The Myth of the Muslim Tide
Do Immigrants Threaten the West?Book - 2012
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We see it repeatedly when a new group of immigrants arrives who are members of a religious minority, usually poor and ill-accustomed to the language and folkways of their new country and the workings of its economy. In response to these strange newcomers writers and politicians offer the same set of frightened, frightening ideas: They are different from previous groups. They don’t want to integrate. Their religion compels them to impose their values on us. Their reproduction rates will swamp us. They are disloyal and capable of violence... That said, the circumstances and context of each immigrant wave are profoundly different, and the outcome will never be exactly the same. But we should learn to recognize the pattern and to remember the long, awkward struggle for integration endured by those earlier waves, to identify the arguments that appear every time in literature, scholarship and politics, and then take care to make sure that we don’t repeat those mistakes.
The arrival of millions of people from poor religious-minority backgrounds in Western countries was a traumatic, politically controversial, sometimes violent affair... We forget that the sons of arrivals from Poland and Ireland failed to do better economically than their fathers, were often more religiously extreme, and refused to marry outside their ethnic circle. We forget that this was considered a threat to our democracy and civilization. We forget that it was nearly universal to see these people as members of an alien civilization, to distrust them because of the presume motives of their religion, to associate them with violence, to believe that they were deliberately refusing to integrate and that there was plenty of evidence to support such views. The integration of Catholic and Jewish immigrants into our economies and societies took far longer than we remember. To avoid the mistakes of hindsight, we should take the time to remember.
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