Radical Muslims in France's housing estates are waging an undeclared "intifada" against the police, with violent clashes injuring an average of 14 officers each day.
As the interior ministry said that nearly 2,500 officers had been wounded this year, a police union declared that its members were "in a state of civil war" with Muslims in the most depressed "banlieue" estates which are heavily populated by unemployed youths of north African origin.
It said the situation was so grave that it had asked the government to provide police with armoured cars to protect officers in the estates, which are becoming no-go zones.
I am aware that France's disasterous socialist economy has contributed to the problem but it is not the root of the problem.
Senior officers insisted that the problem was essentially criminal in nature, with crime bosses on the estates fighting back against tough tactics.
The interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is also the leading centre-Right candidate for the presidency, has sent heavily equipped units into areas with orders to regain control from drug smuggling gangs and other organised crime rings. Such aggressive raids were "disrupting the underground economy in the estates", one senior official told Le Figaro.
However, not all officers on the ground accept that essentially secular interpretation. Michel Thoomis, the secretary general of the hardline Action Police trade union, has written to Mr Sarkozy warning of an "intifada" on the estates and demanding that officers be given armoured cars in the most dangerous areas.
He said yesterday: "We are in a state of civil war, orchestrated by radical Islamists. This is not a question of urban violence any more, it is an intifada, with stones and Molotov cocktails. You no longer see two or three youths confronting police, you see whole tower blocks emptying into the streets to set their 'comrades' free when they are arrested."
Do you believe the officials or the cops on the ground? Couple that with a growing abhorent practice of systemic gang rape in those same areas:
In deprived, out-of-town estates in France, teenage girls have become targets, victims of a code that labels them easy game for gang rape.
It's not even called rape. They call it a tournante, or pass-round. The banality is deliberate: a joint, a girl - same difference. Sometimes, they call it a plan petasse, or slag-plan, because that's what any girl who sleeps with her boyfriend is, and that's why she's fair game. Sometimes, it's a basement-plan, because that's where it happens, as well as in garbage disposal rooms, schools, courtroom toilets.
The kids who live in the banlieue call them "the neighbourhoods". Or, in the outskirts of Paris, Neuf-trois (93), Neuf-deux (92), or the other postcodes that set them apart from the 75 of the city centre, and a whole other life. In official-speak, they are "difficult zones" or "sensitive areas", both of which are accurate for these huge, grim housing estates, thrown up in the 1950s to house immigrants - mostly north African, but also sub-Saharan or French Caribbean - and workers for the nearby factories.
This is the code of the banlieue. At a family planning class, a teenage boy says, "French girls are for f***ing and Arab girls are for marrying." The woman who told me this was shocked, not only because the boy was white and "French", but because all the girls in the class applauded. Being more macho than the lads is an escape route, explains Deflaoui. To the extent that girls act as touts. Nadia was delivered to her rapists by two girls she knew...
The girl interviewed in the second article insists that this practice does not stem from Islamic attitudes, she herself is a Muslim. And yet, later in the article only girls who stay home, take care of men and wear concealing clothing are deemed "safe". Safe wearing a burkha?