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July 27, 2006

Europe’s Angry Muslims

Filed under: Eurabia, Global Jihad, Islam, Migration, Multi Kulti, Terror, Western civilisation — limewoody @ 9:54 pm

Summary: Radical Islam is spreading across Europe among descendants
of Muslim immigrants. Disenfranchised and disillusioned by the
failure of integration, some European Muslims have taken up jihad
against the West. They are dangerous and committed — and can enter
the United States without a visa.
Robert S. Leiken is Director of the Immigration and National
Security Program at the Nixon Center and a nonresident Fellow at the
Brookings Institution. He is the author of Bearers of Jihad?
Immigration and National Security After 9/11.


Fox News and CNN’s Lou Dobbs worry about terrorists stealing across
the United States’ border with Mexico concealed among illegal
immigrants. The Pentagon wages war in the Middle East to stop
terrorist attacks on the United States. But the growing nightmare of
officials at the Department of Homeland Security is passport-
carrying, visa-exempt mujahideen coming from the United States’
western European allies.

Jihadist networks span Europe from Poland to Portugal, thanks to the
spread of radical Islam among the descendants of guest workers once
recruited to shore up Europe’s postwar economic miracle. In smoky
coffeehouses in Rotterdam and Copenhagen, makeshift prayer halls in
Hamburg and Brussels, Islamic bookstalls in Birmingham
and “Londonistan,” and the prisons of Madrid, Milan, and Marseilles,
immigrants or their descendants are volunteering for jihad against
the West. It was a Dutch Muslim of Moroccan descent, born and
socialized in Europe, who murdered the filmmaker Theo van Gogh in
Amsterdam last November. A Nixon Center study of 373 mujahideen in
western Europe and North America between 1993 and 2004 found more
than twice as many Frenchmen as Saudis and more Britons than
Sudanese, Yemenites, Emiratis, Lebanese, or Libyans. Fully a quarter
of the jihadists it listed were western European nationals —
eligible to travel visa-free to the United States.

The emergence of homegrown mujahideen in Europe threatens the United
States as well as Europe. Yet it was the dog that never barked at
last winter’s Euro-American rapprochement meeting. Neither President
George W. Bush nor Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice drew
attention to this mutual peril, even though it should focus minds
and could buttress solidarity in the West.


The mass immigration of Muslims to Europe was an unintended
consequence of post-World War II guest-worker programs. Backed by
friendly politicians and sympathetic judges, foreign workers, who
were supposed to stay temporarily, benefited from family
reunification programs and became permanent. Successive waves of
immigrants formed a sea of descendants. Today, Muslims constitute
the majority of immigrants in most western European countries,
including Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, and the
largest single component of the immigrant population in the United
Kingdom. Exact numbers are hard to come by because Western censuses
rarely ask respondents about their faith. But it is estimated that
between 15 and 20 million Muslims now call Europe home and make up
four to five percent of its total population. (Muslims in the United
States probably do not exceed 3 million, accounting for less than
two percent of the total population.) France has the largest
proportion of Muslims (seven to ten percent of its total
population), followed by the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden,
the United Kingdom, and Italy. Given continued immigration and high
Muslim fertility rates, the National Intelligence Council projects
that Europe’s Muslim population will double by 2025.

Unlike their U.S. counterparts, who entered a gigantic country built
on immigration, most Muslim newcomers to western Europe started
arriving only after World War II, crowding into small, culturally
homogenous nations. Their influx was a new phenomenon for many host
states and often unwelcome. Meanwhile, North African immigrants
retained powerful attachments to their native cultures. So unlike
American Muslims, who are geographically diffuse, ethnically
fragmented, and generally well off, Europe’s Muslims gather in bleak
enclaves with their compatriots: Algerians in France, Moroccans in
Spain, Turks in Germany, and Pakistanis in the United Kingdom.

