Targeted Paris District Is ISIS' Multicultural Nightmare

In the arrondissements hit hardest by ISIS' attacks, Muslims, Jews, Christians — and hipsters, too — all coexist and thrive.
Posted at 4:44 PM, Nov 20, 2015

“There are people from every color," Samir Ben Dali told us. "There are people from every religion. There are tourists. It’s truly a mixed neighborhood. There is a mixture of people."

Paris’ 10th and 11th Arrondissements are a multicultural melting pot. And locals say that’s likely why ISIS attacked it.

“This is where Parisians live," Lifelong resident Charlotte Medinger said. "It’s not like a touristic area where you just walk around and stuff. This is, like, real Paris.”

Rebecca Zissman, another lifelong 11th Arrondissement local, said, “My close friends are from Morocco, Serbia, French of course.”

"Here there is an African community that is in the restaurant business," Pape Diop, a restaurant owner, said. "There is a Chinese community that is in the fast food business. You also have the French restaurants and also the Jews that are involved with commerce."

"And in recent years, it became very trendy," Zissman said. "A lot of hipsters, these kinds of people came.”

"Their target were the cafes, so I think they planned to attack young people," shopkeeper Angelique Jourdrel said. "They attacked freedom and alcohol consumption because they do not tolerate this."

ISIS hates multiculturalism and diversity. As they’ve made clear in broadcasts and publications, their goal is to separate out Muslims and Christians. Muslims here say that’s likely why this diverse district was attacked.

"Maybe it’s because it’s a neighborhood that has a huge mixture," Ben Dali said. "It is a neighborhood that is becoming more popular."

"There isn’t a war between the community," Diop said. "I have never felt an ounce of racism in this neighborhood."

And locals say they’ll keep living the way they always have.

Rebecca Zissman and Cyril Peter contributed to this report.