Islamic headscarves for sale. A shop window in Molenbeek, Brussels. Photo: Quarsan

The Islamisation myth

In the wake of the London and Madrid bombings, predictions proliferated in print and on web that Islam was entering a radicial and violent phase. Dire warnings of the imminent “Islamisation” of Europe have turned out, however, to be of little substance, reports the Observer.

Published on 28 July 2009 at 11:00
Islamic headscarves for sale. A shop window in Molenbeek, Brussels. Photo: Quarsan

In Europe, a wave of religious based mayhem was anticipated following the bomb attacks in Madrid and London. “A few years on, such fears look misplaced,” write Jason Burke and Ian Traynor in the Observer. A newpoll by Gallup shows that the radicalisation of the EU's 20 million Muslims has not taken place. Asked if violent attacks on civilians could be justified, 82% of French Muslims and 91% of German Muslims said no. Such figures are backed up Europe's counter-terror strategists who report that the tide of radicalisation of young Muslim men is ebbing.

Burke and Traynor examine the meaning of integration. “The Gallup poll found European Muslim immigrants tend to stress social and economic questions - housing, jobs, access to education - as markers of integration, whereas so-called "host communities" tend to stress morals and customs”.

Polls also find that Muslim communities are influenced by their countries of residence. In France, where 45% of people said in a survey that adultery is morally acceptable, so did a high proportion of Muslims. This is a trend that deepens with succeeding generations. In terms of opinions and behaviour, second-generation Dutch migrants “are much more orientated towards Dutch society than their parents.”

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