BUY THIS BOOK. Last week, Brookings held a great book launch event for Integrating Islam: Political and Religious Challenges in Contemporary France by Jonathan Laurence and Justin Vaisse. The book hit the Prospect�s office today, and it appears to be an exceedingly important read for anyone trying to understand how governments can help promote (or stunt) the integration process of Muslims immigrants to Europe.
This book challenges alarmist takes from right-wing quarters that demographic and other factors are fostering an �Islamization� of Europe. Using France as a case study, Laurence and Vaisse flip that argument to show that Islam is becoming �Europeanized� instead; �French Islam,� they argue, �is replacing Islam in France.� Concurrently, the integration of Muslims in France is generally on a positive path. As they put it, �There is little reason to subscribe to the conventional view of an increasingly fractured society in which immigrants and citizens of Muslim origin form anti-Semitic hordes on the verge of imposing shari�a law.�
Interestingly, this recent Pew Report (which I assume was published too late to include in the book) would back up this claim. French Muslims are far less anti-Semitic than their counterparts in other European countries. And at rates greater than other European Muslims, French Muslims consider themselves a �national citizen� (as opposed to a �Muslim�) first.
In any case, I couldn�t recommend it more highly for those wishing to understand the dynamics of Islam and migrant integration in Europe today.
--Mark Leon Goldberg