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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

January 05, 2003

At the head of the curve...

Europe migrates to the right so says Peter Robinson of the Hoover institute.

But there's a bigger story afoot on the continent, one that makes clear that European voters, if not the governing elite, recognize that something resembling a clash of cultures is underway between the Muslim and Western worlds. The flashpoint is Muslim immigration. ...conservative governments have come to power in a number of countries, including Spain, Italy, France, Austria and the Netherlands. The shift will continue for years to come.

"Muslim immigration of a very considerable size has meant that the liberal traditions and liberal political values of some of these countries have come under attack," says O'Sullivan. As a result, many voters "have switched to the right because they're worried that Muslim immigration is transforming their societies in illiberal ways as well as in more obvious cultural ones." Hitchens saw this illiberal spirit during mass demonstrations in Britain by young Pakistanis who not only wanted to burn The Satanic Verses, but who "wanted to burn the author, Salman Rushdie, too."

Crime has soared in places with heavy immigration, including Paris, Madrid, Stockholm and Amsterdam. According to the Statistical Assessment Service, London now has almost as many murders per capita as New York, half again as many rapes, twice as many assaults on auto thefts and four times as many burglaries. Indeed, London is far more dangerous than New York City. Much of this crime is blamed on Muslim immigrants, as is the massive increase in rape in Norway and crime spikes in Scandinavia and France.

Not surprisingly, Muslim immigration is also tied to the resurgence of European anti-Semitism, as seen in synagogue burnings and attacks on Jewish citizens. In this case, the anti-Jewish feelings are linked to Israel's policies regarding the Palestinians. Whatever the cause, the revival of Europe's old and discredited hatred is yet another source of friction across the continent.
Where is this all leading? A decade from now, says Hitchens, the center will be politically "much to the right" of where it now stands. O'Sullivan offers a much more troubling scenario. If these trends continue, he warns, widespread upheaval may result in conflicts that spiral out of control. We have seen that happen before, which is why O'Sullivan hopes for an increasingly close relationship between the United States and Europe: "You can predict that Europe in the future will have internal convulsions, and if America is there to make sure they're settled peaceably, we can all sleep more soundly in our beds."
I for one don't know how America can help Europe deal with its internal problems. America still can't deal with its own, largely because America is not yet willing to recognize that it is a problem.