Muslim woman in Western city

European Politics With an Islamic Face?

The Syrian catastrophe alone ensures that Muslim immigration into Europe will continue and even expand in the next few years. If Europeans are to avoid sleep-walking into a highly troublesome future, they must recognize that failed integration, not terrorism, is the main danger they face.

LONDON – Donald Trump’s call to bar Muslims from the United States provoked the following exchange with two young friends of mine: “If the choice was between Muslim immigration and preserving liberal moral values,” I asked, “which would you choose?” They both denied the question’s premise. The immigrants themselves, they suggested, might have reactionary moral codes, but their children, growing up in today’s Britain, America, or Continental Europe, would be quite different. But is that true?

My question focused not on Islamist terrorism – the ostensible ground of Trump’s outburst – but on the threat posed by large-scale Muslim immigration to the code of morals that my young friends, like most educated Europeans, now accept without question. Terrorism aside, wouldn’t they worry if Islam came to have a growing influence on British law and politics?

This is not just a hypothetical possibility. The Muslim population in Europe was 44.1 million in 2010, or 6% of the total. There were 2.7 million Muslims in the United Kingdom in 2011 (4.8% of the population), up from 1.6 million in 2001. Given recent immigration trends and, more important, Muslims’ above-average fertility rate (three children per family versus the British average of 1.8), the Muslim share of the UK population is bound to grow for decades to come.

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