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Friday, November the 13th was a wake up call for France with the killing by Muslims of the innocent people of Paris. As a student of people I have to ask myself the question- why?

Since the end of the war in Algeria in 1962, many thousand of Muslims have immigrated to France. France has subsequently failed to integrate the eight million Muslims who now are French citizens into the social fabric of the country.

Three generations who were born in France have largely dead-end lives in the bleak suburbs. For the most part the Muslims are a social underclass, ripe for exploitation. Although they are only 8% of the 66 million of the French population, Muslim young males represent 70% of the prison population. Over 40% of the unemployed in France are Arabs As the formerly colonized they were considered always inferior.

France’s unbending commitment to secularism has contributed to xenophobia. A 2004 law prohibiting students from wearing religious symbols to school, such as head scarves, exacerbated mutual distrust. Attempts to force assimilation are usually socially destructive - as the acknowledged tragedy of the residential schools in Canada have shown.

Many Muslims are morally outraged at what they perceive to be the persecution of their faith worldwide and want to retaliate. The killings of over 130 Parisians was not the work of Syrian radicals. The Islamic Terrorists were all French nationals who gladly sacrificed their lives in retribution to right the wrongs that they have endured in France.

In the next few weeks we Canadians will embrace 25,000 refugees from the Middle East offering a safe haven for people who for the most part have only known war and bloodshed. It will take many years for our newcomers to feel at home in their new home. Being a country of immigrants with a patch work mentality we welcome the diversity of religion, language and customs. I still remember the refrain: "you got to be taught to be afraid of people whose eyes are oddly made. And, people whose skin is a different shade. You have to be taught."

A sense of mobility is paramount to the success of our newcomers future in their new land. Inclusion not exclusion where all have equal opportunity to be and fulfill their dreams of equality are the building blocks of our great country.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com