France vindicated, sort of...

In a brilliant piece in Foreign Affairs, Robert S. Leiken of the Nixon Center analyzes the greatest threat in the war on terror, European Muslims. European nations are faced with rising Muslim populations that have not been integrated into the culture of their European host countries.
[I]t is estimated that between 15 and 20 million Muslims now call Europe home and make up four to five percent of its total population. France has the largest proportion of Muslims (seven to ten percent of its total population), followed by the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Italy. Given continued immigration and high Muslim fertility rates, the National Intelligence Council projects that Europe's Muslim population will double by 2025.
Some (a number unknown but certainly small) members of the second and third generations of European Muslims, born in Europe but raised in isolation from European culture, are being radicalized and recruited by al-Queda and other terrorists.

Leiken recounts in gripping detail the life of Mohammed Bouyeri, the recently convicted murderer of Theo van Gogh, avant garde film maker and descent of painter Vincent van Gogh. Educated and receiving state benefits, Bouyeri is representative of what Leiken terms the insider jihadists.
The insiders, on the other hand, are a group of alienated citizens, second- or third-generation children of immigrants, like Bouyeri, who were born and bred under European liberalism. Some are unemployed youth from hardscrabble suburbs of Marseilles, Lyon, and Paris or former mill towns such as Bradford and Leicester. They are the latest, most dangerous incarnation of that staple of immigration literature, the revolt of the second generation. They are also dramatic instances of what could be called adversarial assimilation -- integration into the host country's adversarial culture.
European nations have been slow to respond to this simmering threat. Even Britain, the US's staunchest ally in its war on terror, has allowed radicals to proselytize and recruit jihadists under the protection of British citizenship; the infamous shoebomber Richard Reid was recruited under just these circumstances. Only after the July bombings in London's underground did the Blair government finally start to crack down. The much maligned France, though, has not succomb to its neighbors blindspot for the sepratist multi-culturalism that encourages European terroristism.
Well before September 11, France had deployed the most robust counterterrorism regime of any Western country....To prevent proselytizing among its mostly North African Muslim community, during the 1990s the energetic French state denied asylum to radical Islamists even while they were being welcomed by its neighbors. Fearing, as Kepel puts it, that contagion would turn "the social malaise felt by Muslims in the suburbs of major cities" into extremism and terrorism, the French government cracked down on jihadists, detaining suspects for as long as four days without charging them or allowing them access to a lawyer. Today no place of worship is off limits to the police in secular France. Hate speech is rewarded with a visit from the police, blacklisting, and the prospect of deportation.
The riots that have plagued the French for the last two weeks are not the result of civil rights laws that coddle radicals but instead the xenophobia of French citizens who refused, after the loss of their empire in the 1950s, to truly integrate their Algerian and Morroccan colonials into French culture and society. For both France and Britain—with its growing Pakistani Muslim population—nineteenth century imperialistic policies are still haunting the twenty-first century.


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