Rising Muslim Population Alters the West: Poses Challenge for U.S. and Europe

(UPI/NewsMax) - Uwe Siemon-Netto In Manchester, England, a radical Muslim who does not even speak English has been elected to the city council, where he needs an interpreter. In France, about 70,000 young women, chiefly Muslim, are subjected to forced marriages every year, according to the country's High Council for Integration. Are European governments still masters in their own house? And to what extent will the growth of their Islamic communities have serious repercussions on foreign and domestic affairs? According to terrorism expert Michael Radu of the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute, there are between 12 and 16 million Muslims living in the EU's 15 member states, "more than in most Arab countries." "In certain countries Muslim communities have reached a critical mass, which pushes otherwise lucid politicians to see where their electoral weight lies. In France this is obviously the case....In Germany, the number of voters of Turkish origin made the difference that allowed [Chancellor Gerhard] Schroeder to remain in power." Earlier this year elections were held in Muslim congregations in France for the 50 seats on a national council. The result was a shock. The group around Dalil Boubakeur, the moderate rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris, who was supposed to be the council's first leader, won merely two seats. But the most radical organization came in second, with 14 seats. France has 5-6 million Muslims, whose young generation seems particularly troublesome, according to Radu. Half of these young Muslims "reject the French identity. They reject their immigrant parents' national identity. They see themselves not as Frenchmen but as Muslims" and are "very vulnerable to recruitment by radicals." Similarly, a substantial segment of young Muslims in the United Kingdom does not identify with Britain but only with Islam. Thus, Radu said, "it is not surprising" that the detainees in Guantanamo include nine British subjects. While most of the 3.5 million Muslims in Germany are of Turkish origin, "The Central Islamic Council of Germany is dominated by Islamists," said Ursula Spuler-Stegemann, who teaches Islamic studies at Marburg University.

2003-07-11 00:00:00

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