How does Europe Integrate its Muslims?

“How to integrate Europe’s Muslims” by Jonathan Lawrence, for the New York Times:

TWO weeks ago, dozens of cars were set alight in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand after a 30-year-old truck driver, Wissam El-Yamni, was roughed up and then died while in police custody. The uproar underscored the hostility of young minority men toward authority across communities in Europe, an antipathy that has at times led to deadly violence.

The failure of Islamic integration in Europe is often attributed — especially by right-wing parties — to an excess of tolerance toward the large-scale Muslim immigration that began in the mid-1970s. By recognizing Muslim religious requirements, the argument goes, countries like France, Britain and the Netherlands have unwittingly hindered assimilation and even, in some cases, fostered radicalism. But the unrest in gritty European suburbs stems not from religious difference, but from anomie…

In the last few months, there have been some signs that the right-wing momentum has slowed. A French bill to ban headscarves from day care centers was killed in committee. The Dutch Parliament voted down a bill to outlaw Islamic animal slaughter. And Germany’s most populous state helped offset a judicial ban on school prayer by announcing equal access to religion courses for Muslim students.

European countries could use a period of benign neglect of the Islam issue — but only after they finish incorporating religion into the national fabric. For too long, they have instead masked an absence of coherent integration policy under the cloak of “multiculturalism.” The state outsourced the hard work of integration to foreign diplomats and Islamist institutions — for example, some students in Germany read Saudi-supplied textbooks in Saudi-run institutions…

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