Wednesday, January 11, 2006

How will Islamic immigration affect European liberalism?

Conor Friedersdorf:

I prefer America's social model to that of Europe and the Muslim world. Both models have flaws that dwarf ours. If they merge within continental Europe, it is unclear which elements of each will survive.

My own preference is based on an equation that factors in the treatment of women, the ability to provide materially for one's people and propensity for military hostility toward the United States. (If French Muslims wind up as hostile to America as the Middle Eastern variety when they're the French majority, that nation's nuclear arsenal will prove particularly problematic.)

Anyone who imagines a peaceful, ordered transition from secular Europe to whatever majority Muslim society follows it has more optimism than I. How I pray that I'm wrong. Yet I foresee a clash of civilizations that seems at once hard to imagine and hard to avert.

Rather than speculate wildly about its course, allow me to recount one small example. In recent decades homosexuals have attained unprecedented legal rights and societal acceptance in Northern Europe. In Amsterdam, a city that embraces gays like San Francisco does, same-sex couples can wed, take hand-in-hand honeymoon strolls along the canals without turning heads and apply to adopt babies before settling down into marital bliss. When their children attend school, the textbooks will include gay families as a matter of course.

A majority of Dutch people support these rights and attitudes. If current immigration patterns, birth rates and social attitudes continue as they are today, a majority of Dutch people will oppose all those rights and attitudes two decades from today. Already the number of street attacks on gays has risen along with the number of Muslim immigrants hostile to homosexuality. Is it racist or xenophobic for a gay Dutchmen today to favor a moratorium on immigration if only to protect his or her lifestyle?

Now imagine all the segments of Dutch society who will feel similarly threatened as demographic shifts cause traditional Dutch culture to wane while immigrant culture waxes. Imagine the feminists who demand state-funded contraception, the Christians who want Christmas to be a state-sanctioned holiday, the social liberals who want sex education taught in schools and the social conservatives who hope to safeguard the Dutch language.

If Muslim immigrants become a majority in the Netherlands, will they liberalize their views and maintain Dutch culture? Or will Dutch law move closer to the laws in the countries of origin of these immigrants? If it's the latter, how will the Dutch react? And the Danes? And the French? And the Germans? And the Spanish? And the Italians?

Muslim Europe

What future holds for Islamic Europe


At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Stuka said...

It is inevitable that Europe is headed for civil war. So, the issue is not whether European liberalism will survive, but rather if Europe itself will survive.


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