The reaction in Europe to Donald Trump's recent remarks critical of the continent was all too predictable. It was an echo of the response when, following the Islamic terror attacks in November 2015 that left 130 Parisians dead, Trump said: 'Paris is no longer the same city it was....they have sections in Paris that are radicalised, where the police refuse to go there. They're petrified.'
On that occasion the liberal media and the French Establishment reacted with outrage, rejecting the idea that the Republic had lost control of parts of Paris. The mayor, Anne Hidalgo, even threatened legal action against Fox News when they repeated Trump's assertion.
Now it's Angela Merkel who is up in arms. The German chancellor is allegedly reeling in 'astonishment and agitation' from the president-elect's assertion that it was a 'catastrophic' mistake of hers to open the country's borders. It was a mistake, of course, and Merkel doth protest too much, as Hidalgo does at any suggestion that parts of Paris are no-gone zones.
If the mayor wants the full picture of what is happening to France she should spend an afternoon reading a book published this week. Written by Georges Bensoussan, Une France Soumise [A Subjected France] is the sequel to a book he authored 15 years ago, called Les Territoires perdus de la Republique [The Republic's lost territories]
Bensoussan's original book first revealed something was going horribly wrong in France within sections of the Muslim community. But if the book rattled the public, it revolted sections of the establishment who sought to discredit Bensoussan and his warning that a growing number of suburbs were being Islamified. He was subjected, he writes, to 'intellectual terrorism,' with his critics doing everything in their pusillanimous power to discredit him by calling him a racist.
But Bensoussan is a courageous man who refused to be cowed. Instead, driven by the slaughter that has befallen France in the past two years, Bensoussan embarked on a follow-up. The picture of France painted by the publication of La France Soumise is deeply troubling.
Publishing extracts from the book at the weekend, Le Figaro magazine wrote: 'The Islamists are progressing, not by the summit but by the base. They're seeking not to take power institutionally but through the conquest of society...a Salafist counter-culture, which hates what we are, has grown up within [France].'
Aware that he will be attacked by the same intellectual thugs who traduced him 15 years ago, Bensoussan researched his book so diligently that the barbs of even the most brainwashed islamo-gauchiste won't hurt. How could they, when Bensoussan drew on interviews with more than 70 people who experience daily the deepening fracture within French society?
There is Lucie, the social worker, who says that in her line of work gangs of youths guard the housing estates and let in outsiders only when they have stated who they are visiting and for what purpose. Lucie tells the story of a colleague, a psychologist, who while shopping one day in a Muslim suburb bumped into an imam, a friendly man on the previous occasion they had met on a community project. She greeted him with a smile. 'Madame,' he replied, stonily. 'This is my territory. Leave immediately. There's nothing here for you to do.'
There is Héloïse, a nurse, who tells Bensoussan that there are Muslim men who refuse to accept a visit from medical professionals because 'it is the job of their woman; to tend to them if they are sick. There is Hélène, an idealist local government administrator when she transferred two years ago at her request to a tough Parisian suburb. That idealism has long since gone, replaced by fear at how Salafism is taking hold, even among Muslims who, when she first arrived, were moderate.
Then there's Camille, a member of the CRS [Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité], France's specialised police unit. They've been on the frontline in the fight against Islamic extremism and Camille is weary, dispirited and pessimistic, describing himself as one of the 'many witnesses of this slow but inexorable descent into the hell of a democracy lacking reference points'.
Confirming that there are housing estates where fire crews and medical staff refuse to go, he adds that the CRS only dare penetrate these areas if in company-strength. When they do they still sometimes come under attack, physically and verbally. The abuse has increased since January 2015. 'This is only the start,' one Muslim youth taunted Camille. 'You'll see...in a few years Allah will be in power.'
In an interview with Le Figaro, Bensoussan explained that 'what the Islamists have understood, in seeing France and the West in general, is that there is a 'soft underbelly', a space without intellectual defences, a place to be conquered'.
Trump has been ridiculed for the size of his intellect but he's neither stupid nor soft when it comes to recognising the threat posed to the West by the Islamists. The same can't be said of Merkel, Hidalgo and many other European politicians. That's why they should read Bensoussan's book. But they won't, because the truth hurts.