The footprint of Muslim immigrants in Europe is already more visible
than that of the Hispanic population in the United States. Unlike
the jumble of nationalities that make up the American Latino
community, the Muslims of western Europe are likely to be distinct,
cohesive, and bitter. In Europe, host countries that never learned
to integrate newcomers collide with immigrants exceptionally
retentive of their ways, producing a variant of what the French
scholar Olivier Roy calls “globalized Islam”: militant Islamic
resentment at Western dominance, anti-imperialism exalted by

As the French academic Gilles Kepel acknowledges, “neither the blood
spilled by Muslims from North Africa fighting in French uniforms
during both world wars nor the sweat of migrant laborers, living
under deplorable living conditions, who rebuilt France (and Europe)
for a pittance after 1945, has made their children … full fellow
citizens.” Small wonder, then, that a radical leader of the Union of
Islamic Organizations of France, a group associated with the Muslim
Brotherhood, curses his new homeland: “Oh sweet France! Are you
astonished that so many of your children commune in a stinging naal
bou la France [@#%$ France], and damn your Fathers?”

As a consequence of demography, history, ideology, and policy,
western Europe now plays host to often disconsolate Muslim
offspring, who are its citizens in name but not culturally or
socially. In a fit of absentmindedness, during which its academics
discoursed on the obsolescence of the nation-state, western Europe
acquired not a colonial empire but something of an internal colony,
whose numbers are roughly equivalent to the population of Syria.
Many of its members are willing to integrate and try to climb
Europe’s steep social ladder. But many younger Muslims reject the
minority status to which their parents acquiesced. A volatile mix of
European nativism and immigrant dissidence challenges what the
Danish sociologist Ole Waever calls “societal security,” or national
cohesion. To make matters worse, the very isolation of these
diaspora communities obscures their inner workings, allowing
mujahideen to fundraise, prepare, and recruit for jihad with a
freedom available in few Muslim countries.

As these conditions developed in the late 1990s, even liberal
segments of the European public began to have second thoughts about
immigration. Many were galled by their governments’ failure to
reduce or even identify the sources of insécurité (a French code
word for the combination of vandalism, delinquency, and hate crimes
stemming from Muslim immigrant enclaves). The state appeared unable
to regulate the entry of immigrants, and society seemed unwilling to
integrate them. In some cases, the backlash was xenophobic and
racist; in others, it was a reaction against policymakers captivated
by a multiculturalist dream of diverse communities living in
harmony, offering oppressed nationalities marked compassion and
remedial benefits. By 2002, electoral rebellion over the issue of
immigration was threatening the party systems of Austria, Belgium,
Denmark, France, and the Netherlands. The Dutch were so incensed by
the 2002 assassination of Pim Fortuyn, a gay anti-immigration
politician, that mainstream parties adopted much of the victim’s
program. In the United Kingdom this spring, the Tories not only
joined the ruling Labour Party in embracing sweeping immigration
restrictions, such as tightened procedures for asylum and family
reunification (both regularly abused throughout Europe) and a
computerized exit-entry system like the new U.S. Visitor and
Immigration Status Indicator Technology program; they also
campaigned for numerical caps on immigrants. With the Muslim
headscarf controversy raging in France, talk about the connection
between asylum abuse and terrorism rising in the United Kingdom, an
immigration dispute threatening to tear Belgium apart, and the Dutch
outrage over the van Gogh killing, western Europe may now be
reaching a tipping point.


The uncomfortable truth is that disenfranchisement and
radicalization are happening even in countries, such as the
Netherlands, that have done much to accommodate Muslim immigrants.
Proud of a legendary tolerance of minorities, the Netherlands
welcomed tens of thousands of Muslim asylum seekers allegedly
escaping persecution. Immigrants availed themselves of generous
welfare and housing benefits, an affirmative-action hiring policy,
and free language courses. Dutch taxpayers funded Muslim religious
schools and mosques, and public television broadcast programs in
Moroccan Arabic. Mohammed Bouyeri was collecting unemployment
benefits when he murdered van Gogh.

The van Gogh slaying rocked the Netherlands and neighboring
countries not only because the victim, a provocative filmmaker, was
a descendant of the painter Vincent, the Dutch’s most cherished
icon, but also because Bouyeri was “an average second-generation
immigrant,” according to Stef Blok, the chairman of the
parliamentary commission reviewing Bouyeri’s immigration record.
European counterterrorism authorities saw the killing as a new phase
in the terrorist threat. It raised the specter of Middle East-style
political assassinations as part of the European jihadist arsenal
and it disclosed a new source of danger: unknown individuals among
Europe’s own Muslims. The cell in Hamburg that was connected to the
attacks of September 11, 2001, was composed of student visitors, and
the Madrid train bombings of March 2004 were committed by Moroccan
immigrants. But van Gogh’s killer and his associates were born and
raised in Europe.

