August 12, 2002


Muslims in Western Europe : Dim drums throbbing in the hills half heard : Is there something about Islam that makes it impossible for Muslims to fit into western, liberal societies? (The Economist, Aug 8th 2002)
One broad conclusion is clear. Pim Fortuyn was wrong: nothing in Islam makes it impossible for Muslims to fit into West European society, as the successful integration of many thousands already attests. In particular, he was wrong to think Islam was necessarily, and therefore immutably, intolerant. It is true that some Muslims are intolerant of homosexuality and treat women badly, but homosexuality was a crime in most western countries until recently, and women did not have full voting rights in Britain until 1929. In France they were not allowed to sign cheques until 1962. Given time, and effort on all sides, most Muslims will lose their censoriousness, as well as their insistence on marrying
within their communities. And anyway, how many Catholics would still prefer their children to marry a Catholic rather than a Protestant?

This reasonably good overview of Islam in Europe manages to completely miss the most important point. Given current rates of reproduction and immigration and the need for young workers, which will force ever greater immigration, the question really isn't whether Muslims can fit into European society but whether they'll allow Europeans to remain Westernized after they take over. It's kind of frightening that even in a story like this which is intended to be a bracing look at the problem they've still got their heads buried in the demographic sand. Posted by Orrin Judd at August 12, 2002 10:31 PM
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