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Swiss vote on minarets seen as protest against failure to assimilate Muslim immigrants

December 09, 2009

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In a provocative essay on the Swiss vote to ban the construction of minarets, David Goldman of First Things argues that the people of Switzerland—and Europe generally—are reacting not only against radical Islam, but against the supposition that even moderate Muslims cannot and should not be integrated into traditional European society. “Whether Muslim immigrants to Europe are assimilable is unclear, since Europe’s institutions have made no effort to assimilate them,” he writes.

Islamic immigration has produced a separate society, governed by its own cultural standards and growing in power. Goldman is not ready to go as far as Bernard Lewis, who famously predicted that Europe would have a Muslim majority before the end of this century. But he notes that “the enormous and growing presence of Islamic institutions in Europe jars the existing culture, and provides a host for a truly frightening extremist minority.” The fault, he argues, lies with leaders who make no effort to persuade the Muslim immigrants to adopt European cultural mores.

“Abandoned by their leaders, Switzerland’s voters took matters into their own hands,” he concludes.


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  • Posted by: - Dec. 09, 2009 9:17 PM ET USA

    leaders who make no effort to persuade the Muslim immigrants to adopt European cultural mores Starting sadly with Muslim leaders who lead toward isolation. Even educated in USA Muslims look not to integrate in my experience.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Dec. 09, 2009 7:47 PM ET USA

    I can't really blame the Muslim immigrants in Europe for not wanting to adopt European cultural (Godless) mores. For Europeans to try and assimilate them would be a waste of energy. I seem to recall that in the Old Testament God said to Israel, "If you will not serve Me, then you will serve other gods." Europe stopped serving God a long time ago. The Minarets will spread across the skylines of Europe.