Not all Muslims want to integrateSome of you may have read this essay by now, but I post it here for those of you who haven't. Bruce Bawer is an American journalist and writer, now living in Oslo, Norway:
Not all Muslims want to integrate
Americans know about ghettos. For many of our families, they've been a stage in the transition from immigrant to native. Many ghetto residents are still, essentially, foreigners; integration takes place largely in the next generation, as the children of immigrants go to school, find jobs, and leave the ghetto behind. Not in Europe. Officially, to be sure, France is less multicultural than most European countries - witness its rejection of religious labels in public documents and its ban on hijabs in schools. But enduring segregation is a fact of life in France as it is elsewhere on the continent. Millions of "French Muslims" don't consider themselves French. A government report leaked last March depicted an increasingly two-track educational system: More and more Muslim students refuse to sing, dance, participate in sports, sketch a face, or play an instrument. They won't draw a right angle (it looks like part of the Christian cross). They won't read Voltaire and Rousseau (too antireligion), Cyrano de Bergerac (too racy), Madame Bovary (too pro-women), or Chrétien de Troyes (too chrétien). One school has separate toilets for "Muslims" and "Frenchmen"; another obeyed a Muslim leader's call for separate locker rooms because "the circumcised should not have to undress alongside the impure."
In Britain, imams have pressed the government to designate part of Bradford as being under Muslim law. In Belgium, Muslims in the Brussels neighborhood of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek consider it to be under Islamic jurisdiction. In Denmark, Muslim leaders have sought similar control over parts of Copenhagen. In France, an official met with an imam at the edge of Roubaix's Muslim district out of respect for his declaration that it was Islamic territory. In many cities, police have stopped patrolling certain enclaves, the authorities having effectively ceded control to local religious leaders. No surprise, then, that a Muslim rioter in Århus, Denmark, the other day cried out: "This area belongs to us!" Amir Taheri, editor of Politique Internationale, noted that the main reason for the French riots is not that two youths died hiding from cops in a transformer station; it's that the state responded to the initial unrest by sending police into an area that many locals saw as their own inviolate domain. These riots, in short, are early battles in a continent-wide turf war.