Why social mobility is key to explaining attitudes toward multiculturalism – EUROPP

Interesting that applies to both upward and downward mobility:

What explains attitudes toward multiculturalism in Europe? And how do citizens without a migration background react when the cities they live in become more diverse? Drawing on a new study, Lisa-Marie Kraus and Stijn Daenekindt show that social mobility is a key factor in determining why some people are more optimistic about multiculturalism than others.

People without a migration background have become a numerical minority in numerous Western European cities such as London, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Vienna. Looking at the generation of children aged 15 and younger, these numbers are increasing, indicating that this is a lasting phenomenon.

These evolutions generate various challenges. One important aspect in this regard is how people without a migration background experience their changing status and, more generally, how this influences their attitudes towards multiculturalism. Some people may respond optimistically towards living in such multicultural societies: they may support ethnic diversity, embrace the idea of a multi-ethnic city and consider it as part of everyday life. Other people are rather pessimistic: they may insist on maintaining their ‘own’ culture and reject other cultural influences. How can we understand the variation in these attitudes among people without a migration background?

Inspired by numerous studies which have demonstrated the link between educational attainment and attitudes towards ethnic diversity, we hypothesised that we can find a partial answer to this question by focusing on educational social mobility. Educationally socially mobile people either hold a higher (upward mobility) or lower (downward mobility) educational qualification than their parents.

Previous research has shown that the experience of educational social mobility is an influential factor in various domains of social life and highlights the consequences of social mobility. In particular, downward mobility has been connected to feelings of frustration, depression and failure as it entails a drop in social status. Yet, even if upward mobility entails increased social status, it can also come with negative consequences.

This is because both upward and downward mobility ultimately puts individuals in a different social environment from the one they were raised in. Hence, the socially mobile are exposed to ‘alien’ lifestyles, perspectives, attitudes and habits. Because of this, socially mobile individuals may neither feel genuinely at home in the social environment in which they were raised, nor in the one in which they end up. We believe that this experience of different contexts is related to the multicultural attitudes of the socially mobile.

To investigate the role of social mobility in the formation of multicultural attitudes, we used data from people without a migration background who live in five highly ethnically diverse Western European cities: Amsterdam, Antwerp, Malmo, Rotterdam and Vienna. Our analyses show that the experience of social mobility is related to more optimistic multicultural attitudes.

Socially mobile individuals have a more positive outlook on multicultural societies than their immobile counterparts. Both upwardly and downwardly mobile individuals demonstrate greater openness to multiculturalism. While the experience of social mobility, and in particular downward mobility, has generally been associated with rather negative inter-ethnic attitudes, our study finds no evidence for this. On the contrary, both upwardly and downwardly mobile people are more open to multiculturalism than their immobile peers.

What explains this finding? We believe that the experience of social mobility allows people to adapt more easily to ethnically diverse social contexts. The socially mobile have encountered different social environments throughout their lives. This experience involves the adaption to, and navigation of, lifestyles typical of different social environments. The exposure to different social environments may lead to a general ability to adapt to different contexts and moving between these environments may make the navigation of different contexts a ‘habit’. Mobile individuals have, so to speak, embodied the ability to adapt to diversity and this is reflected in their attitudes towards multi-ethnic cities.

Our findings provide insights into the way attitudes towards multiculturalism are developed in general. They suggest that if policymakers wish to stimulate support for multiculturalism among those without a migration background, they might achieve this through policies which focus on other forms of diversity, such as the desegregation of neighbourhoods and schools along the lines of social class.

Source: Why social mobility is key to explaining attitudes toward multiculturalism – EUROPP

Europe’s Hijab Test: War of the Headscarves and Death of Multiculturalism

Of note:

In mid-July, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that private employers in the EU can ban employees from wearing religious symbols, including headscarves, in order to present an image of “political, philosophical, and religious neutrality” in the workplace. The verdict reaffirmed a 2017 CJEU ruling and highlights longstanding tensions over multiculturalism in Europe. In particular, it raises the question of whether there is a place for visibly Muslim women in European public life.

I have spent the last several months interviewing Muslim women, many of them citizens and residents of European countries, about their portrayal in the media and perception of belonging in their countries. While many reported similar experiences of ostracism or harassment, the European women, particularly those who choose to wear the hijab (head covering), told me time and again: “I feel like I don’t exist.” The hijab is more than a religious symbol to those who wear it. Muslim women cover their hair out of tradition, to maintain a connection to their cultural heritage, or for reasons of modesty. Several young European women I spoke to explained that they wear the hijab despite protests from their immigrant families, who do not want them to face undue scrutiny or discrimination at work.

But their choice carries a high personal cost. The rampant European misperception of the hijab as a symbol of a supposedly misogynistic Islamic culture has made women who wear one feel like faceless, nameless “victims” who must be saved, instead of empowered individuals making a personal decision. “It’s frustrating, because [the media] always brings out [sic] the male members of the family,” one of them, Sama, said in a message she sent me from Italy. “It’s like, ‘did your father force you to make this choice that I actually made?’” Likewise, Lama, a French-Algerian woman now living outside France, laments the phenomenon of “white men in the media debating whether we should have the hijab.” The problem, she says, is that “it’s never about the objective garment, it’s about what the garment symbolizes [to them].”

The CJEU’s recent ruling resurfaces tensions between the right to freedom of religion and Europeans’ increasing discomfort regarding the visible face of Islam in the region. Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights sets a high bar for limiting the manifestation of freedom of religion. But the CJEU’s 2017 and 2021 rulings appear to attach greater weight to the concept of overall “neutrality” and, in the case of its recent decision, the effect on others – an issue that already weighs heavily on many Muslim women’s minds. Several women I spoke to described going through a draining mental exercise before leaving their homes – what I call the “friendly enough” test. “Muslim women look in the mirror in the morning and think, ‘do I look friendly? Do I look approachable?’” Maha, a journalist, explained. And it is not only men whose judgment these women worry about. Khadija, a young French-Algerian woman, confessed that she once stopped to put on red lipstick before going to an interview for a babysitting job. “I told them I wore the hijab ahead of time. I don’t know why I did that, preparing them for me,” she said. “I took out my lipstick and put it on so that [the mother] can see I am French, [that] I am not a terrorist.”

These psychological strains underscore the agonizing choice forced upon European Muslim women today between their faith and identity on one hand, and their nationality on the other. Whereas most European girls can dream of pursuing the career of their choice, Muslim girls in Europe face a demoralizing caveat: “but you cannot wear the hijab.” In a post-#MeToo world where young women are increasingly taught to be empowered, Europe’s Muslim women are being held back by legislation and told that their very appearance is problematic. Khadija went on to tell me that the experience of removing her hijab for a job when she was 19 left her feeling denigrated and ashamed. “It made me feel like I am nothing,” she said. “I am not the same as everyone else. I am a little bit lower.” She went on to ask, rhetorically, “What gives you the right to do that?”

Despite Europe’s stated values of emancipation, freedom, and self-sufficiency, the dearth of female Muslim voices in the European public debate over the hijab leaves many young women with little hope that the conversation will change. In a stark display of hypocrisy, some of the European politicians who decry Islam for being repressive and anti-feminist champion laws that threaten to strip away Muslim women’s agency. “Muslim women exist and have things to say when the subject concerns them,” Soumaya, 15, told me. “We are not objects, we think, we feel, we have free will, we are strong and intelligent and, above all, capable.” But, she said, “the media does not want to recognize that. It’s a pity.”

Rather than asking whether Islam is liberal enough to belong in Europe, the more relevant question today appears to be whether Europe is liberal enough to accept its female Muslim citizens – regardless of their attire – in public life. The debate will no doubt continue in Europe’s courtrooms. In the meantime, the lives and livelihoods of the region’s female Muslim population hang in the balance. As one young woman said to me resignedly, “I have to wait for a woman who doesn’t wear the hijab or a man to fight for me, because right now I don’t exist. I am no one.”