Bouyeri was the child of Moroccan immigrant workers. He grew up in a
proletarian area of Amsterdam sometimes known as Satellite City
because of the many reception dishes that sit on its balconies,
tuned to al Jazeera and Moroccan television. Bouyeri’s parents
arrived in a wave of immigration in the 1970s and never learned
Dutch. But Bouyeri graduated from the area’s best high school. His
transformation from promising student to jihadist follows a pattern
in which groups of thriving, young European Muslims enlist in jihad
to slaughter Westerners.

After graduating from a local college and then taking advanced
courses in accounting and information technology, Bouyeri, who had
an unruly temper, was jailed for seven months on a violence-related
crime. He emerged from jail an Islamist, angry over Palestine and
sympathetic to Hamas. He studied social work and became a community
organizer. He wrote in a community newsletter that “the Netherlands
is now our enemy because they participate in the occupation of
Iraq.” After he failed to get funding for a youth center in
Satellite City and was unable to ban the sale of beer or the
presence of women at the events he organized, he moved to downtown
Amsterdam. There, he was recruited into the Hofstad Group, a cell of
second-generation Islamic militants.

The cell started meeting every two weeks in Bouyeri’s apartment to
hear the sermons of a Syrian preacher known as Abu Khatib. Hofstad
was connected to networks in Spain, Morocco, Italy, and Belgium, and
it was planning a string of assassinations of Dutch politicians, an
attack on the Netherlands’ sole nuclear reactor, and other actions
around Europe. European intelligence services have linked the cell
to the Moroccan Islamic Combat Group, which is associated with the
Madrid bombings and a series of attacks in Casablanca in 2003. Its
Syrian imam was involved with mujahideen in Iraq and with an
operational chief of al Qaeda. “Judging by Bouyeri’s and the Hofstad
network’s international contacts,” an analyst for the Norwegian
government says, “it seems safe to conclude that they were part of
the numerous terrorist plots that have been unraveled over the past
years in western Europe.”

The Hofstad Group should not be compared with marginal European
terrorist groups of the past, such as the Baader-Meinhof Gang in
Germany, Action Directe in France, or the Red Brigades in Italy.
Like other jihadist groups today, it enjoys what Marxist terrorists
long sought but always lacked: a social base. And its base is
growing rapidly, thanks in part to the war in Iraq.

The Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) says that
radical Islam in the Netherlands encompasses “a multitude of
movements, organizations and groups.” Some are nonviolent and share
only religious dogma and a loathing for the West. But AIVD stresses
that others, including al Qaeda, are also “stealthily taking root in
Dutch society” by recruiting estranged Dutch-born Muslim youths. An
AIVD report portrays such recruits watching jihadist videos,
discussing martyrdom in Internet chat rooms, and attending Islamist
readings, congresses, and summer camps. Radical Islam has become “an
autonomous phenomenon,” the AIVD affirms, so that even without
direct influence from abroad, Dutch youth are now embracing the
fundamentalist line. Much the same can be said about angry young
Muslims in Brussels, London, Paris, Madrid, and Milan.


Broadly speaking, there are two types of jihadists in western
Europe: call them “outsiders” and “insiders.” The outsiders are
aliens, typically asylum seekers or students, who gained refuge in
liberal Europe from crackdowns against Islamists in the Middle East.
Among them are radical imams, often on stipends from Saudi Arabia,
who open their mosques to terrorist recruiters and serve as
messengers for or spiritual fathers to jihadist networks. Once these
aliens secure entry into one EU country, they have the run of them
all. They may be assisted by legal or illegal residents, such as the
storekeepers, merchants, and petty criminals who carried out the
Madrid bombings.

Many of these first-generation outsiders have migrated to Europe
expressly to carry out jihad. In Islamist mythology, migration is
archetypically linked to conquest. Facing persecution in idolatrous
Mecca, in AD 622 the Prophet Muhammad pronounced an anathema on the
city’s leaders and took his followers to Medina. From there, he
built an army that conquered Mecca in AD 630, establishing Muslim
rule. Today, in the minds of mujahideen in Europe, it is the Middle
East at large that figures as an idolatrous Mecca because several
governments in the region suppressed Islamist takeovers in the
1990s. Europe could even be viewed as a kind of Medina, where troops
are recruited for the reconquest of the holy land, starting with

