The Myth of the Muslim Tide
Do Immigrants Threaten the West?Book - 2012
Even among people who would never subscribe to its more dramatic claims, the "Eurabia" movement has popularized a set of seemingly common-sense assumptions about Muslim immigrants to the West: that they are disloyal, that they have a political agenda driven by their faith, that their nhigh reproduction rates will soon make them a majority. These beliefs are poisoning politics and community relations in Europe and North America--and have led to mass murder in Norway. Rarely challenged, these claims have even slipped into the margins of mainstream politics.
Doug Saunders believes it's time to debunk the myth that immigrants from Muslim countries are wildly different and pose a threat to the West. Drawing on voluminous demographic, statistical, scholarly and historical documentation, Saunders examines the real lives and circumstances of Muslim immigrants in the West: their politics, their beliefs, their observances and their degrees of assimilation. In the process he shatters the core claims that have built a murderous ideology and draws haunting historical parallels showing how the same myths stuck to earlier groups, such as Jews and Roman Catholics. His work will become a vital handbook in the culture wars that threaten to dominate North American and European elections and media discussions in 2012 and afterwards, and will provoke considerable debate over the actual nature of our polyglot societies.
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We see it repeatedly when a new group of immigrants arrives who are members of a religious minority, usually poor and ill-accustomed to the language and folkways of their new country and the workings of its economy. In response to these strange newcomers writers and politicians offer the same set of frightened, frightening ideas: They are different from previous groups. They don’t want to integrate. Their religion compels them to impose their values on us. Their reproduction rates will swamp us. They are disloyal and capable of violence... That said, the circumstances and context of each immigrant wave are profoundly different, and the outcome will never be exactly the same. But we should learn to recognize the pattern and to remember the long, awkward struggle for integration endured by those earlier waves, to identify the arguments that appear every time in literature, scholarship and politics, and then take care to make sure that we don’t repeat those mistakes.
The arrival of millions of people from poor religious-minority backgrounds in Western countries was a traumatic, politically controversial, sometimes violent affair... We forget that the sons of arrivals from Poland and Ireland failed to do better economically than their fathers, were often more religiously extreme, and refused to marry outside their ethnic circle. We forget that this was considered a threat to our democracy and civilization. We forget that it was nearly universal to see these people as members of an alien civilization, to distrust them because of the presume motives of their religion, to associate them with violence, to believe that they were deliberately refusing to integrate and that there was plenty of evidence to support such views. The integration of Catholic and Jewish immigrants into our economies and societies took far longer than we remember. To avoid the mistakes of hindsight, we should take the time to remember.
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