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05 February 2012

Francis Fukuyama Blames Europeans for the Failed Integration of Muslims

I've been reading Fukuyama's book "The Origins of Political Order" recently and so far it's been very impressive.

But his analysis in a recent blog post (recapitulating a speech he gave last November) of what's gone wrong with European countries and their Muslim immigrants is deeply naive. He starts off with France.

A lot of people pointed to the riots that occurred in the French banlieues back in 2005 as evidence of an Islamist threat existed in France itself. I think that this is a complete misunderstanding of what happened there. ...What was going on in the French banlieues was very different. These were people that did not reject French identity; they in fact believed in the goals that the French society set for them but they were not allowed to achieve them. They could not get jobs; they were barred by racism from access to opportunities that white French people had and that was the source of their unhappiness.

OK, so French racism is to blame for the failure to integrate Muslims in France. What about Germany?
The German case is very different. German national identity evolved very differently from France. Partly due to the fact that the Germans were scattered all over Central and Eastern Europe, the process of German unification required definition of Germanness in ethnic terms. So legally their citizenship law was based on the legal principle of jus sanguinis. You become a citizen not if you are born on German territory, but rather depending on whether you have a German mother. Up until the year 2000, if you were an ethnic German coming from Russia, you could get citizenship far more easily than if you were a 2nd or 3rd generation Turk that had grown up in Germany, spoke perfect German and did not speak Turkish at all. Germans have changed their practice but the cultural meaning of saying I am German is still very different from the cultural meaning of saying I am French. It has a connotation that is more deeply rooted in blood. This means that when Angela Merkel says that multiculturalism has failed in Germany, I think she is only half right. She would be quite wrong to describe that failure one-sidedly as an unwillingness of Muslim immigrants and their children to want to integrate into German society. Part of the failure of integration comes from the side of the German society as well.

OK, so the German inclusion of ancestry as an element in the definition of their national identity (which the multicult would no doubt describe as 'racism') explains the failure of Muslim integration in Germany. What about Holland?
In Holland, national identity has always been defined by the pillarization (verzuilung)of Dutch society, its division into protestant, catholic and socialist pillars. The Dutch are famously tolerant but it’s a strange kind of tolerance. They tolerate people as long as they do things over there but not in my community. In a certain sense, it was a natural thing for Muslims to start arriving in the Netherlands and to create their own pillars, since that’s the way the Dutch themselves were organized. This lead to the emergence so-called “black” schools, in which you have only Muslim students with no opportunities to interact with native Dutch people. I think this has been one of the important obstacles in promoting faster and greater immigrant integration into Dutch society.

Hmm, so Dutch support for community "pillars" is to blame for the failure of Muslim integration there? OK, let's move on to Britain.
The failure of immigrant assimilation has in certain ways been the greatest in Britain – the European country that went for multiculturalism the most whole-heartedly. This was based on a mistaken interpretation of multiculturalism. In Britain there was a belief that pluralism meant you have to respect the autonomy of individual immigrant communities. The government had no role in actively trying to integrate them into a broader British culture. I had a colleague Robert Leiken who wrote a book called Europe’s Angry Muslims, that will be published in the United States very shortly, which gives some fascinating statistics in terms of the number of members of minority groups recruited into extremist organizations. In terms of the number of attempted violent acts by members of this community on a per capita basis he notes that Britain has the highest rate by far – much higher than in France, Holland, or Germany. The reason for that was that the British approach to multiculturalism that simply left radical imams to preach in their local communities without any interference from the authorities and without any effort by the state to actively use the education system to produce people that have allegiance to the British state. Again, the British have changed these policies in the last few years in the light of the subway bombings and other terrorist acts. But there is still a very problematic relationship between that country and its immigrant communities.

OK, so in Britain it's the laissez-faire approach to national identity that's to blame. The government should have intervened to suppress all the crazy preachers and brainwashed the Muslims into feeling British.

There's a pattern to his analysis; and the pattern is that Europeans are always to blame. This is basically just another application of the "European guilt" ideology that dominates our age. He goes through a list of European countries where Muslim immigrants and causing problems and then contrives a reason to blame the Europeans for the failure.

Altough he notes the diversity of the integration approaches that have been tried, there are two significant factors he does not mention. One is that non-Muslim third-world immigrants have not caused anything like the same degree of problems. Another is that the Muslims causing these problems are enormously diverse themselves: Turks in Germany, North Africans in France, Indian sub-continent Muslims in Britain.

The only reasonable conclusion a person who has not absorbed the ideology of European guilt could draw from the set of circumstances described is that the source of the problem lies with the Muslims, not the Europeans; and since the only thing these diverse Muslims have in common is Islam, the problem must lie very specifically in the ideology of Islam itself. Even if you knew nothing about Islam, you could reach that conclusion based on simple logic alone.

What does Fukuyama think about Hindu immigration polices in Europe and elsewhere? Or Shintoist immigration policies? Buddhist or Zoroastrian immigration policies? Of course he's probably never even thought in those terms. There's never been a reason for him to. And that right there points out the source of the problem.

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