Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Opinionator

September 5, 2007, 1:07 pm
Those Arrests in Germany
By Tobin Harshaw
Tags: , ,

Well, no sooner do I bring up concerns over Muslim assimilation in Europe than, as if on cue, the German authorities say they have discovered a more serious home-grown threat: two German converts to Islam (along with one Turkish resident of Germany) have been arrested for allegedly“planning major terrorist attacks against several sites frequented by Americans, including the busy United States air base at Ramstein and the Frankfurt international airport.”

As of now the details are sketchy, but that won’t stop the Internet opinionizing. Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters has some cautious speculation:
This follows the Danish action to quash a terror plot in Copenhagen yesterday. These events are probably unconnected in the pragmatic sense, but symbolically may be another story. With the anniversary of 9/11 coming next week, terrorist cells would aim for a spectacular attack even without central coordination. It’s also possible that they are connected to al-Qaeda in a more direct fashion, and since these men got captured alive in both instances, we may get good intel on whatever connections they have.
John Cole at Balloon Juice feels the appropriate response is sarcasm. “Time to invade, since there apparently is a terrorism problem in Germany,” he writes. “Let’s bring freedom and democracy to Germany as we fight them over there instead of over here and do for Germany what we did for Iraq!”

While Ron Beasley at Middle Earth Journal finds a comparison instructive: “It sounds like this may have been a real one - unlike the phony ones the U.S. has been able to ‘break up.’ And they managed to do it with out ignoring 800 years of legal tradition and turning their country into a police state.”

So does Andrew Sullivan, although with a bit more gravitas:
Congrats to the Germans. Some obvious points: these men are educated, two of three are German nationals, all seem to have been trained not in Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan, but in Pakistan, a putative ally. It is hard to see how the Iraq war - whether a failure or a success - would have any impact on this tiny cell’s attempt at mass murder in the name of God. This is simply the religious violence we have to contend with for the indefinite future. All we can do is what the Germans did: keep up surveillance (with protections against abuse), and run as many to ground as we can.

September 5, 2007, 9:13 am
Just How Are Muslims Integrating in Europe?
By Tobin Harshaw
Tags: , , ,

The European immigration debate received its latest coal to the fire in the form of an analysis of British data by four researchers at the private Instititute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany. (Download the PDF file here.)

The study found that “Muslims integrate less and more slowly than non-Muslims.” It continues:
A Muslim born in the UK and having spent there more than 50 years shows a comparable level of probability of having a strong religious identity than a non-Muslim just arrived in the country. Furthermore, Muslims seem to follow a different integration pattern than other ethnic and religious minorities. Specifically, high levels of income as well as high on-the-job qualifications increase the Muslims’ sense of identity. We also find no evidence that segregated neighborhoods breed intense religious and cultural identities for ethnic minorities, especially for Muslims. This result casts doubts on the foundations of the integration policies in Europe.
Michael van der Galiën, the prolific young Dutch blogger, is concerned but also sees some wiggle room in the data. “The researchers did not ask what national identity the immigrants identify with, they solely focused on ‘the importance of religion, attitude towards inter-marriage, and the importance of racial composition in schools,’ ” he notes at The Van Der Galiën Gazette.

“Therefore, the researchers admit that ‘it is very well possible that integration in terms of national identity […] follows a very different pattern than the integration in terms of attitude towards religion, marriage, and schooling, which is what we attempt to measure here.’ Other research has, indeed, indicated that when talking about national identities, Muslim immigrants do follow a more normal pattern.”


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