‘Europe’s Hijab Test’ – Commentary by Jasmine M. El-Gamal – Project Syndicate.

Source: Europe’s Hijab Test: War of the Headscarves and Death of Multiculturalism

ICYMI: Fortress Europe: As Islam Expands, Should the US Imitate the ‘Christian’ Continent

Interesting discussion among European evangelicals along with related issues:

Within three decades, Muslims may comprise 14 percent of Europe.

The face of the historically Christian continent, tallied at 5 percent Muslim in 2016, may dramatically change by 2050 if high migration patterns hold.

And as Muslim families have a birth rate one child higher than the rest of the continent, the Pew Research Center projects nearly 1 in 5 people will be Muslim in the United Kingdom (17%), France (18%), and Germany (20%). Sweden is projected to become 30 percent Muslim.

And Austria, with its 20 percent projection, is on guard. The majority-Catholic nation recently published an online Islam Map, to identify mosques and other centers of politicized religion.

According to European religion experts, however, one-third of European Muslims do not practice their faith.

Conversely, this suggests that two-thirds of Muslims believe in and practice Islam. Contrast this with the 22 percent of Western European Christians who attend church at least once monthly and the 27 percent who believe in God according to the Bible.

Could the fear of some European Christians be plausible: an eventual Eurabia?

Or is it Islamophobia to say so?

Or, to the contrary, should Americans look across the ocean and consider French separatism laws and Swiss burqa bans in pursuit of a shared secularism?

For concerned evangelicals, Bert de Ruiter has his own questions—about their own faith.

“If Islam is taking over Europe, is that a problem?” asked the European Evangelical Alliance’s consultant on Muslim-Christian relations. “Will God suddenly be in a panic?”

Muslims will not take over the continent, he believes, noting Pew’s other 2050 Muslim population estimates of 7 percent if “zero” migration and 11 percent if “medium” migration.

But more important is that under any scenario, God will be faithful to his church, says de Ruiter. Once chairman of a Dutch political party, he has a “passion for Muslims, to reach out with the love of Christ.”

Yet too many European Christians, he said, act instead like politicians. Worse, they betray the love of Christ for neighbor.

According to statistics collected in the 2019 European Islamophobia Report (EIR), 37 percent of Europeans have negative views of Muslims, while 29 percent would not feel comfortable working with Muslims. And in Denmark, 28 percent at least partially agreed with the idea that Muslims should be deported.

But again, flip the statistics, and substantial majorities treat Muslims just fine.

Farid Hafez, coeditor of the EIR report, said that among the main drivers of Islamophobia is propaganda pushed by far-right networks seeking to create a scapegoat. Amplified by politicians and aided by counterterrorism narratives, perception then creates the reality.

“The more hostility people go through, the more they feel attached to their religious community,” said Hafez, also a lecturer at the university of Salzburg in Austria. “But I don’t see the problem that others do; Muslims are a part of society.”

Labels like “no-go zones” and “parallel societies,” he said, reflect Europe’s inability to adopt an American mentality that accepts multiple identities. And the relationship with Muslims is not fixed but boils down to a collective choice.

“Austria once suffered the siege of Vienna, but it also allied with the Ottoman Empire,” said Hafez. “History provides many options for how to tell your story. So will we choose a narrative of cooperation or conflict?”

In his column for Evangelical Focus, an online news site focused on Europe, de Ruiter said there are many actors trying to shape the narrative.

Among them are majority-Muslim nations such as Turkey and Morocco that build mosques and supply imams. Transnational networks such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Sufi orders compete to gain adherents and to define Islam. Wahhabi preachers on the internet break down traditional lines of authority. And state-linked Muslim councils strive for integration within secular society.

Muslims came to Europe largely as invited migrant labor in the 1950s, following the destruction of World War II. Over time, they brought their families, married, and had children. Initially isolated because of language, increasingly they put their stamp on society, building mosques and opening schools.

A European society that once welcomed them began to grow uncomfortable.

“We invited guest workers,” said de Ruiter, quoting a frequent saying. “But it turned out they were actually people.”

People created in the image of God.

Therefore, the task for Christians, he recently wrote in an analysis for Evangelical Focus, is fourfold:

  • Research: Matthew 10 speaks of finding the worthy person in a village you come to. Likewise, Christians must learn the real situation of actual Muslims, not media-driven images.
  • Reflect: Psalm 139 invites God to search our hearts. Anti-Muslim prejudice is often unconsciously ingrained, and with humility Christians can repent and develop attitudes of compassion.
  • Relate: In 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul describes how he shared his life with those he was trying to reach. Christians must develop relationships with Muslims, in hope of also sharing the gospel.
  • Relax: In Psalm 46, the Lord reminds believers to “be still, and know that I am God.” Whatever changes happen in Europe are according to God’s sovereignty, and he will be exalted among the nations.

In America, Warren Larson adds a fifth R: represent.

“As Christians, we must speak up in defense of persecuted Muslims,” said the senior research fellow and professor at the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies at Columbia International University.

“We must take the initiative through acts of kindness, warmth, and generosity to Muslims, in our midst and around the world.”

A former missionary to Pakistan, Larson said his life was spared when Muslims defended his family against a mob that believed America was conspiring to undermine Islam. Today, he highlights the genocide underway against the Uighur Muslims in China’s northwest Xinjiang province.

But Larson has noticed something curious in his mentorship of Chinese Christians. Many are unaware of the atrocities or, like their government, deny them altogether. Some of it may be fear, he said, as China uses sophisticated technology to surveil its diaspora around the world.

But there may also be a parallel to Islamophobia in Europe and the United States. Chinese Christians from the mainland, he has noticed, speak out in defense of Hong Kong but not Xinjiang.

“One missionary to the Uighurs even said China was only dealing with terrorism,” said Larson. “Is it possible that she, along with most Chinese, fears what the Uighurs might do?”

Citing ethnic violence and acts of terrorism in Xinjiang that began in 2009, the Chinese media campaign against the Uighurs has been relentless. The United Nations has recognized a similar, though not state-run, pattern against Muslims in Europe.

A European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance report found that in the Netherlands, media descriptions most frequently call Dutch people “average,” even “beautiful.” Muslims, however, are predominantly described as “radical” and “terrorist.”

And in Switzerland, a federal commission found that news reports on Muslims focused on their failure to integrate, while only 2 percent of media coverage was of their normal lives and successful examples of integration.

In a statement supporting the UN report on Islamophobia, issued in March, the World Evangelical Alliance praised its Swiss branch for condemning an arson attack on a mosque and contributing financially to its repair. Similar efforts at solidarity were praised in India, Sri Lanka, and the Central African Republic.

“We reaffirm the unique value of each and every member of the human family,” it stated. “We believe each one of us is created in the image of God.”

But of Muslims, said Asma Uddin, there is a different image.

“Many evangelicals view Islam as a satanic deception, fundamentally violent and evil,” said the Muslim author of The Politics of Vulnerability: How to Heal Muslim-Christian Relations in a Post-Christian America. “They then mistake standing up for Muslims as standing up for a religion they despise or distrust.”

Evangelical advocates she has worked with are devoted, she said, but “outliers.”

Nearly 2 in 3 white evangelicals (63%) said Islam encourages violence more than other faiths, according to a 2017 Pew survey. This was the highest level among religious groups.

But the issue is also partisan.

Over half (56%) of Republicans said there was at least a “fair” amount of extremism among US Muslims. Only 22 percent of Democrats said the same.

Since liberals are associated with defending the rights of Muslims, Uddin said, political tribalism leads many conservatives to dismiss the severity of discrimination.

