Beck invoked purported "reconquista" movement in discussion of rioting in France

››› ››› NIKI JAGPAL

In discussing recent riots in Paris suburbs with guest Steve Emerson, Glenn Beck likened the rioting there to the purported situation in the American Southwest, where "[y]ou've got people coming here that have no intention of being Americans. They say, you know, 'Hey, this is our land. We deserve it back.'" Beck's question invoked the "reconquista" concept initially spread by a "vitriolic Mexican-basher" and perpetuated by some conservatives, including Michelle Malkin and Pat Buchanan.

On the November 28 edition of his CNN Headline News show, Glenn Beck discussed recent riots in Paris following the death of two teenagers after their motorbike collided with a police car with guest and "terrorism expert" Steve Emerson, director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism and author of Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the US (Prometheus Books, 2006), and Sally McNamara, senior policy analyst in European affairs at the Heritage Foundation. Responding to McNamara's statement that "this area [of the suburbs where the riots took place] is considered a no-go area, not just for [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy, but for the police," Beck asked Emerson: "But what about the American Southwest? You've got people coming here that have no intention of being Americans. They say, you know, 'Hey, this is our land. We deserve it back.' " Aren't we setting ourselves up with just our immigration problem or our illegal immigration problem in the Southwest?" Emerson agreed with Beck, adding: "Those that are coming over here and saying, 'This is our land' or 'We have no intention of adhering to any loyalty to the U.S.' are exactly replicating the same type of self-imposed alienation that the French youth are imposing upon themselves in divorcing themselves from any loyalty to French society."

Beck's reference to immigrants to the American Southwest who believe that they "deserve" the land back is an invocation of the "reconquista" concept perpetuated by some conservatives, including columnist Michelle Malkin and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan. As Media Matters for America has noted, reconquista is a term associated with El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán, the founding document of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan, or MEChA), a group with affiliates at numerous college campuses and several high schools that claims to work toward "improving the social and political situation of the Chicano/Latino community." Critics claim that El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán outlines a plan of recapturing the southwestern United States for Mexico. But as a July 3 Cybercast News Service article noted, "according to observers on the left and the right, the modern MEChA movement is run by college students and focuses mainly on encouraging Latino high school students to go to college and the retention of Latino students already enrolled in universities." Further, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the person "who may have done more than anyone to spread the myth of a secret Mexican conspiracy to reconquer the Southwest" is Glenn Spencer, a "vitriolic Mexican-basher" who has "more or less openly court[ed] white supremacists and anti-Semites."

While introducing the discussion in his "The Point" segment, Beck claimed, "I'm just looking at this list here that we have -- youths, we have teenagers, young people, adolescents, young adults, juniors, youngsters, younguns, and tweens. I think I've read every single one of those in news stories as the media-implemented, full-fledged PC gymnastics to try to avoid describing the rioters in France by any other characteristic other than their age." He continued: "If you dig far enough, you will note that the rioters were mostly poor minorities, OK? Baltimore Sun went a step further, they said they were Black Muslim kids." In contrast to Beck's assertion that "the media" have described the rioters only by their age, a November 28 Los Angeles Times article reported:

Raymonde Le Texier, the senator who represents the area in Parliament and has lived here 40 years, describes pent-up rage by black and Muslim children of immigrants who feel lost and abandoned in the projects.

"People feel forgotten by those in power," says Le Texier, a member of the Socialist Party. "It's the truth -- they have been forgotten."

As for the kids, they speak without words.

Beck, McNamara and Emerson concluded with a discussion of multiculturalism in Europe and the United States. During that segment, Emerson asserted:

EMERSON: Well, look, the fact is that multiculturalism has essentially taken the morality out of any culture, so that our democratic culture, our values of pluralism, of separation of church and state, of the democracy that -- of the great values that come from democracy, basically, they're stricken of any moral compass because of the relativity in which we treat other cultures that may actually have values that aren't very, very enlightening.

For example, the fact that there are groups in the United States that support Hamas or Hezbollah or Islamic Jihad or Al Qaeda, that is inconsistent with American values, and yet, according to multiculturalism on campus, they're to be respected and to be valued just as much as Westerners are.

Finally, Emerson baselessly asserted that "if we can't label the enemy ... as radical Islamic fundamentalism, we've lost the battle."

As Media Matters has noted, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting has documented Emerson's history of peddling misinformation, adding that his "priority is not so much news as it is an unrelenting attack against Arabs and Muslims."

From the November 28 edition of CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: Well, hello, America. I'm just looking at this list here that we have -- youths, we have teenagers, young people, adolescents, young adults, juniors, youngsters, younguns, and tweens. I think I've read every single one of those in news stories as the media-implemented, full-fledged PC gymnastics to try to avoid describing the rioters in France by any other characteristic other than their age.

Well, before the newly elected French president, Nicolas Sarkozy -- he had another word that he used to describe the rioters when they started burning cars and going after police the last time the riots flared up in Paris. Let me see if I can remember that word. It was -- oh, yeah: scum.

Here's "The Point" tonight: Sarkozy was right. And here's how I got there.

What other word can you use to describe people who injured about 120 police officers who were just trying to calm the violence? Dozens of cops were wounded by buckshot on Monday night, and widespread arson soon spread around impoverished suburbs of Paris. Flaming cars were being crashed into buildings in an attempt to burn them down. A preschool and a train station were attacked. The head of the police union said, "We're not talking about urban violence; we're talking about insurrection."

But who is responsible for all of these riots? Calmed only by police after they were forced into an almost military-style operation. Well, if you read most of the media reports, we know that they were young -- but that's about it.

