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America has long been a “melting pot” – it is time for Europe to head in the same direction to address ethnic and religions division long-term.

France and the rest of Western Europe have never honestly confronted the issues raised by Muslim immigration

Two days after the Charlie Hebdo killings, there was a disturbing indication on Le Monde’s website of how French people were thinking. One item about the killing vastly outpaced all others in popularity. The reactions of Europe’s leaders was shared about 5,000 times, tales of Muslim schoolchildren with mixed feelings about 6,000, a detailed account of the Charlie Hebdo editorial meeting ended by the attack, 9,000. Topping them all, shared 28,000 times, was a story about reprisals: “Mosques become targets, French Muslims uneasy.” Those clicks are the sound of French fear that something larger may be under way.

France’s problem has elements of a military threat, a religious conflict and a violent civil-rights movement. It is not unique. Every country of Western Europe has a version. For a half-century, millions of immigrants from North and sub-Saharan Africa have arrived, lured by work, welfare, marriage and a refuge from war. There are about 20 million Muslims in Europe, with some 5 million of them in France, according to the demographer Michèle Tribalat. That amounts to roughly 8% of the population of France, compared with about 5% of both the U.K. and Germany.

Such a migration is not something that Europeans would have countenanced at any other moment in their generally xenophobic history, and the politicians who permitted it to happen were not lucky. The movement coincided with a collapse in European birthrates, which lent the immigration an unstoppable momentum, and with the rise of modern political Islam, which gave the diaspora a radical edge.

Just why Europe has had such trouble can be partially understood by contrasting it with the U.S. Europe’s welfare states are more developed and, until recently, more open to noncitizens, so illegal or “underground” immigration has been low. But employment rates have been low, too. If Americans have traditionally considered immigrants the hardest-working segment of their population, Europeans have had the opposite stereotype. In the early 1970s, 2 million of the 3 million foreigners in Germany were in the labor force; by the turn of this century, 2 million of 7.5 million were.

Read the full article here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/europe-immigration-and-islam-europes-crisis-of-faith-1421450060

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