The setting is different in Europe, according to Hafez.

While Muslims in the UK are well represented in academia and politics, they also represent a disproportionate 16 percent of the prison population. Germany continues to have issues integrating its large migrant community.

And France’s vision of secularism separates not just church and state but also religion and society. Combined with a lingering colonial superiority, Hafez ranks the nation as Europe’s worst for Muslim communities.

But Islamophobia, he emphasizes, is not about anti-Muslim cartoons. Neither is it the critique of Islam or the criticism of Muhammad. It is the construction of a scapegoat with a generalized identity, which is then excluded from the rights afforded to all.

Protestants in Europe, he said, often feel it also. In Austria, only since 1861 were they allowed to build a steeple. Today, many of them sympathize when Muslims want a minaret.

And similarly, many are troubled by the publication of the Islam Map.

Michael Chalupka, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Austria, said he would not accept this for his own community, joining the calls to take it down.

“When you are weak, you stand by the weak,” said Hafez, a Muslim. “Jesus also stood with the weak, and in Europe, Muslims are among the weakest.”

De Ruiter finds greater solidarity with Muslims on moral issues than he does with the secular Dutch. And he too knows the pain of generalization. Preaching once in Russia, he was queried repeatedly not about his sermon but about Holland’s lax laws on drugs and prostitution.

The state, he told CT, has a biblical obligation to provide security, justice, and human rights. But the believer is to welcome the stranger and love the neighbor. If the Christian values that shaped Europe are taken advantage of, the Christian cannot retreat.

After all, Jesus was crucified.

For this message, de Ruiter is often accused angrily: “Don’t you care to preserve what your grandfathers built?”

But the values they cherish, he said, usually center around materialism, identity, and place in society. If they desire instead to reverse the losses suffered in a post-Christian society, there is a better way than fearmongering of Muslims.

That fight employs the weapons of the world, and must be rejected.

It will lose the gospel, for all.

“If we want things to change, Muslims will have to see something real in us,” said de Ruiter. “But they cannot if we shut the door.”

Source: Fortress Europe: As Islam Expands, Should the US Imitate the ‘Christian’ Continent? | News & Reporting

The U.S. Has Embraced Immigrant Tech Entrepreneurs. Now It’s Europe’s Turn

Interesting that this article is silent on the impact of Trump administration policies with respect to H1-B visas and reducing the attractiveness of the USA for international students. Major oversight of blind spot notwithstanding his points on Europe:

The world is on the cusp of a counterattack on COVID thanks to several vaccines that are currently seeking regulatory approval and a swift rollout.For entrepreneurs and the tech industry, this is a moment when their value to society is demonstrated: business and technology is (along with medicine) leading us out of the pandemic.

But Germany’s Turkish community, and Europe’s minorities in general, are celebrating for a different reason. Turkish-Germans are an often marginalized group, similar to other minorities around the world. Like any community, they are proud of their success stories, such as Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci, the husband-and-wife co-founders of BioNTech, the firm behind the first vaccine to report a successful phase three trial, based on cutting edge mRNA technology.

These highly visible success stories are relatively rare. Germany, just like much of Europe, has boardrooms that are almost uniformly white. This even includes the tech sector, which in the United States is one of the most open and meritocratic places in the world.

In my 20 years in tech, including in Silicon Valley, I have worked with founders with roots all over the world.

This shouldn’t be surprising: many of America’s biggest tech success stories are those of immigrant backgrounds. Google co-founder Sergey Brin was born in Moscow. Tesla’s Elon Musk is South African. Steve Jobs’s biological father is from Syria, and Jeff Bezos’s stepfather, Mike Bezos, is Cuban-American.

In the past, things have been very different on the other side of the Atlantic, where the only possible equivalent would have been Paris-born eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who moved to the United States as a child, along with his Iranian-born parents.

Arguably it is Silicon Valley’s open attitude to investment and entrepreneurship that makes these American successes possible. Despite there still being no European Silicon Valley, I’m amazed at the level of innovation I’m seeing from start-ups across the continent, including places like Spain and France which are not always thought of as tech hubs. Many of those founders are from minorities, which are a natural fit for techpreneurship.

The huge expansion of tech jobs and tech-based entrepreneurship in the U.S. over the last two decades has created exponential demand for technical skills. Those are the types of skills that many immigrant kids are nudged towards, thanks to parents from developing nations who often see the value of science rather than, say, liberal arts.

A similar expansion is underway in Europe, despite a large portion of the continent’s industries still being traditional. To continue with the German example, only one of the country’s fivelargest companies, Siemens, is tech-related; its culture is very different from the “move fast and break things” attitude of Silicon Valley, with the firm being founded in 1847 (32 years before Edison filed a patent for his light bulb).

It is only in new, innovative industries that the immigrant work ethic and appetite for risk can come into their own.

To create more BioNTechs, European firms have to be ready to make way for the new wave of start-ups—whoever their founders are—without being suffocated by legacy businesses that are centuries-old and may be set in their ways.

At a more basic level, the relationship between host communities around the world and those of immigrant background needs to change. Most societies are very good at tolerating immigrants as much-needed Uber drivers and restaurant servers, less so at supporting them to develop their skills—and their children’s—to equip them for the top.

This isn’t sustainable, because each generation has grander designs than the one before. My parents moved to America in 1971, and as a second-generation immigrant my goals in life are even broader and more assertive than theirs. I have started a business, for example, when they didn’t. Just as I was given the opportunity to think bigger than my parents, my children are even more ambitious than I am.

Europe needs to move from a tactical, transactional mindset with migration towards a strategic, vision-based one. It should be more positive and aspirational: “We want to be the best, and we need to attract the world’s dreamers, innovators and disruptors if we are going to achieve that.”

As an American, I sometimes feel that Europe is stuck in the past. As a young country, America is not as set in its ways as many European nations. The U.S. still seems to act like a teenager: excited about the opportunities of the future, and perhaps sometimes being naive and getting itself into tricky situations (like a disputed election result).

Europe, on the other hand, acts more like a retiree. It prizes stability above all else—and many of its businesses are the same. Sometimes the price of stability has meant sacrificing innovation and opportunity.

The European Union is trying to create a similarly strong narrative to the American Dream to drive it forward. The post-Brexit United Kingdom is attempting the same with the image of “Global Britain.”

Whether they succeed will be demonstrated in the names and faces that shape their economies in the 21st century, and how similar they are to those that dominated the 20th.

Source: The U.S. Has Embraced Immigrant Tech Entrepreneurs. Now It’s Europe’s Turn

Why Is Europe So Islamophobic? The attacks don’t come from nowhere.

Of note, but article is too dismissive of the impact of Islamist-inspired extremism and terrorism on public opinion and political reactions:

We live in a time of Islamophobia.

In February, two violent attacks on Muslims in Europe, one in Hanau in Germany, the other in London, took place within 24 hours of each other. Though the circumstances were different — the attacker in Hanau left a “manifesto” full of far-right conspiracy theories, while the motivations of the London attacker were less certain — the target was the same: Muslims.

The two events add to a growing list of violent attacks on Muslims across Europe. In 2018 alone, France saw an increase of 52 percent of Islamophobic incidents; in Austria there was a rise of approximately 74 percent, with 540 cases. The culmination of a decade of steadily increasing attacks on Muslims, such figures express a widespread antipathy to Islam. Forty-four percent of Germans, for example, see “a fundamental contradiction between Islam and German culture and values.” The figure for the same in Finland is a remarkable 62 percent; in Italy, it’s 53 percent. To be a Muslim in Europe is to be mistrusted, visible and vulnerable.

Across the Continent, Islamophobic organizations and individuals have been able to advance their agenda. Islamophobic street movements and political parties have become more popular. And their ideas have been incorporated into — and in some instances fed by — the machinery of the modern state, which surveils and supervises Muslims, casting them as threats to the life of the nation.

