November 7, 2005:
The riots by Moslems in France continues, going into a second week of violence. Young Moslems in the suburbs of Paris, and other French cities, are intent on driving the police out and establishing control of their own neighborhoods. At the same time, similar riots have been taking place in Denmark. In British Moslem migrants have been fighting police, and other (non-Moslem) migrants in the streets.
While France is seven percent Moslem, only two percent of Denmark's population is. But Denmark, like the rest of Europe (which has about twenty million Moslems), suffers from the same problems as France. Many of the Moslem migrants, who began to appear in large numbers four decades ago, have not assimilated. Europe has long tolerated this, partly because of a belief in "Multiculturalism" and partly because Europe does not have a tradition of assimilation. This is in stark contrast to the United States, where the "melting pot," while often operating more like a salad bowl, still results in far less ghettoization than is found in Europe. Another advantage America has is that, in many parts of the country, there are so many migrants that "everyone is a minority." In Europe, homogeneity is preferred, and those who do not conform, are simply tolerated (and sometimes not) as "outsiders in residence." That's where the concept of "ghetto" came from in the first place. The ghetto is quite common the world over, but much less so in America.
Normally, the outsiders are tolerated and everyone goes about their business. But today it is different. In the past, the outsiders were often foreign merchants, sailors or other visitors. They were not seen as a long term threat. But many of the current Moslem outsiders in Europe are poor, uneducated and into their religion. And they are in Europe permanently. Many of the Moslem migrants came from poor rural regions in the old country. They migrated for jobs, not to trade their cultural identity for a new one. The children, and grandchildren, of these migrants did not take full advantage of the educational opportunities in their new homelands. The locals were not very accepting either, and the migrants did not have a web of family and community contacts to help the kids get jobs. Unemployment is high. The European governments tried to paper this over with generous welfare and jobless benefits. But this just turned the government into the payroll department for the local branch of al Qaeda.
After September 11, 2001, when European intelligence agencies took a real close look at their Moslem populations, they were shocked at the percentage that approved of, or supported, Islamic terrorism. It was as high as ten percent in some countries. It was higher among the young, and often unemployed, Moslem males. The riots currently underway in France, Denmark and Britain are all an extension of that. Efforts by the counter-terrorism forces to detect and catch those willing to engage in terrorist acts causes more unrest.
The European nations don't want to assimilate the Moslem migrants, and too many of the migrants have no interest in assimilation. No one has a solution to the problem, except to arrest the hard cases and try to make nice to everyone else. If that doesn't work, the fires will spread and the basic problems will not go away until, over several generations, a majority of the Middle Eastern migrant families finally adapt to the new culture they have settled in..