The Button Camera, Back Alleys, and French Multiculturalism

A deserted street in "No-Go Zone" in Paris.

I was holding my small HD camcorder, nearly hidden across the street. I could see through the open door of the Halal butcher shop. It was a busy day in this north Paris suburb, and a nearby Arab market was in full swing. Men were bringing in slabs of red meat from a white box truck, cutting it in long pieces, and hanging it on strings for purchase. As I looked through my viewfinder a hallowed face slowly drifted into frame, his eyes looking straight down my lens.

It took me a second to realize that I had been caught. Holding up a big butcher knife to the camera, another man walked by and shut the side door. This was no normal butcher shop–this was controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, a group with thick historical ties to Islamic extremism. Continue reading