From the street to the state, Islamophobia is baked into European political life.

This has been nearly 20 years in the making. The “war on terror” — which singled out Muslims and Islam as a civilizational threat to “the West” — created the conditions for widespread Islamophobia. Internationally, it caused instability and increased violence, with the rise of the Islamic State in part a consequence. Domestically, in both Europe and the United States, new counterterrorism policies overwhelmingly targeted Muslims.

In Britain, for example, you are 150 times more likely to be stopped and searched under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act — a draconian piece of legislation that allows people to be stopped at ports without “reasonable suspicion” — if you are of Pakistani heritage than if you are white. And then there are policies that in the name of “countering violent extremism” focus on the supposed threats of radicalization and extremism. In place across Europe, including in the European Union, such policies expand policing and counterterrorism to target the expression of political ideologies and religious identities. In practice, Muslims are treated as legitimate objects of suspicion.

In this setting of suspicion, a network of organizations and individuals preaching about the “threat” of Islam has flourished. Known as the “counter-jihad movement,” it exists as a spectrum across Europe and America of “street-fighting forces at one end and cultural conservatives and neoconservative writers at the other,” according to Liz Fekete, the director of the Institute of Race Relations. In Europe, groups like Stop Islamization of Denmark and the English Defense League have been central to fostering violence against Muslims.

In America, the relative absence of grass-roots, street-based groups is more than made up for by the institutional heft of the movement — its five key organizations include Middle East Forum and the Center for Security Policy — and its proximity to power and influence. The movement is funded by what the Center for American Progress calls the “Islamophobia network,” with links to senior figures in the American political establishment. The movement has successfully popularized the association of Muslims with an external “terrorist threat,” of which President Trump’s so-called Muslim ban is a prime expression.

What’s more, far-right parties built around Islamophobia and the politics of counter-jihad have become electorally successful. Vlaams Belang in Belgium, the Sweden Democrats and the Alternative for Germany have in the past few years become major parties with substantial support. And their ideas have bled into the rhetoric and policies of center-right parties across Europe.

Successive center-right political leaders have repeatedly warned against “Islamist terrorism” (Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany) and the incompatibility with European values of “Islamist separatism” (President Emmanuel Macron of France). The banning of forms of Muslim veiling in various public spaces — from the hijab ban in French schools and restrictions for teachers in some parts of Germany to an outright ban of the face-covering niqab in public spaces in Denmark, Belgium and France — shows how anti-Muslim sentiment has moved comprehensively from society’s fringes to the heart of government.

Britain has led the way. In 2011, it expanded the scope of its counterextremism policy, known as Prevent, to include “nonviolent” as well as “violent” manifestations. The change can be traced to the neoconservative elements of the counter-jihad movement: It was successful lobbying by Policy Exchange and the Centre for Social Cohesion (now part of the Henry Jackson Society), both widely regarded as neoconservative think tanks, that secured it. The expansion of the scope of these policies effectively turns schoolteachers, doctors and nurses into police operatives — and any Muslim into a potential security threat.

In Britain, we can see a vicious circle of Islamophobia, replicated in some form across Europe. The state introduces legislation effectively targeting Muslims, which in turn encourages and emboldens the counter-jihad movement — whose policy papers, polemics and protests propel the state to extend legislation, all but criminalizing aspects of Muslims’ identity. The result is to fan Islamophobic sentiment in the public at large.

The way such an atmosphere gives rise to violence is complicated. Anders Breivik, the Norwegian who killed 77 people in 2011, described his massacre as an effort to ward off “Eurabia” — the theory, popularized by Bat Ye’or and fervently taken up by the counter-jihad movement, that Europe will be colonized by the “Arab world.” Likewise, the attacker in Hanau fixated on crime committed by nonwhite immigrants and possessed what the German authorities have called “a deeply racist mind-set.” Both drew from the groundswell of Islamophobic rhetoric that has accompanied policies that single out Muslims for special scrutiny. But both operated alone, and neither maintained links to any organization or party. Their actions were their own.

The line from policy to act, rhetoric to violence, is very hard to draw. And the process by which Islamophobia spreads across European society is complex, multicausal, endlessly ramifying.

But that doesn’t mean it comes from nowhere.

Narzanin Massoumi (@Narzanin) is a lecturer at the University of Exeter in Britain and a co-editor of “What Is Islamophobia? Racism, Social Movements and the State.”

Source: Why Is Europe So Islamophobic?

Immigration attitudes have barely changed – so why is far right on rise?

Interesting take:

There are three major reasons why voters have become more likely to back far-right parties in Europe

Over the last three decades, far-right parties in Europe have tripled their vote share, from about 5% in the early 1990s to more than 15% today. About one in six Europeans now vote for parties such as Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (previously National Front) in France, Matteo Salvini’s League in Italy, or Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz in Hungary. This is one of the most striking outcomes of a new edition of the PopuList, a research collaboration supported by the Guardian, which launches on Tuesday.

Political scientists have demonstrated that the single most important reason why people vote for far-right parties is their attitude towards immigration. In other words, those who support these parties tend to do so because they agree with them that immigrants are “dangerous others” who form an economic and/or cultural threat to their own native group. This in itself is not remarkable – it just shows that many supporters of far-right parties are rational voters in the sense that they opt for outlets that express ideas they agree with and deem important.

What is remarkable, however, is that people’s attitudes towards immigration have not changed much over the years. On average, people have become neither more positive nor more negative about the influx of immigrants. This confronts us with an interesting puzzle: how is it possible that the electoral successes of far-right parties have increased so much, while at the same time the main determinant of far-right support – anti-immigration sentiment – has remained relatively stable? Let me mention three developments that can help us understand what is going on.

First, far-right parties have learned how to better mobilise voters. Until the turn of the millennium, most far-right parties were generally conceived of as beyond the pale. Voters associated them with fascism and violent anti-democratic skinheads. This has changed as many far-right parties have succeeded in moderating their images. A good example is Le Pen’s detoxification” strategy. She cut connections to extremists, changed her party’s tarnished name and distanced herself from her father, the more radical previous leader and founder of the party. It is important to emphasise, however, that although various far-right leaders have succeeded in moderating their party’s reputation, when it comes to their actual programmes most of them have remained as radical as ever.

Mainstream parties have also played an important role in this process of reputation moderation. They have legitimised the ideas of far-right parties by incorporating watered-down versions in their own political programmes. Many academic studies have shown that when it comes to their positions on immigration and integration, mainstream parties have moved towards the far right. The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, for instance, wrote a letter to all citizens in the Netherlands, in which he argued they had to actively defend the country’s values against people who refused to integrate or who acted antisocially. “Behave normally or leave,” was one of his letter’s core messages. Similar strategies have been employed by mainstream parties in Austria, Denmark and France.

Second, it is not only political parties that have adapted their behaviour – voters have also changed. Not so long ago the average voter was loyal to their political party; a typical social democrat remained a social democrat forever, and did not even consider voting for a conservative or liberal party. Yet processes of individualisation and emancipation have made people much more whimsical when it comes to their electoral behaviour. Slowly but steadily, loyal voters became floating voters, and many of them started to switch between parties – in particular in multi-party democracies. These voters often have a “choice set” of several parties to which they feel attracted, and base their eventual choice on things such as election promises, the performance of party leaders, or parties’ past behaviour in parliament. Voters have started to actually vote, and have thereby become available for mobilisation by far-right parties.

Source: Immigration attitudes have barely changed – so why is far right on rise?

Migration to Europe Is Down Sharply. So Is It Still a ‘Crisis’? – The New York Times

Good updated data:

On the beaches of Greece, thousands of migrants landed every day. In the ports of Italy, thousands landed every week. Across the borders of Germany, Austria and Hungary, hundreds of thousands passed every month.

