The attacks in Paris have shaken the world. They are like France’s 9/11, an unprecedented disaster, which have provoked the most stringent of measures by the French state, such as the first curfew since the end of German occupation in 1944.

That occupation prevented the attacks from being unprecedented, and indeed made sure that the attacks were not the worst in French history. True, the attacks left 128 dead, but after being occupied by Nazi Germany, what worse could one do to France? On the other hand, the 9/11 attacks on the USA represented the first attacks on the US mainland since an isolated Japanese raid in World War II, and the first attack on the East Coast since the War of 1812.

However, a look at the attacks almost revealed a Europe versus America pattern. While 9/11 had been carried out by visitors, the Paris attacks were carried out by French and Belgian citizens. Whereas the USA has always prided itself on being open to migration (and thus to visitors), Europe (especially after World War II)) has imported labour in the form of migrants from ex-colonies.

However, it reflects the climate of the era that both the attacks are seen as being done by Muslims, not in racial terms (the brown versus the white), linguistic terms (Arabic-speakers versus Indo-Aryan-language-speakers) or in terms of wealth (Third versus First-Worlders). Race, linguistic nationality and wealth were once important markers, and would have been pounced on about 20 years ago as identifying the attackers. Now, it is their religion. It is further worth noting that the Paris attacks were claimed by ISIL, not Al-Qaeda, indicating that the latter had declined as a power after the death of its founder, Osama Ben Laden.

The European focus of ISIL is understandable, for Europe is its recruiting-ground. Europe itself is undergoing convulsions as it comes to terms with accepting large numbers of Syrian refugees. Both the UK and France are already hosting large migrant populations with a large Muslim component. Both have previous recent experience of race riots, as migrants see themselves as discriminated against. The feelings that led to rioting could also lead to radicalization. It would no longer be a matter of preventing citizens from going off to fight in Syria or Iraq for ISIL, but of blowing themselves up in the countries they grew up, and were probably born, in. There are already Muslim populations large enough for this, and now the Syrian refugees are being added in. It should not be a surprise that far-right parties all over Europe are rising in the polls. It is worth noting that some East European governments are shifting to anti-immigrant positions.

A corollary of the attacks is that migrant populations are battening down for retaliatory attacks. While governments may be expected to behave responsibly, the same cannot be said of the entire populace. There have as yet been no incidents comparable to the killing of a Sikh in Arizona in response to 9/11, but that is a European problem that might unfold: racial profiling by the law enforcement agencies. The problem is that all over Europe, Muslims can be racially profiled, only those races include large numbers of non-Muslims: in the UK, South Asian populations include many Hindus, while Africans in France include both Christians and animists. Only North Africans and Turks (mostly in Germany) are more or less entirely Muslim. It is a coincidence that Muslims belong to particular races, and thus have to contend with both Islamophobia as well as racial discrimination. Even the refugees from Syria or Iraq are not entirely Muslim. Christians are also fleeing ISIL to Europe, so racial profiling, satisfying as it might be to the Far Right across Europe, will not necessarily filter out militants.

It also seems that the stirrings raised by January’s Charlie Hebdo attack have not played out. That attack had caused a storm, and seemed justified to more Muslims then than the present attacks, because they involved blasphemy. These attacks do not involve anything. Indeed, the only plausible state actor behind these attacks would be Israel, hardly a Muslim country, because France had recently been supporting Palestine in its drive towards UN membership and statehood. Israel is known for its willingness to act against states which act against it in any way. However, to make any assumption of Israeli involvement would not necessarily mean US involvement, but it does mean that the militants carrying out the attack were under Israeli control. That means ISIL is under Israeli control. That has frightening implications, but is buttressed by the US control over Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which are supposed to be behind ISIL, whose anti-Shia ideology has helped them combat Iran.

It is almost as if the prejudice on ‘boots on the ground’ in the Muslim world is being overcome. While the USA is allowed to keep up its operations in Afghanistan, now Europe, or at least France, has a reason to go into Syria. When measured against ISIL, Bashar Al-Assad seems good. It should be noted that the attacks come at a time when Europe, the USA and Russia were meeting in Vienna to seek a solution. The problem, finding an alternative to Bashar, has been fobbed off to the holding of elections.

When 9/11 took place, this writer had expected Islam to become the new Bolshevism, the ideology towards which the young of the West would turn if they wished to cock a snook at their parents. However, it does not seem the young have done so. The progeny of the economic migrants seem to have, however. It seems the young white children have mostly been brainwashed by the media into believing that rebellion cannot be expressed by turning to a religion for terrorists, and have left the turning to Islam to the progeny of economic migrants.

One reason is that Islam is more demanding than Communism. First, one can have a number of left-wing attitudes without becoming a communist, but one cannot have Islamic attitudes without becoming a Muslim. Secondly, Islam asks more observance. There is no point, after all, in becoming a non-observant Muslim. Also, there is no state like the USSR to which one can fix one’s loyalty. On the other hand, those young people who come from migrant backgrounds might find that Islam is more part of their cultural heritage rather than their religious faith. A young man of Pakistani background will shock his parents if he starts practicing Islam as practiced by Arab salafis than if he followed a South Asian imam. This would involve cultural differences rather than religious.

Apparently, Pakistan is not involved in the attacks beyond offering sympathy. However, Pakistan has a diaspora in France, small only when compared to the huge one in the UK. However, as the reaction to the attacks is expected to be Europe-wide, the entire Pakistani diaspora is at risk. Already there have been reports of emails and dirty looks. That might cause a reaction here. However, the message that should go to economic migrants, that the better life they chose for themselves and theirs cannot be protected by the home country, should not be drowned out by a desire for their remittances.