 billion in property damage."