But that was in 2015.

Three years after the peak of Europe’s migration crisis, Greek beachesare comparatively calm. Since last August, the ports of Sicily have been fairly empty. And here on the remote island of Lampedusa — the southernmost point of Italy and once the front line of the crisis — the migrant detention center has been silent for long stretches. Visitors to the camp on Monday could hear only the sound of bird song.

“It’s the quietest it’s been since 2011,” said the island’s mayor, Salvatore Martello. “The number of arrivals has dramatically reduced.”

It is the paradox of Europe’s migration crisis: The actual number of arriving migrants is back to its pre-2015 level, even as the politics of migration continue to shake the Continent.

On Thursday, leaders of the European Union are gathering in Brussels for a fraught meeting on migration that could hasten the political demise of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and unravel the bloc’s efforts to form a coherent migration policy.

The precipitous drop in migrant arrivals doesn’t mean that Europe is without real challenges. Countries are still struggling to absorb the roughly 1.8 million sea arrivals since 2014. Public anxiety has risen in countries like Germany after high-profile assaults involving migrants, including the killing of a 19-year-old German student and the terrorist attack on a Christmas market that killed 12 people.

And leaders still have sharp disagreements about who should take responsibility for the newcomers — border states like Greece and Italy, where most migrants enter Europe; or wealthier countries like Germany, which many migrants subsequently attempt to reach.

But what is striking is how many leaders, particularly in far-right parties, continue to successfully create the impression that Europe is a continent under siege from migrants, even as the numbers paint a very different picture.29

“We have failed to defend ourselves against the migrant invasion,” Viktor Orban, the far-right prime minister of Hungary, said in a recent speech. He has made it a jailable offense for Hungarians to assist undocumented migrants.

Nor is Mr. Orban alone in taking a hard line. Since the start of the month, Matteo Salvini, the Italian interior minister, has closed Italy’s ports to charity-run rescue boats. Horst Seehofer, the German interior minister, has threatened to turn back refugees at his country’s southern border. And across the Atlantic, President Trump has claimed, wrongly, that migration led to a crime epidemic in Germany.

The tactics seem to have worked. Data released this month by the European Union showed that Europeans are more concerned about immigration than about any other social challenge. Mr. Salvini’s party is now leading in Italian polls, up 10 percentage points since an electionin March. Mr. Orban won re-election in April with an increased majority, after a campaign in which he focused almost exclusively on migration.

Even on Lampedusa, Mr. Martello won the mayoralty last year by promising to focus more on local issues than on burnishing the island’s international reputation as a place of sanctuary for migrants.

But the reality on the ground is that, despite the rhetoric, migration is back to pre-crisis levels — and has been for some time.

More than 850,000 asylum seekers arrived in Greece in 2015, with most of them eventually making their way to northern European countries like Germany. So far this year, little more than 13,000 have made the same journey. More than 150,000 people arrived in Italy in 2015; the number so far this year is less than 17,000. In 2016, when applications were at their highest, more than 62,000 people sought asylum in Germany, on average, every month. This year, that average has fallen to little more than 15,000 — the lowest since 2013.

On Lampedusa, more than 21,000 migrants landed in 2015. So far this year, the figure is less than 1,100. Only in Spain have arrival numbers risen, from more than 16,000 in all of 2015 to just over 17,000 so far in 2018. But the increase is still comparatively small — more people would arrive in a single week on the Greek island of Lesbos at the height of the crisis than are likely to arrive in Spain this year.

“It’s an invented crisis,” said Matteo Villa, a migration specialist at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies. “The high flows of the last years have bolstered nationalist parties, who are now creating a crisis of their own in order to score cheap political points.”

Mr. Salvini and Mr. Orban have cultivated popular support by creating the impression that they are the only leaders willing to make the tough decisions needed to reduce migration. Yet the European establishment, under pressure from the likes of Mr. Orban and Mr. Salvini, has been quietly working for some time with the main gatekeepers along the migration trails to Europe, including with authoritarian regimes, to bring the numbers down.

In Italy, arrival numbers plummeted after Mr. Salvini’s predecessor controversially persuaded several militias to halt the smuggling industry in northern Libya, and to keep thousands of would-be migrants in dangerous conditions in makeshift Libyan detention centers.

“The measures implemented by the previous government, which Salvini was so critical of, have actually been effective,” said Andrew Geddes, director of the Migration Policy Center at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy.

At the same time, several European governments have made deportation agreements with Sudan, whose leader, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, has been charged with war crimes charges. A deal with Nigerhas helped a crackdown on smuggling in the Western Sahara. And most controversially, the German and Dutch governments brokered a European Union deal in 2016 with the authoritarian government of Turkey that led to an immediate and drastic drop in migration to Greece.

Lesbos, Greece, in 2015, and in March 2018. Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times; Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

“The paradox is that, in this narrative that Merkel opened the E.U.’s borders, it was in fact Merkel, with the Dutch, who negotiated the most effective agreement on the borders of the E.U.,” said Gerald Knaus, director of the European Stability Initiative, a Berlin-based research group that first proposed the deal, and that drafted early versions of it.

Now Europe’s challenge is largely about process: How to house asylum seekers waiting for decisions on their cases; how to integrate them into the economy and into society if their applications are approved; and how to deport them if not. These challenges remain as officials also have yet to fully address the squalid migrant camps of Greece, which house roughly half of the country’s 60,000 asylum seekers, or the underground economy of Italy, where many of the country’s 500,000 undocumented migrants are exploited.

The European Union summit meeting that opens on Thursday is a reminder of how much the political landscape has shifted. Ms. Merkel, the German chancellor who was once the Continent’s unassailable leader, now needs to secure an agreement with other European leaders to stave off a political crisis at home.

Her rebellious Bavarian interior minister, Mr. Seehofer, has threatened to close Germany’s border with Austria to asylum seekers who have already registered elsewhere in Europe, usually in Greece or Italy. Ms. Merkel wants to avoid this, as it would most likely set off a domino effect of stricter border controls across the Continent. That would obstruct the movement not just of refugees but also of European Union citizens, endangering one of the bloc’s core values: free movement between member states.

Mr. Seehofer has agreed to wait while Ms. Merkel tries to negotiate at the summit meeting an improved asylum system for the European Union, but this seems a distant prospect, as no one can agree what that system should look like. Some leaders, like Mr. Orban in Hungary, say that Europe should simply protect its borders without worrying about the complexities of its asylum system.

The Keleti train station in central Budapest, Hungary, in 2015 and this month. Mauricio Lima for The New York Times; Akos Stiller for The New York Times

“If we defend our borders, the debate on the distribution of migrants becomes meaningless, as they won’t be able to enter,” he said in a speech this month.

Others, like Ms. Merkel, want to reduce migration but acknowledge it cannot be ended entirely unless Europe abandons the right to asylum that was enshrined in the international conventions that emerged in the aftermath of World War II.

To uphold this right while also curbing migration, officials in Brussels want to set up offshore hubs to process asylum applications in Africa, while some analysts argue it would be easier and cheaper to invest in more efficient asylum systems in Greece and Italy — and to secure more deportation agreements with the countries migrants are originally from.

Meanwhile, anti-immigrant leaders, if capitalizing on the migration issue, are hardly unified. Italy wants to scrap the Dublin regulations, which stipulate that asylum seekers must stay in the European Union country in which they first register, and distribute migrants throughout the bloc. But hard-liners like Mr. Orban, Mr. Seehofer and Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz of Austria refuse to share Italy and Greece’s burden.

“Their proposals are fundamentally contradictory,” Mr. Knaus said. “Salvini and the Italians want to get rid of Dublin and share everyone throughout Europe. The Bavarians want to push everyone back to Austria. And Kurz says that’s fine — we’ll then send them to Italy and Hungary.”

