Can you have the same Europe with different people in it? The answer, says Christopher Caldwell, is no.
Europe has undergone a demographic revolution it never expected. A half century of mass immigration has failed to produce anything resembling an American-style melting pot. By overestimating its need for immigrant labor and underestimating the culture-shaping potential of religion, Europe has trapped itself in a problem to which it has no obvious solution.
Christopher Caldwell has been reporting on the politics and culture of Islam in Europe for more than a decade. His deeply researched and insightful new book reveals a paradox. Since World War II, mass immigration has been made possible by Europe's enforcement of secularism, tolerance, and equality. But when immigrants arrive, they are not required to adopt those values. And they are disinclined to, since they already have values of their own. Muslims dominate or nearly dominate important European cities, including Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Strasbourg and Marseille, the Paris suburbs and East London. Islam has challenged the European way of life at every turn, becoming, in effect, an "adversary culture."
The result? In Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, Caldwell reveals the anger of natives and newcomers alike. He describes guest worker programs that far outlasted their economic justifications, and asylum policies that have served illegal immigrants better than refugees. He exposes the strange ways in which welfare states interact with Third World customs, the anti-Americanism that brings European natives and Muslim newcomers together, and the arguments over women and sex that drive them apart. He considers the appeal of sharia, "resistance," and jihad to a second generation that is more alienated from Europe than the first, and addresses a crisis of faith among native Europeans that leaves them with a weak hand as they confront the claims of newcomers.
As increasingly assertive immigrant populations shape the continent, Caldwell writes, the foundations of European culture and civilization are being challenged and replaced. Reflections on the Revolution in Europe is destined to become the classic work on how Muslim immigration permanently reshaped the West.
Caldwell frames the issue of Muslim immigration to Europe as a question of whether you can have the same Europe with different people. The author, a columnist for the Financial Times and a senior editor at the Weekly Standard, answers this question unequivocally in the negative. He offers a brief demographic analysis of the potential impact of Muslim immigration--estimating that between 20% and 32% of the populations of most European countries will be foreign-born by the middle of the century--and traces the origins of this mass immigration to a postwar labor crisis. He considers the social, political and cultural implications of this sea change, from the banlieue riots and the ban on the veil in French public schools to terrorism across Europe and the question of Turkey's accession to the E.U. Caldwell sees immigration as a particular problem for Europe because he believes Muslim immigrants retain a Muslim identity, which he defines monolithically and unsympathetically, rather than assimilating to their new homelands. This thorough, big-thinking book, which tackles its controversial subject with a conviction that is alternately powerful and narrow-minded, will likely challenge some readers while alienating others. (July)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
July 26, 2009
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.