The insiders, on the other hand, are a group of alienated citizens,
second- or third-generation children of immigrants, like Bouyeri,
who were born and bred under European liberalism. Some are
unemployed youth from hardscrabble suburbs of Marseilles, Lyon, and
Paris or former mill towns such as Bradford and Leicester. They are
the latest, most dangerous incarnation of that staple of immigration
literature, the revolt of the second generation. They are also
dramatic instances of what could be called adversarial assimilation –
– integration into the host country’s adversarial culture. But this
sort of anti-West westernization is illustrated more typically by
another paradigmatic second-generation recruit: the upwardly mobile
young adult, such as the university-educated Zacarias Moussaoui, the
so-called 20th hijacker, or Omar Khyam, the computer student and
soccer captain from Sussex, England, who dreamed of playing for his
country but was detained in April 2004 for holding, with eight
accomplices, half a ton of explosives aimed at London.

These downwardly mobile slum dwellers and upwardly mobile achievers
replicate in western Europe the two social types that formed the
base of Islamist movements in developing countries such as Algeria,
Egypt, and Malaysia: the residents of shantytowns and the devout
bourgeoisie. As in the September 11 attacks, the educated tend to
form the leadership cadre, with the plebeians providing the muscle.
No Chinese wall separates first-generation outsiders from second-
generation insiders; indeed, the former typically find their
recruits among the latter. Hofstad’s Syrian imam mentored Bouyeri;
the notorious one-eyed imam Abu Hamza al-Masri coached Moussaoui in
London. A decade ago in France, the Algerian Armed Islamic Group
proselytized beurs (the French-born children of North African
immigrants) and turned them into the jihadists who terrorized train
passengers during the 1990s. But post-September 11 recruitment
appears more systematic and strategic. Al Qaeda’s drives focus on
the second generation. And if jihad recruiters sometimes find
sympathetic ears underground, among gangs or in jails, today they
are more likely to score at university campuses, prep schools, and
even junior high schools.


According to senior counterintelligence officials, classified
intelligence briefings, and wiretaps, jihadists extended their
European operations after the roundups that followed September 11
and then again, with fresh energy, after the invasion of Iraq. Osama
bin Laden now provides encouragement and strategic orientation to
scores of relatively autonomous European jihadist networks that
assemble for specific missions, draw operatives from a pool of
professionals and apprentices, strike, and then dissolve, only to
regroup later.

Typically these groups target European countries allied with the
United States in Iraq, as was proved by the Madrid bombings, the
November 2003 attacks on British targets in Istanbul, as well as the
lion’s share of some 30 spectacular terrorist plots that have failed
since September 11. In March 2004, within days of the London police
chief’s pronouncement that a local terrorist attack
was “inevitable,” his officers uncovered a plot involving nine
British nationals of Pakistani origin and seized the largest cache
of potential bomb-making material since the heyday of the Irish
Republican Army. A few months later, Scotland Yard charged eight
second-generation South Asian immigrants, reportedly trained in al
Qaeda camps, with assembling a dirty bomb. Three of them had
reconnaissance plans showing the layout of financial institutions in
three U.S. cities.

Several hundred European militants — including dozens of second-
generation Dutch immigrants “wrestling with their identity,”
according to the Dutch intelligence service — have also struck out
for Iraq’s Sunni Triangle. In turn, western Europe serves as a way
station for mujahideen wounded in Iraq. The Iraq network belongs to
an extensive structure developed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, now
formally bin Laden’s sworn ally and the “emir” of al Qaeda in Iraq.
Recently unsealed Spanish court documents suggest that at a meeting
in Istanbul in February 2002, Zarqawi, anticipating a protracted war
in Iraq, began to lay plans for a two-way underground railway to
send European recruits to Iraq and Middle Eastern recruiters, as
well as illegal aliens, to Europe. Zarqawi also activated sleeper
cells established in European cities during the Bosnian conflict.

A chief terrorism investigator in Milan, Armando Spataro, says
that “almost all European countries have been touched by [Iraq]
recruiting,” including, improbably, Norway, Switzerland, Poland,
Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic. The recruitment methods of the
Iraq network, which procures weapons in Germany from Balkan gangs,
parallels those for the conflicts in Chechnya and Kashmir. Thanks to
its state-of-the-art document-forging industry, Italy has become a
base for dispatching volunteers. And Spain forms a trunk line with
North Africa as well as a staging area for attacks in “al Andalus,”
the erstwhile Muslim Spanish caliphate.