And far away on Lampedusa, this makes the debate seem less about the specifics of migration management, and more about the widening chasm between liberal and illiberal forces in Europe.

It is “an ideological war,” said Mr. Martello, the mayor. “Europe is divided into two main blocs: One is defending the borders, and the other is actually doing something about the situation.”

via Migration to Europe Is Down Sharply. So Is It Still a ‘Crisis’? – The New York Times

Europe’s ageing societies require immigration to survive – and that means anti-immigration politics is here to stay

An interesting analysis of the correlation between increased immigration and xenophobia in Europe. Not encouraging:

The era after WWII was mostly devoid of populist party influence. Instead, Europe was on the mend, and integration at the forefront of European if not global policy agendas. Integration ensured peace. The postwar-prosperity was phenomenal, productivity and social welfare programmes expanded rapidly. Given the changes in the past decades, in particular after the latest European expansion and Eurozone crisis, a new era is upon us.

Beginning in the 1970s in Western Europe, populism has risen yet again amidst the waves of immigration that began in the 1960s. The new populist parties are often unidimensional with explicit xenophobic, anti-immigrant positions. Their messages scapegoat non-white, non-native born persons; often with a diametric opposition to Muslims or Islamic culture. In Western European countries, anti-immigrant populist parties – sometimes labelled the ‘populist radical right’ or ‘neo-nationalists’ – expanded from below 5% of the national vote share in 1962 up to 13% by 2017, on average.

Figure 1: Immigrants and observed/predicted future support for anti-immigration parties in Western Europe (1962-2035)

Note: This chart is based on 17 countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Data from OECD, Global Bilateral Migration and ParlGov.

The vote share and percentage of foreign-born members of the population observed from 1962-2017 reveals a pattern. They rise in tandem. This is not a paradox of pooling Western European data. In each country on its own, the stock of foreign-born persons explains 50 to 97% of the variance in anti-immigrant party vote share (i.e., the range of correlation coefficients in 17 countries). This does not mean immigration causes anti-immigrant voting; however, social and political research explains why it is part of the causal process.

Immigration appears to be the only stable component of new populist parties and their limited policy victories. Thus far, new populist parties have successfully ushered in policies banning or criticising inter-ethnic marriage, the construction of Mosques, immigration flows and the human right to asylum (to name a few). Meanwhile, the UK voted to leave the EU; the Social Democrats in Sweden, after bleeding votes to the Sweden Democrats, introduced bureaucratic regulations against immigration; and perhaps most dramatically, 12.7% of German voters voted for the AfD, which is now Germany’s third largest party.

This marks a new era. The post-war spring season of growth has turned to autumn, with a fall in votes for mainstream parties, falling GDP growth and a potential decline in human rights. Anti-immigration views and aggressive displays of national pride, which might once have been confined to private dinner table conversations, have now moved into the public sphere, on the streets, in the media, and in political debates. The 2014 launch of PEGIDA and the sudden growth of the AfD are evidence of this public sphere change in Germany, the last place on earth one expects to find populism. At least 5 million Germans lost their lives under populist leadership last time around, not to mention those from other countries. Once out in the open, history suggests that nationalism reproduces itself because individuals see the public sphere as a safe space for them to express, if not grow their dissatisfaction with society and politics.

This is particularly acute when rates of immigration are increasing. Immigration provides a tangible basis to support narratives among the media and social networks that then shape the perceptions and experiences of natives. This leads to an increased salience of group boundaries. The native population may feel threatened by immigrants geographically and economically, challenging both group and national identities. These feelings magnify when native populations face increasing risks to their social and material security, a situation that lower income workers have had to confront since the 1980s due to a combination of economic crises, stagnant wages and welfare state retrenchments. Thus, redrawing or redoubling group boundaries is an active response, a defence mechanism built on the belief that the group will prosper if other groups are marginalised. This belief then fuses with the rhetoric of anti-immigration parties. As Figure 1 shows, this effect is likely a function of the number of immigrants in wider society.

Figure 2: Ageing population figures and observed/predicted GDP growth in Western Europe (1962-2035)

Note: Observed and predicted data from the OECD for Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

And immigration must continue to increase. The ageing population in Western Europe demands services and resources that the native working-age population cannot provide. Figure 2 demonstrates conservative estimates of both population ageing and GDP growth stagnation until 2035 from the OECD. Today a country is lucky to have 3% growth on average. Using predictive multilevel modelling and these statistics, we can tentatively predict that anti-immigration populist parties will increase their vote share.

The most conservative prediction suggests that the vote share for such parties will cross 15% by 2035, as shown by the solid red line in Figure 1. However, the development of this support follows distinct phases. After an anti-immigration party enters the political arena and acquires support, the average time before it gains 5% of the national vote is 3.2 years (albeit with a large variance). After this 5% threshold is met, anti-immigration parties follow a trajectory of swift gains in the early phase (within 10 years of crossing the 5% mark), stability if not turbulence in the middle phase (up to 15 years) and then ultimately more gains in the mature phase (up to 30 years) as sown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Trajectory of national vote share for anti-immigration parties after crossing the 5% threshold

Note: The three country phases include the following countries: Phase (a) includes Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Sweden, the UK, Greece, Germany and the Netherlands. Phase (b) includes Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Norway, Denmark and Italy. Phase (c) includes Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Norway.

Using these phases as an alternative augmentation to statistical prediction, suddenly 15% turns into a 20% vote share by 2035, shown by the dotted red line in Figure 1 after 2017. In most if not all countries, 20% of the national vote would put an anti-immigration party in second place and make it a serious contender as a coalition partner, as seen in Austria’s recent election.

Even with UKIP gaining much lower levels of support than this, the UK opted for a drastic undermining of European integration with its vote for Brexit. Meanwhile in other countries, support of between 5 and 25% of the vote for anti-immigration parties has coincided with more restrictive asylum rules or bureaucratic practices being put in place in Austria, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Switzerland in recent years. A 20% vote share for anti-immigration parties would equate to a roughly 5-10% increase in the overall level of support for these parties in Western Europe. Moreover, if nationalist policies undermine international actors such as the EU or international frameworks such as the Geneva Convention, supranational arbitration will become increasingly difficult as states come into competition with one another.

How likely are these estimates? Nothing is certain and exogenous shocks are commonplace. Yet demographic science suggests that increased labour force participation, higher contributions from workers and employers, and lower benefits provided to retirees would be inevitable without an increase in immigration. In hyper-ageing societies such as Germany, the necessary increase would equate to a population where as many as 60% or more of citizens are foreign-born. Using these drastic estimates, the models outlined above also predict a 20% foreign-born population by 2035. Either way, the suggestion that support for anti-immigration parties will reach 15% on average by 2035 is potentially conservative, and 20% support is entirely possible.

Populism rises and falls in its myriad variants, but the explicitly anti-immigration version is likely here to stay. This carries additional baggage, as anti-immigration parties take aim at European integration while sometimes allying themselves with neoliberalism as both are in opposition to ‘the establishment’. These parties are not normally anti-democracy, but their authoritarian tendencies, their lack of coherent economic or educational policy and their willingness to foster division are all symptoms of the new season Europe is now entering: a European fall.

Source: Europe’s ageing societies require immigration to survive – and that means anti-immigration politics is here to stay

White Nationalism Is Destroying the West – The New York Times

Good piece:

When rapid immigration and terrorist attacks occur simultaneously — and the terrorists belong to the same ethnic or religious group as the new immigrants — the combination of fear and xenophobia can be dangerous and destructive. In much of Europe, fear of jihadists (who pose a genuine security threat) and animosity toward refugees (who generally do not) have been conflated in a way that allows far-right populists to seize on Islamic State attacks as a pretext to shut the doors to desperate refugees, many of whom are themselves fleeing the Islamic State, and to engage in blatant discrimination against Muslim fellow citizens.

