Christopher Dickey writes in Newsweek International about the "increasingly internecine brand of ethnic warfare" taking place at the bottom of Europe's social order. I excerpt the sections particularly pertinent to Muslims. The battle
pits group against group, race against race, in a competition for economic survival featuring Chinese against North Africans, South Asian Muslims against white or fair-skinned Christians from Eastern Europe and Latin America. Their struggle risks becoming a real clash of civilizations in the mean streets of immigrant Europe. Already it's a clash of underclasses and underworlds, mosques and churches, extended families, tribes, triads, mafias and traffickers.
The United Kingdom hosts an especially raging battleground, being one of only three European Union member states to permit citizens of the ten mostly East European member states that joined in 2004 to seek work. Already in 2004, unemployment among Britain's Muslim population was three times the national average.
Then came the staggering influx of Eastern Europeans. Last week, the British government announced that some 600,000, most of them Poles, had come to work in the United Kingdom over the past two years. According to John Salt, director of migration research at University College London, this is the single largest wave of immigration in British history. Government numbers show that 97 percent of those East Europeans found jobs.
Certainly, not all of them took work away from someone else—but many did. Indeed, the impact of the new immigrant invasion can be seen on the streets in Muslim neighborhoods across the United Kingdom. A British Muslim of Arab descent who runs a car wash in Hammersmith, in West London, tells a variation on an increasingly common story. He hires Poles and other newcomers, he freely confesses, because "they work hard and they stick around."
But "Kam" refuses to give his full name because he fears the anger welling up in the competing communities. "A white Polish person has a better chance than a dark-skinned Muslim at landing a job," he says. "The Eastern Europeans are 100 percent threatening for Muslims. Being Muslim means it's harder to get work. If your name is Mohammad and you speak English, or Richard and you don't, employers will pick Richard."
Mention of ethnic warfare brings to mind a startling analysis by Michel Gurfinkiel a year ago about the ratio of combatants in a possible future ethno-religious war in the streets of France:
There are about 60 million inhabitants in continental France, plus 2 million citizens in the overseas territories (essentially the French West Indies and La Reunion island in the Indian Ocean). About 20 million, most of them white and Christian, are over 50. Out of the remaining 40 million or so, 10 million or so belong to the ethnic minorities: Muslim North Africans, Muslim Turks or Near Easterners, Muslim Black Africans, Christian West Indian, African or Reunionese blacks.
When one regards to the youngest age brackets, the proportion is even larger. It is estimated that 35% of all French inhabitants under 20, and 50% of all inhabitants in the major urban centers, belong to the ethnic minorities. Islam alone may claim respectively 30% and 45%. Since war is essentially the business of youths, the combatant ratio in any ethnic war may thus be one to one.
Comments: (1) That's something to think about: Muslims make up just 5 percent of Western Europe's total population but closer to 50 percent of available bodies for street fighting in France.
(2) The experiment of Muslims moving to Europe is souring in ways no one could imagine just decades ago. (September 11, 2006)