If you dig far enough, you will note that the rioters were mostly poor minorities, OK? Baltimore Sun went a step further, they said they were Black Muslim kids. Well, that might not be unimportant in and of itself, but here's what is.

When you try to walk this PC line, you don't talk about what is really happening. And we are never going to solve a damn thing on this planet if we can't be honest with each other.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Immigrants are vital, not only to France; they're vital to America. They're vital to any free society. But just as vital is having people that come to your country come here because they love it or they want to be a part of making it better. Go to France because you want to be French.

The problem with the French is that so many immigrants are coming there that don't want to be French. I mean, don't get me wrong. I understand that, but I ain't moving to France. They never assimilate. They wind up separating themselves from society.

The Baltimore Sun describes the area of the riots as a world apart, with its own codes and subculture. The AP describes it as largely isolated from the rest of society. And Sarkozy, they said, is quote, "unwelcome" in the projects. Really? Isn't he the president of the country?

So here's what you need to know tonight. Now that you know, America, the path that France is on, if we don't identify and solve these problems here at home, we will not be far behind.

I'm joined now by Sally McNamara, she is a European affairs and policy expert at the Heritage Foundation, and Steve Emerson, the director of the Investigative Project on Terror.

Let me start with -- let me start with you, Sally. First of all, tell me who these guys are, and let's drop all the political bullcrap. Who are these guys, and what's causing this problem?

SALLY McNAMARA (Heritage Foundation senior policy analyst): Well, the violence and rioting in France is overwhelmingly in the suburbs, which are -- which is where the immigrants and the Muslim population lives. I don't think they are Muslim riots or immigrant riots. They reflect a wider social and economic problem. But yes, it is largely the immigrant population, where there are problems in France.

The main problem is that this area is considered a no-go area, not just for Sarkozy but for the police. We cannot have areas in any democratic republic which are no-go, which the police are not allowed to go into. That is completely unacceptable.

BECK: Steve, we're setting this up here in America, are we not?

EMERSON: Well, and potentially, Glenn, because, in fact, if you look 10 years down the line, if the same immigration patterns occur and the same type of Muslim immigrant who doesn't feel any type of loyalty to the host country continues to settle here, the potential is for either terrorism or riots.

BECK: All right, well -- let me take this out, Steve. I don't think it's just a Muslim problem. I mean, Europe is on the brink, and we'll get to that here in a second. But it's not just a Muslim problem. We do have those subcultures here in America that are isolating themselves.

But what about the American Southwest? You've got people coming here that have no intention of being Americans. They say, you know, "Hey, this is our land. We deserve it back."

Aren't we setting ourselves up with just our immigration problem or our illegal immigration problem in the Southwest?

EMERSON: Well, I think you're right in that respect. Those that are coming over here and saying, "This is our land" or "We have no intention of adhering to any loyalty to the U.S." are exactly replicating the same type of self-imposed alienation that the French youth are imposing upon themselves in divorcing themselves from any loyalty to French society.

BECK: OK. Sally, let me come back to you. And I'd actually like, Steve, you to answer the same question. How on the edge is Europe? I just read a report. I think it was a Dutch report that says the Dutch are fleeing. And the old population, the traditional Dutch, gone. And it is -- they are abandoning these cities and they are abandoning these countries and moving away, because they're losing their culture and everything else.

McNAMARA: There is a massive problem in Europe, and Amsterdam is projected to be a majority Muslim city within about two decades. It's actually projected. And that is a massive problem, because Europe doesn't know what to do about its immigrants.

However, with America, you actually have a great model here for legal immigration. People come here, and they love the American dream. They feel they have access to entrepreneurialship. They feel they have access to the American dream and social mobility, and they can get up the ladder of success.

However, that is, they are one nation under God. They are American. Whereas in Europe what we have is we have this banner of cultural diversity, of multiculturalism, of assimilation.

However, what it isn't is French or British. We don't know what it is to be a nation anymore, because we've replaced it with this chronic political correctness. And we need to go back to reasserting non-negotiable values of democracy and rule of law and the things we believe in.

BECK: I mean, Steve, you know, one of the things that kills me about America that people don't understand is we don't have an awful lot in common. We all come from different backgrounds, different heritage, et cetera, et cetera. We all have -- we all at some point, our families came here to be an American.

The only thing that ties us together: language, common history, common goals or beliefs that everyone can make it, and what we're doing is we have -- we've wasted all of this stuff. We've blown it all out of the water.

EMERSON: Well, look, the fact is that multiculturalism has essentially taken the morality out of any culture, so that our democratic culture, our values of pluralism, of separation of church and state, of the democracy that -- of the great values that come from democracy, basically, they're stricken of any moral compass because of the relativity in which we treat other cultures that may actually have values that aren't very, very enlightening.

For example, the fact that there are groups in the United States that support Hamas or Hezbollah or Islamic Jihad or Al Qaeda, that is inconsistent with American values, and yet, according to multiculturalism on campus, they're to be respected and to be valued just as much as Westerners are.

BECK: Steve, how are we expected to solve anything? How is France expected to solve anything, if their newspapers won't identify people other than "youths"? How is Sarkozy going to solve anything? Has he come out as strong as he did the last time and say, "These guys are scum"?

EMERSON: He has not yet come out as strongly, but he has sent in 1,000 extra police officers, particularly because now the French Intifada, they're now using shotguns besides rocks and, you know, fire bombs.

Here in the United States, if we can't label the enemy among several, but one of the most principal and threatening enemies as radical Islamic fundamentalism, we've lost the battle, Glenn. We can't possibly win it. Until we can designate them for who they are, we've lost it.

BECK: OK. Steve, Sally, thank you very much.

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