But this isn’t happening only in European countries. In recent years, anti-immigration rhetoric and nativist policies have become the new normal in liberal democracies from Europe to the United States. Legitimate debates about immigration policy and preventing extremism have been eclipsed by an obsessive focus on Muslims that paints them as an immutable civilizational enemy that is fundamentally incompatible with Western democratic values.

Yet despite the breathless warnings of impending Islamic conquest sounded by alarmist writers and pandering politicians, the risk of Islamization of the West has been greatly exaggerated. Islamists are not on the verge of seizing power in any advanced Western democracy or even winning significant political influence at the polls.

The same cannot be said of white nationalists, who today are on the march from Charlottesville, Va., to Dresden, Germany. As an ideology, white nationalism poses a significantly greater threat to Western democracies; its proponents and sympathizers have proved, historically and recently, that they can win a sizable share of the vote — as they did this year in France, Germany and the Netherlands — and even win power, as they have in the United States.

Far-right leaders are correct that immigration creates problems; what they miss is that they are the primary problem. The greatest threat to liberal democracies does not come from immigrants and refugees but from the backlash against them by those on the inside who are exploiting fear of outsiders to chip away at the values and institutions that make our societies liberal.

Anti-Semitic and xenophobic movements did not disappear from Europe after the liberation of Auschwitz, just as white supremacist groups have lurked beneath the surface of American politics ever since the Emancipation Proclamation. What has changed is that these groups have now been stirred from their slumber by savvy politicians seeking to stoke anger toward immigrants, refugees and racial minorities for their own benefit. Leaders from Donald Trump to France’s Marine Le Pen have validated the worldview of these groups, implicitly or explicitly encouraging them to promote their hateful opinions openly. As a result, ideas that were once marginal have now gone mainstream.


“It’s the great replacement,” his friend added, echoing the title of a 2010 book by the French writer Renaud Camus, which paints a dark picture of demographic conquest in the West. “They want to replace us.”

As Mr. Camus explains in the book: “You have a people and then, in an instant, in one generation, you have in its place one or several other peoples.” He finds it scandalous that “a veiled woman speaking our language badly, completely ignorant of our culture” is legally considered as French as “an indigenous Frenchman passionate for Romanesque churches, and the verbal and syntactic subtleties of Montaigne and Rousseau.” In Mr. Camus’s eyes, groups like Pegida are heroic. He praises the group as a “liberation front” that is battling “a colonial conquest in progress” where white Europeans are “the colonized indigenous people.”

Ms. Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party, has a similar fear, and she sees birthright citizenship as the vehicle for replacement. Although she doesn’t use the term favored by many Republicans in the United States (“anchor babies”), she insists, as she told me in an interview last May, that “we must stop creating automatic French citizens.”

This argument has a long pedigree. It can be traced back to the Dreyfus Affair, when the virulently anti-Semitic writer Maurice Barrès warned that immigrants wanted to impose their way of life on France and that it would spell the “ruin of our fatherland.” “They are in contradiction to our civilization,” Barrès wrote in 1900. He saw French identity as rooted purely in his bloodline, declaring, “I defend my cemetery.”

Today’s version of the argument is: if you have foreign blood and don’t behave appropriately, then you don’t get a passport.

Calais and Charlottesville may be nearly 4,000 miles apart, but the ideas motivating far-right activists in both places are the same. When white nationalists descended on Charlottesville in August, the crowd chanted“Jews will not replace us” and “you will not replace us” before one of its members allegedly killed a woman with his car and others beat a black man; last week, they returned bearing torches and chanting similar slogans.

Just as Mr. Trump has plenty to say about Islamic State attacks but generally has no comment about hate crimes against Indians, blacks and Muslims, the European far-right is quick to denounce any violent act committed by a Muslim but rarely feels compelled to forcefully condemn attacks on mosques or neo-Nazis marching near synagogues on Yom Kippur.

Doing so might alienate their base. Alexander Gauland, a co-leader of the newest party in the German Parliament, is adamant that his Alternative for Germany is “not the parliamentary arm of Pegida,” although he did acknowledge in an interview that “a lot of people who march with Pegida in Dresden are people who could be members, or friends, or voters” for the party. Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Gauland and Ms. Le Pen would never admit to being white nationalists, but they are more than happy to dog-whistle to them and accept their support.

Those who worry that a godless Europe and an immigration-friendly America are no match for Islamic extremists have ignored an even greater threat: white nationalists.

Their ideology is especially dangerous because they present themselves as natives valiantly defending the homeland. Because they look and sound like most of their co-citizens, they garner sympathy from the majority in ways that Islamists never could. White nationalism is in many ways a mirror image of radical Islamism. Both share a nostalgic obsession with a purist form of identity: for one, a medieval Islamic state; for the other, a white nation unpolluted by immigrant blood.

If the influence of white nationalists continues to grow, they will eventually seek to trample the rights of immigrants and minorities and dismiss courts and constitutions as anti-democratic because they don’t reflect the supposed preferences of “the people.” Their rise threatens to transform countries that we once thought of as icons of liberalism into democracies only in name.

How the New Immigration Is Shaking Old Europe to Its Core – NYTimes

Good in-depth critical reviews of both books. Murray is of the Mark Steyn alarmist school, Chin takes a more balanced and interesting look:

In the mid-1890s, the German sociologist Max Weber warned against “the continual swarm” of cheap Polish laborers arriving in Germany. According to him, a “free market policy, including open borders in the east, is the worst possible policy at this point.” And not just for economic reasons. The likely integration of these aliens would threaten the “social unification of the nation, which has been split apart by modern economic development.” For Weber, a German nationalist, the “influx of Poles” was “far more dangerous from a cultural viewpoint” than even of Chinese “coolies.”

Compared with Weber’s rhetoric about Germany’s “struggle for existence” and his strictures against Catholics and Jews as well as Poles and Chinese, there is nothing overtly racist about the denunciations Rita Chin quotes in “The Crisis of Multiculturalism in Europe” by opponents of multiculturalism — which for them is shorthand for the nonwhite laborers Europe expediently imported after World War II to reconstruct its shattered economy. The political scientist Samuel Huntington’s comment that “multiculturalism is in its essence anti-European civilization” — approvingly cited by Douglas Murray in “The Strange Death of Europe” — also seems coded in comparison. But as demagogues across Europe and America rant against immigration and promise to build a strong and unified national community through exclusion, it is hard not to feel déjà vu.

Racial nationalism was commonplace in the late 19th century, the radically disruptive first phase of economic globalization. Hierarchies of race, ethnicity and religion were imposed on non-Western peoples as Europeans scrambled for territories and resources abroad, followed enviously by Americans. Exclusion was also central to their frantic effort to build political communities at home. Old bonds and solidarities had frayed in societies split apart, as Weber wrote, by modern economic development. Many of the aggrieved became eager to recreate and purify the social body, and to preserve “our” identity against people stigmatized as the “other” through their names, skin color or religious practices. Mass immigration to Western Europe and America, which peaked in the late 19th century, heightened the fantasy of a lost communal wholeness. So did unregulated flows of refugees: Pogroms in Russia sent thousands of Jewish survivors to Western Europe. (Weber’s warnings against the Polish “swarm” reflected a then widespread anxiety about Ostjuden.)

Virulent anti-Semites flourished in Austria-Hungary, Germany and France as the 19th century ended, while lynchings of blacks by white mobs in the United States became more common. The United States in the 1880s had pioneered racialized immigration policy, passing laws aimed at keeping Asians out. The Jim Crow laws that institutionalized segregation in the 1890s were accompanied by a mass hysteria in the United States against immigrants. Fears of degeneration haunted even powerful white men like Theodore Roosevelt. In 1905, amid widespread paranoia about the Yellow Peril, he warned of “race suicide,” exhorting white people to strengthen themselves against their rising nonwhite rivals.

