Posted by: Mike | June 25, 2008

Muslims in Europe… Oh My!

It’s official- radical Muslims are invading Europe. Alright, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But the influx of unassimilated Muslims into Europe is bound to be one of the greatest and most persistent problems “indigenous” Europeans will face in the coming century. Unlike in America, where studies show that Muslim immigrants are quick to assimilate, Europe’s Muslim population has remained largely autonomous from mainstream European culture. A lot of this has to do with discrimination and a lack of employment opportunities for European Muslims. Consider the following: young Muslims living in France have to contend with an unemployment rate of about 30% (the unemployment rate of France as a country is 10%). Likewise, the unemployment rate for British Muslims is 15%, about ten points higher than the rate for the general population. The fierce rioting that occurred in France in 2005 ago were largely a manifestation of malcontent caused by unemployment.

What are the consequences of the failure of Europe to assimilate its Muslim population? Let’s start with the curtailing of freedom of speech. As many know, the publishing of offensive cartoons in Denmark sparked rioting and fierce anger among European Muslims (and those elsewhere in the world). The death of Theo van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker critical of Islam, must send chills down the spines of every European who values free expression. At the same time, these events foreshadow what will come if European Muslims continue to rise to prominence without assimilating. European culture would be radically changed, and tolerance for groups like ranging from gays and lesbians to women would surely diminish. I fear that a time may soon come when unassimilated European Muslims are able to deeply influence the politics of what is now a bastion of progressive thought and enlightened policies.

So what is Europe to do? First, European countries need to rethink their immigration policies toward Islamic countries. As the population of Europe is aging, it is imperative that Europe encourage immigration. However, it is pointless to welcome immigrants from impoverished nations if your country is unable to assimilate them and offer them economic opportunities. Therefore, I propose that Europe temporarily cut off immigration from the Islamic world. This policy must exist until Europe can find a way to guarantee jobs to its Muslim immigrants.

Second, European countries must make a new drive to employ young Muslims. In America, the children of immigrants are invariably better assimilated than the immigrants themselves. Not so in Europe. If European nations were to implement programs similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps that existed in the U.S. during the Great Depression, and taylor these programs toward unemployed Muslim youths, they could kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand, young Muslims would be given work (and paychecks). On the other, these Muslim youths would be able to improve their European countries in a very tangible way. Hopefully, this would inspire national pride, which is integral to any integration effort.

Many Americans fret over U.S. predicaments regarding immigration. Truth be told, America has it easy when it comes to immigration policy. The immigrants flocking to America are Christians whose values and beliefs are quite similar to those of mainstream America. It is much easier to assimilate Hispanics immigrating to America than it is to assimilate Muslims in Europe- studies will back me up on this one. Europe, unlike America, is facing a problem that will probably alter its landscape. Let’s just hope too much damage is not done.

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Responses

  1. To a large extent, there are no support organizations in Europe to help these Muslims. Many non-Muslim immigrants like Afghan Hindus and Sri Lankan Tamils are categorized as “refugees”, so governments have a degree of obligation to cater for their well-being. E.g. refugee housing in London. Since these Muslims are voluntary immigrants (with the possible exception of Kurdish refugees), they are often left to fend for themselves.


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