This week's Muslim rioting in France was touched off when a policeman in the town of Trappes gave a ticket to a Muslim woman who was wearing a face veil, in violation of French law. Her husband, enraged at this affront to the family honor, attacked the cop and began trying to strangle him. His arrest in turn enraged his fellow Muslims, and now the rioting is entering its fourth day and has spread to nearby Elancourt, with so far twenty cars torched and Muslims shooting at police.

According to CBS News, France prescribes "small fines or citizenship classes for women wearing veils." Thus this veiled woman's offense is roughly the equivalent of getting a parking ticket. Nonetheless, for her husband the ticket was an offense warranting strangulation.

A Western husband might not think that the proper response to his wife's getting a ticket would be to try to strangle the policeman, but that is precisely what the strangler and the rioters would consider to be a central failing of the West: that it lacks a sense of honor. As the social anthropologist Raphael Patai observed in his monumental The Arab Mind, in Arab culture, "cost what it may, one must defend one's public image. Any injury done to a man's honor must be revenged, or else he becomes permanently dishonored."

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