Yesterday, Ross Douthat criticized Switzerland's minaret ban, and somehow managed to compound anti-Islamic sentiment all while asking Europe to "keep a lid on prejudice."
Douthat argues that the EU’s failure to integrate their Muslim populations stems from the fact that there are too many Muslims in Europe to begin with. Apparently, Muslims have been allowed to overrun the continent as a result of overly permissive legislation forged in the guilty consciences of Europe’s leaders in the wake of colonialism, and imposed unilaterally on the European populace.
Now I happen to be of the opinion that granting former colonial subjects access to Europe would have been the least Europeans could do after ravaging their countries for, in some cases, centuries. However, to suggest that the immigration of Muslims to Europe over the course of the 20th century is entirely attributable to these policies is to discount more than six decades of haphazard immigration legislation -- sometimes permissive, sometimes restrictive. It also ignores that the flow of immigration has not been constant and that the reasons for it are varied. To use the example at hand, Switzerland's Muslim population has doubled in recent years, and much of the influx across the continent can been attributed to increased access to education and employment opportunities.
Douthat concludes that fears of a Muslim-majority “Eurabia” on the horizon are probably ill-founded. But, he cautions:
This is cold comfort, though, if you have to live under the shadow of violence. Just ask the Swiss, who spent last week worrying about the possibility that the minaret vote might make them a target for Islamist terrorism.
So, as Douthat tells it, unhappy Muslims beget violence which begets terrorism. He makes no mention of the fact that all responses to the ban have taken the form of peaceful demonstrations and violence against Muslims across Europe is on the rise.
[The Swiss are] right to worry. And all of Europe has to worry as well, thanks to the folly of its leaders — now, and for many years to come.
If anyone has cause for worry it seems to be Muslims themselves and other minorities who find themselves at the center of a revisionist narrative that absolves contemporary Europeans and the politicians they elect from any responsibility for the racism and xenophobia they espouse.
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