November 20, 2005

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN: A report on Muslim alienation in France:

This chance meeting was not unique. I’ve had it many times in France and Germany: a conversation with an enthusiastic Muslim or African who is surprised that someone will pay attention. Listening to them, I find that they are enthusiastic about their European homeland (adopted or natal.) They are culturally aware, exhibiting (what I consider) good social practices for their milieu. Yet they remain outsiders. I have also asked Frenchmen and Germans about Muslims and Africans: “Why are people who seem assimilated not accepted?” The question can turn a conversation on its end, turning transnational discourse into national defense.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Blogging from France, Joel Shepherd responds:

I agree that’s true, but I think the malaise goes deeper. The trouble with the kind of cultural separatism mentioned here is that it manifests itself in economics too.

It’s all a function of French insecurity. Of course, not all Muslims want to integrate.

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