Powder Keg Paris: 300,000 illegal migrants are living in one French suburb. Many rely on crime or the 'black economy' to get by and live in poverty. Rule of French law, equality, religious freedom, was lost in the suburb. There are more mosques there than anywhere else and There are around 350 known jihadists living in Saint-Denis, while 1,700 are believed to have returned to France after fighting for IS in Syria, with 15,000 terrorism suspects in France. On a steamy summer's night, the sounds and smells are of Africa. Hawkers grill meat on fires built inside shopping trolleys. People jostle and sweat; thick smoke hangs in the air. West African women — les Reines de Marchand, the Queens of the Market — sell fake designer clothes. Hustlers in sunglasses work the crowds.
Some voices are from sub-Saharan Africa — Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Sudan, Eritrea, Congo, Guinea, Sierra Leone. Afghans shout and joke in Pashtun. There are thousands at this open market — haggling, eating and drinking.
At the World Express cafe, groups of men argue in Arabic. On side streets, men smoke shisha pipes and talk on every corner. Women shop in veils and scarves, always accompanied by a male relative.
As a white European, I attract odd looks. When I take out my mobile phone for a photograph, a young man jumps in front of me, waving his index finger in my face, shouting: 'La! La! La!' (No! No! No!)
Yet this is not an exotic, far-flung destination. This is France. Moreover, this is Paris and only six miles from the Eiffel Tower.
The reason for all this activity — in an area which even the most optimistic estate agent would struggle to sell as 'cosmopolitan and bohemian' — is quite simple: immigration on a mammoth scale.
This area is called Saint-Denis in the north-east of the city, where the Basilica holds the resting places of many French kings and queens.
Recently, it was reported that this sprawling district now holds as many as 300,000 illegal immigrants, many of whom rely on crime or the 'black economy' to make money. The official legal population in Saint-Denis is estimated at 1.5 million.
Not only that, according to French parliamentarians in a new report that's causing much anguish across the nation, as many as 420,000 legal residents here are living 'below the official poverty line'.
The scale of the problem grows each day. An estimated 80 migrants arrive in Paris every 24 hours — 550 a week.
There are an estimated 135 different nationalities in Saint-Denis, most extremely poor, including an estimated 600,000 Muslims from North African or sub-Saharan African backgrounds.
Having spent several days in Saint-Denis, it's clear to me that the area is already lost to France — to the rule of French law, equality, religious freedom, and even access to the streets by the police themselves.
Indeed, this is a parallel state — a state within a state, with its own rules and religious courts — where allegiance to Islam comes ahead of fealty to France.
Police have reportedly admitted the area is a 'no-go' zone, and will only drive through the areas armed and four to a vehicle.
I saw a woman walking in full face veil — illegal under a French law introduced to promote integration. No one batted an eye.
People buy and sell drugs openly. What law there is takes place inside Sharia courts, where Islamic leaders dispense the same forms of justice practiced in the countries from which many here fled.
When helicopters flew overhead in training for the Bastille Day celebrations earlier this month, one man pretended to shoot at them with a machine gun.
Another pushed him away and pretended to fire a shoulder-mounted missile, tracing the missile with his hand towards its targets and shouting: 'Boom!' Everyone laughed.
Further down the street, there was a flurry of activity. A woman was surrounded as she opened a huge bag full of phones, shoes, sunglasses and handbags — clearly stolen from tourists or Parisians. The goods were quickly sold and the crowd melted away.
Politicians on the Left try to deny the problems: Anne Hidalgo, Socialist Mayor of Paris, announced she was going to sue Fox News, the Trump-supporting Right-wing U.S. TV channel, for claiming that there were 'no-go areas' open only to Muslims.
The suit was never filed.
130 people died in a single night of violence involving suicide bombings and Kalashnikov fire around bars, cafés and venues, including the Bataclan concert hall.
The 2016 Bastille Day attack in Nice left 87 dead — including the terrorist — and 458 injured, when a truck ploughed into revellers on the Promenade des Anglais.
In Saint-Denis itself, there is a record number of mosques — 160 official ones, and many more unofficial — compared with 117 Catholic churches and 60 Protestant. Yet it is the unauthorized mosques — set up in basements and garages.
Music: into the Heat & Black Wind by Dhruva Aliman
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