The bearded assailant who attacked a uniformed soldier patrolling the streets of Paris on Saturday remains at large. French authorities are investigating to determine if the incident is related to the killing of a soldier in London by Muslim extremists.
Former state House Speaker Bill O’Brien doesn’t need to wait for the results of an investigation. “Why can’t civil authorities anywhere in the West use direct, declarative sentences when talking about Islamic jihadists?” he complained on Facebook.
In his retelling of the incident, a man “disguised” in a North African-style robe, a djellaba, attacked a soldier in an immigrant neighborhood so dangerous that military patrols were required.
“Now that most newspapers do little if any journalism and most often see their job as rewriting press releases and promoting the liberal/progressive narrative, whenever an incident like this happens, many obvious questions are left unanswered,” he wrote.
“Why is the French army on patrol in Paris? Have the police lost control of immigrant neighborhoods in Paris?” he asked. “Why does the French Army allow men to go around in foreign disguises in French neighborhoods so dangerous that military patrols are required?”
O’Brien’s description of the attack, and the conclusions he draws from it, are not supported by the facts.
The attack took place in a busy underground railway station in La Defense, a major business district outside Paris that is home to modern high rise office towers — hardly a squalid “immigrant neighborhood.”
The soldier was not policing an immigrant neighborhood, but was part of a military patrol that has been deployed for months in transportation hubs around Paris following a threat from al-Qaeda.
And while some initial reports suggested the attacker was wearing a djellaba, (which O’Brien derisively likened to a “North-African ‘hoodie’ “), witnesses and security cameras confirm the man was wearing black pants, a black sweater and a hat.
O’Brien mocked the French Interior Minister for not immediately declaring the attack an act of Islamic terrorism. “What other groups is the French Interior Minister considering as a source of this attack?” asked O’Brien. “Have Buddhist holy warriors decided to strike out at France? Is there a Greater Luxemburg Lebensraum movement that is rearing its ugly head?”
As he prepares a run for Congress, O’Brien’s Islamophobic tirade may have scored points with his right-wing base, but most New Hampshire voters would likely prefer their representatives in Congress to heed the counsel of the minister who O’Brien ridiculed.
“There are elements — the sudden violence of the attack — that could lead one to believe there might be a comparison with what happened in London,” the French Interior Minister told France 2 television, “But at this point, honestly, let us be prudent.”