<i>Reflections on the Revolution in Europe </i>In The NYT
August 04, 2009, 05:38 PM
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I`ve been looking forward to Christopher Caldwell`s new book and positive reviews like this one from Fouad Ajami makes me think I need to go out and buy it.
In his "Reflections on the Revolution in Europe," Christopher Caldwell, a meticulous journalist who writes for The New York Times Magazine and other publications, gives this subject its most sustained and thoughtful treatment to date. The question of Islam in Europe has occasioned calls of alarm about "Eurabia," as well as works of evasion and apology by those who insist Islam is making its peace with European norms. Caldwell`s account is subtle, but quite honest and forthright in its reading of this history. "Islam is a magnificent religion that has also been, at times over the centuries, a glorious and generous culture. But, all cant to the contrary, it is in no sense Europe`s religion and it is in no sense Europe`s culture," he writes.

It hadn`t taken long for Islam to make its new claim on Europe. Caldwell`s numbers give away the problem: "In the middle of the 20th century," he tells us, "there were virtually no Muslims in Western Europe." Now there are more than 15 million, including 5 million in France, 4 million in Germany and 2 million in Britain.

The native populations in Western Europe hadn`t voted to have the Turks and the Moroccans in Amsterdam, the Kurds in Sweden, the Arabs in London and the Pakistanis and Indians in Bradford and West Yorkshire. The post-World War II economic boom, and labor shortages, brought the immigrants, and they put down roots in their surroundings. In time, labor immigration ??€?“gave way to refugee immigration and to immigration aimed at reunifying (and forming) families.... Admitting immigrants changed from an economic program to a moral duty."

A fault line opened in European society. On one side were those keen to keep their world whole and theirs; on the other was elite opinion, insisting on the inevitability and legitimacy of the new immigration. For their part, the new arrivals, timid at first, grew expansive in the claims they made. This was odd: they had fled the fire, and the failure, of their ancestral lands, but they brought the fire with them. Political Islam had risen on its home turf in the Middle East and North Africa, in South Asia, but a young generation in Europe gave its allegiance to the new Islamist radicalism. Emancipated women had shed the veil in Egypt and Turkey and Iran in the 1920s; there are Muslim women now asserting their right to wear the burqa in Paris. [Strangers in The Land, By Fouad Ajami, New York TImes Magazine, July 29, 2009]

[VDARE.com note: This review has already been attacked by Eboo Patel in the Washington Post, who objected to the photograph below of "a group of fully covered Muslim women set against a crowd of `normal-looking` mostly-white Europeans..."] Below, colorful diverse Muslims in Paris