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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Behind the Swiss minaret vote: Fear

Writing in the Washington Post, Anne Applebaum appears to be onto something about last week's vote against minarets in Switzerland.
The vast majority of Switzerland's 400,000 Muslims are from Turkey and Kosovo, and women from these countries generally do not follow the conservative dress codes commonly seen in places such as Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, people in places just like Nyon recently voted decisively -- 57.5 percent -- in favor of a referendum that will ban the construction of minarets on mosques throughout Switzerland. This decision has been interpreted across Europe, and particularly in the United States, as evidence of Swiss bigotry and rising religious intolerance. But it was not -- or at least not entirely. More important, it was evidence of fear, though not fear of "foreigners" or "outsiders" as such.

There is very little evidence that separatist, politically extreme Islam is growing rapidly in Switzerland. The Swiss, however, read newspapers and watch television. And in recent years separatist and politically extreme forms of Islam have emerged in every European country with a large Muslim population: Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Sweden. In all of these countries there have been court cases and scandals concerning forced marriage, female circumcision and honor killings. There have been terrorist incidents, too: Think of the London Tube bombings, the Spanish train bombs, the murder of Dutch film director Theo van Gogh. Remember that the Sept. 11 pilots came from Hamburg.

There are many explanations for this phenomenon (the best is found in Christopher Caldwell's recent book, "Reflections on the Revolution in Europe"), but, to put it very crudely, they boil down to one thing: Because of mistakes made by Europeans and by the Muslim immigrants who live beside them, the two groups have, over the past several decades, failed to integrate. Two or even three generations after their arrival, some European Muslims still live in separate communities. They often go to separate schools. And a small but vocal minority openly refuses to respect the laws and customs of their adopted countries.

No European government has found a way to deal with this phenomenon. Those that have tried often find themselves running up against their own civil rights and legal traditions. The Danes, determined to limit the number of foreign spouses entering Denmark through arranged marriages, decided that they had no choice but to make it more difficult for all Danes to marry foreigners. The French, realizing that the headscarf had become a symbol of political affiliation in some French schools, found themselves limiting the rights of all students to wear religious clothing, including yarmulkes, to school.
But here's the problem in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe: It's too late. They've already allowed in thousands of Muslim immigrants, while native European birth rates have sunk to levels that approach one child per couple. Europe will likely by Muslim by the middle of this century.

What could go wrong?


At 11:54 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its like holding back a leaking dam with a finger... and as likely to fix the leak. Europe will be good as gone in half a century.

At 12:00 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

It would seem that Eurabia is fast becoming a reality, with Londonistan its' capitol. I wonder if they are still planning the mega-mosque for London, just in time for the 2012 Olympics.

It seems that now there now is no turning back for Europe, tragically. They sat there and let it happen.I find it ironic that countries that would not help the Jews during WWII are now finding themselves being taken over by the cult of islam. I can only hope that the Jews in the UK and Europe will make Aliya while they still can.


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