JERUSALEM – The U.S. State Department directed its staff to “engage” and help to “empower” France’s Muslim minorities, according to classified documents released by WikiLeaks and reviewed by WND.
The cables reveal U.S. government staff were instructed to use the French media to educate that country’s public on minority issues and to improve the lot of French Arabs and Muslims. The process called for “considerable discretion, sensitivity and tact.”
A cable dated January 2007 and directed to various U.S. missions in France outlined that the U.S. government must show it “takes seriously the threat of disenfranchised and disadvantaged minorities around the world, including in France, and we are committed to empowering minorities as part of our fundamental belief in participatory democracy.”
The directive accused the French news media of “falling short both in its coverage of discrimination towards them (French Arab and Muslims) and of juvenile delinquency among them.”
U.S. staff members in France were asked to engage in a French news media blitz “to convey official policy messages” on the issue of France’s Arab and Muslim minorities.
Among those policies, according to the cable:
“Demonstration of [U.S.] commitment to these issues.”
“Sharing of our American experiences in managing diversity.”
“Encouraging social reforms within France to improve the lot of its minorities.”
Continued the cable: “Effectiveness will be measured in terms of audience and participant totals, improved French media treatment of minority issues, a measurably improved perception of the U.S. among target audiences, and the initiation of new policies and programs by both the French government and French non-governmental organizations to improve the lot of French Arabs and Muslims.”
“We need to say and show, repeatedly, to Muslim and non-Muslim audiences alike, the [U.S. government] is engaged for good in the Arab-Muslim world, we respect Islam, and the [U.S. government] takes seriously the potentially global threat of disenfranchised and disadvantaged minorities in France.”
An earlier cable, from August 2005, lectured, “France not only has a problem with integration or immigration; it also needs to act to give Muslims a sense of French identity.”
Another cable, from last January, stated, “French institutions appear insufficiently flexible for a population that is growing more diverse.”
France’s five million plus Muslims largely are North African (Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian) in origin.
The country has faced serious unrest from its Arab and Muslim minority, including attacks against French Jews and two months of civil riots in France in October and November of 2005 when minorities burned cars and public buildings, leading to the declaration of a general state of emergency.