History repeats itself as unfunny farce when, a century after Roosevelt, another macho president amplifies white fears of losing out in the struggle for existence. “The fundamental question of our time,” Donald J. Trump asserted in Warsaw in July, “is whether the West has the will to survive.” Indeed, the fear of decline has intensified as globalization appears to enfeeble once mighty Western nation-states while empowering those previously stigmatized as the Yellow Peril. As in the late 19th century, demagogues displace the anxieties of powerless people onto a clearly identifiable social group: immigrants or refugees. The mechanism of scapegoating — catalyzing mass disaffection and providing it with a simple culprit — has gone into overdrive in Europe and America as crisis besets the second phase of globalization.

In his surprisingly literate screed, the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik called his country the “most suicidal” in Europe for accommodating nonwhite minorities. The first sentence of Douglas Murray’s book, a handy digest of far-right clichés, claims that all of Europe “is committing suicide.” Like his numerous precursors, ranging from Max Nordau, the author of the popular “Degeneration” (1892), to Breivik, Murray goes on to depict Europeans as culturally and spiritually debauched. Evidently, they are not only helpless before the hordes of virile foreigners rampaging through their continent, but also keenly complicit in their own destruction.

“Only modern Europeans,” Murray writes, “are happy to be self-loathing in an international marketplace of sadists.” It is never quite clear which European masochists Murray, an associate editor of The Spectator in Britain, is talking about. A majority of his own countrymen, as a recent poll revealed, are proud of their former empire, and one might even argue that a xenophobic fantasy to regain imperial glory and power fueled Britain’s decision to leave the European Union last year. What is more, Murray does not seem wholly relieved, like most of us, that the vast majority of Germans regret their country’s Nazi past, and are determined not to repeat it. He offers a stalwart defense of the thuggish outfit Pegida (People Against the Islamization of the Occident/West) against criticism by German politicians and journalists; he claims that the English Defence League (a gang of hooligans shunned by its own founders for its “far-right extremism”) “had a point.” More disturbingly, he rates Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, a self-declared fan of authoritarian democracy, as a better sentinel of “European values” than George Soros.

Needless to say, Murray’s threnody for Europe is as fundamentally incoherent as its late-19th-century originals. It never strikes him, or other secondhand vendors of fixed and singular identities, that nowhere in the world have individuals been the exclusive heirs of a single culture or civilization. Europe as well as America has been a melting pot of diverse influences: Persian, Arab and Chinese, in addition to Greek, Roman, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon. As the Indian writer Rabindranath Tagore, a horrified witness to Europe’s suicidal nationalism in the early 20th century, once wrote: “In human beings differences are not like the physical barriers of mountains, fixed forever — they are fluid with life’s flow, they are changing their courses and their shapes and their volumes,” in what is a “world-game of infinite permutations and combinations.”

Murray’s retro claims of ethnic-religious community, and fears of contamination, call for close analysis. Their toxic effects, which have been amply verified by history, make it imperative to explore the deeper sources of contemporary anxieties: political, social and economic upheavals. And this is what Rita Chin’s book does, synthesizing the endless debates over multiculturalism into a vivid picture of postwar Europe. Lucidly written and resourcefully argued, it is a superb example of a scholarly intervention in a public debate dominated by unexamined prejudice.

Chin’s parents were ethnic Chinese forced to leave Malaysia after the end of British rule and to move through many “different cultural worlds as students, employees, colleagues, neighbors, friends and in-laws.” She wishes her reader to understand the multiple and perennially shifting identities of immigrants “in a world where much of the political discourse is quick to demonize them as groups.” Accordingly, she declines to accept identities — British, German or European — as unalterable essences. Rather, she explores the specific ideas that many in post-1945 British, French, Dutch and German societies have used to clarify their identity; and she never ceases to historicize what to a tub-thumper like Murray seems self-evident.

The very notion of Europe, for instance, began to emerge out of European encounters with Muslim populations during the Crusades. European self-consciousness was then sharply demarcated in remote trading posts and colonies vis-à-vis subjugated and supposedly racially inferior peoples. But, as Chin writes, the “reversal of migratory patterns” after World War II “shifted the process of European self-definition in a dramatic way”: “Instead of Europeans moving outward into the world as they had done for hundreds of years, people from around the world began to settle in Europe, filling the demand for labor created by wartime destruction.”

For Chin, an associate professor of history at the University of Michigan, this is the crux of the problem: “In the past, groups perceived as incompatible with European identity were usually located beyond European borders. But now they are firmly established within Europe itself.” In the 19th century, nation-states premised on homogeneous populations needed foreign lands and resources in order to expand; and they had the brute power necessary to enforce hierarchies of race, class and education that kept the “natives” in their place. This supremacy has been progressively weakened, first by the urgencies of postwar reconstruction, then by the accelerated flows of technologies, goods and capital in recent decades of globalization.

Chin pays little attention to the socioeconomic traumas that have led to an acute obsession with immigration: deindustrialization, the shrinking of the welfare state, the fragmentation of working classes and the rise of extreme inequality. Nor does she go into a pre-1945 history of immigration in Europe, and the projection of internal problems on to various “outsiders” — Jewish, Italian, Portuguese, Irish, Polish. But she is consistently acute on how European elites since 1945 have reacted to the darker-skinned strangers in their midst, ignoring, misrepresenting and marginalizing them at first, and then turning them into a problem, often broadly identified as “multiculturalism.”

Multiculturalism, in Chin’s account, appears largely to be a problem for people who have long been accustomed to an identity built on domination and exclusion, and are panicked by its slow crumbling. Certainly, immigration was not a problem foisted on Europe from the outside; the fates of Europeans and non-Europeans were inextricably connected in the 19th century by conquest, colonization and trade. Yet historical amnesia played an outsize role in dealing with nonwhite workers who were never expected to stay in Europe, let alone integrate or assimilate. Chin describes how people from the Caribbean who began to arrive in Britain after 1948, for instance, were seen as “colored immigrants” when in fact they were British citizens. An unreconstructed racism (exemplified by the commonplace sign “no dogs, no blacks, no Irish”) remained for many years the appalling fate of people who had shaped, like millions of toiling workers and peasants in the imperial provinces, the privileged destiny of the rich in the metropolitan center.

A backlash against multiculturalism began to gather force after the economic crises of the 1970s. The controversy over Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” accelerated it. Black people had long been seen as culturally predisposed to crime and hooliganism. But after the Ayatollah Khomeini, wrongly identified by the uninformed as the sole representative of more than one billion Muslims, issued his fatwa against Rushdie, Islam began to seem incompatible with “Western values” too. Diversity has come to seem unworkable to many as the unequal world made by imperialism unravels, and Europe suffers terrorist attacks, economic crises and huge influxes of refugees from the countries it once brusquely made and remade in Asia and Africa. Chin vigorously tackles the “shared presumption,” recklessly echoed by even mainstream politicians in Britain, France and Germany, that multiculturalism is a failure. “Declaring multiculturalism ‘dead,’” Chin argues, “is a way of white Britons, Germans and French telling immigrants, ‘We don’t recognize you; you aren’t a part of our society.’”

Surely, the many populations that now exist in every part of Europe cannot be homogenized, except through the savage ethnic cleansing practiced in almost every European country in the first half of the 20th century. In any case, as Chin asks, “what exactly do Europeans imagine as a replacement for multiculturalism? How will they come to terms with multiethnic diversity moving forward?” Chin offers no simple answers, but her questions have never seemed more urgent as Europeans (and Americans) seem to move forward to their grim past.