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NYT book review highlights return of Islam to Europe

August 3, 2009

Another religious nugget in the Times today — this review of the book Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West by Christopher Caldwell. Fouad Ajami, who teaches at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and is a fellow at the Hoover Institution, wrote the piece which looks at how Islam found its way back to Europe after being expelled several hundred years ago. 

It hadn’t taken long for Islam to make its new claim on Europe. Caldwell’s numbers give away the problem: “In the middle of the 20th century,” he tells us, “there were virtually no Muslims in Western Europe.” Now there are more than 15 million, including 5 million in France, 4 million in Germany and 2 million in Britain.

The native populations in Western Europe hadn’t voted to have the Turks and the Moroccans in Amsterdam, the Kurds in Sweden, the Arabs in London and the Pakistanis and Indians in Bradford and West Yorkshire. The post-World War II economic boom, and labor shortages, brought the immigrants, and they put down roots in their surroundings. In time, labor immigration “gave way to refugee immigration and to immigration aimed at reunifying (and forming) families. . . . Admitting immigrants changed from an economic program to a moral duty.”

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