Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Immigrants, Islam, and European Democracy

Immigrants, Islam, and European Democracy


European politics continues to be roiled by debates over immigration and national identity. The questions of whom to admit and how to encourage the integration of the new arrivals into the indigenous society each raise complex issues about defining the national community and the responsibilities of those who want to join it. Such issues have played a role throughout European history as the various states of the continent have modified their borders and transferred populations, but they emerge with especially vehemence when the new arrivals come from outside of Europe, and especially when they are Muslims. Although a cynic could say that European society had been successfully undermining its Christian identity and Western Civilization all on its own over the past couple of centuries, facing the prospect of large numbers of non-Christian immigrants has brought the issue out into the open.

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