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Friday, November 04, 2005

European Muslims' Unique Conditions

Intellectual Francis Fukuyama explains that the source of the problem for Europe with its Muslims is not the Middle East. He explains that 2nd and 3rd generation Muslims in Europe do not have the comfort of the Muslim society that makes almost all decisions through tradition and culture. European Muslims have choices to make. Yet, in Europe, Muslims are not accepted into the E Pluribus Unum mode.

Fukuyama writers:

Contemporary Europeans downplay national identity in favor of an open, tolerant, "post-national" Europeanness. But the Dutch, Germans, French and others all retain a strong sense of their national identity, and, to differing degrees, it is one that is not accessible to people coming from Turkey, Morocco or Pakistan. Integration is further inhibited by the fact that rigid European labor laws have made low-skill jobs hard to find for recent immigrants or their children. A significant proportion of immigrants are on welfare, meaning that they do not have the dignity of contributing through their labor to the surrounding society. They and their children understand themselves as outsiders.

It is in this context that someone like Osama bin Laden appears, offering young converts a universalistic, pure version of Islam that has been stripped of its local saints, customs and traditions. Radical Islamism tells them exactly who they are--respected members of a global Muslim umma to which they can belong despite their lives in lands of unbelief. Religion is no longer supported, as in a true Muslim society, through conformity to a host of external social customs and observances; rather it is more a question of inward belief.

It is a world inside their heads rather than a modality developed over centuries of tradition and ethical analysis. It sounds like the Muslims are having their 1960's creating disaster at fever pitch and without the cool music

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