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or European Islam?

Reader comment on item: Muslim Europe

Submitted by Alain Jean-Mairet (Switzerland), May 11, 2004 at 15:12

I don't see why and how a population of older privileged people could realize the kind of danger presented here and react to it properly? The older part of the population, that is those of us "in power", don't feel that heat, and they can very well imagine that they won't feel it either even if the situation becomes much more critical than it is now. The issue is painful for people who cannot react, and people who can are left untouched. More than that, they have had the best part of it, and think they have deserved it: they won't question their whole life; they will look for the source of trouble anywhere but in their attitude. And we cannot really await much of a "new generation", as old Europe neglected to create one, or to give it a chance altogether. So, present Europe is but a dead horse.

Now, for building future, you need youth, or at least you have to deal with it. And Europe's youth seems to be Islam for a great (and growing) part. On the other hand, while I think that Europe is incapable to close its frontiers, produce more children or control immigration, I see that it can regulate. Europe has built an incredible (some say ridiculous) regulation structure those last years, and it can apply its regulations, as long as they stay quite practical, almost apolitical. In Europe, you can't understand each other (too many languages), you can't impose anything political (all independent states), but you easily can regulate technical, procedural things on a huge scale. And: you have a couple of undisputed basic consensus, like the separation of powers, including the religious one, the rule of law (├ętat de droit), and the individual (human) rights. So I think the chance of Europe is to regulate.

No glory, no fancy. Just a solid, detailed, unbreakable regulation (Europe's central strength) of what religion can and cannot. The goal would be to integrate Islam, read the Muslims, and accept their religion as a principle but with a tiny couple thousands practical exceptions that would prevent that Islam can come to power in Europe without taking off its shoes and veil and adopt some of the best profits of European wisdom. That is a challenge I think Europe can take, and win.

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