Although for some Europeans the Madrid bombings were a watershed
event comparable to the September 11 attacks in the United States,
these Europeans form a minority, especially among politicians. Yet
what Americans perceive as European complacency is easy to fathom.
The September 11 attacks did not happen in Europe, and for a long
time the continent’s experience with terrorism mainly took the form
of car bombs and booby-trapped trash cans. Terrorism is still seen
as a crime problem, not an occasion for war. Moreover, some European
officials believe that acquiescent policies toward the Middle East
can offer protection. In fact, while bin Laden has selectively
attacked the United States’ allies in the Iraq war, he has offered a
truce to those European states that have stayed out of the conflict.

With a few exceptions, European authorities shrink from the
relatively stout legislative and security measures adopted in the
United States. They prefer criminal surveillance and traditional
prosecutions to launching a U.S.-style “war on terrorism” and
mobilizing the military, establishing detention centers, enhancing
border security, requiring machine-readable passports, expelling
hate preachers, and lengthening notoriously light sentences for
convicted terrorists. Germany’s failure to convict conspirators in
the September 11 attacks suggests that the European public, outside
of France and now perhaps the Netherlands, is not ready for a war on

Contrary to what many Americans concluded during Washington’s
dispute with Paris in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, France is
the exception to general European complacency. Well before September
11, France had deployed the most robust counterterrorism regime of
any Western country. Irish terrorism may have diverted British
attention from jihad, as has Basque terrorism in Spain, but Algerian
terrorism worked the opposite effect in France.

To prevent proselytizing among its mostly North African Muslim
community, during the 1990s the energetic French state denied asylum
to radical Islamists even while they were being welcomed by its
neighbors. Fearing, as Kepel puts it, that contagion would turn “the
social malaise felt by Muslims in the suburbs of major cities” into
extremism and terrorism, the French government cracked down on
jihadists, detaining suspects for as long as four days without
charging them or allowing them access to a lawyer. Today no place of
worship is off limits to the police in secular France. Hate speech
is rewarded with a visit from the police, blacklisting, and the
prospect of deportation. These practices are consistent with the
strict Gallic assimilationist model that bars religion from the
public sphere (hence the headscarf dispute).

Contrast the French approach to the United Kingdom’s separatist form
of multiculturalism, which offered radical Arab Islamists refuge and
the opportunity to preach openly, while stepping up surveillance of
them. French youth could still tune into jihadist messages on
satellite television and the Internet, but in the United Kingdom
open radical preaching spawned terrorist cells. Most of the rest of
Europe adopted the relaxed British approach, but with less

Now, the Madrid bombings and the van Gogh killing have strengthened
the hand of engaged politicians, such as Germany’s Social Democratic
interior minister, Otto Schily, and the former French interior
minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, who leads the governing Union for a
Popular Movement. They have also prompted Brussels, London, Madrid,
Paris, and The Hague to increase resources and personnel devoted to

In general, European politicians with security responsibilities, not
to mention intelligence and security officials who get daily
intelligence reports, take the harder U.S. line. Schily has called
for Europe-wide “computer-aided profiling” to identify mujahideen.
The emergence of holy warriors in Europe and the meiosis of radical
groups once connected to al Qaeda have prompted several European
capitals to increase cooperation on counterterrorism as well as
their counterterrorism resources and personnel.

Yet a jihadist can cross Europe with little scrutiny. Even if
noticed, he can change his name or glide across a border, relying on
long-standing bureaucratic and legal stovepipes. After the Madrid
bombings, a midlevel European official was appointed to coordinate
European counterterrorist statutes and harmonize EU security
arrangements. But he often serves simply as a broker amid the
gallimaufry of the 25 member states’ legal codes.

Since the Madrid bombings, the Spanish Interior Ministry has tripled
to 450 the number of full-time antiterrorism operatives, and the
Spanish national police are assigning a similar number of additional
agents to mujahideen intelligence. Spanish law enforcement
established a task force combining police and intelligence
specialists to keep tabs on Muslim neighborhoods and prison mosques.
Similarly, special police cells are being organized in each of
France’s 22 regions, stepping up the surveillance of mosques,
Islamic bookshops, long-distance phone facilities, and halal
butchers and restaurants.

The 25 EU members have also put into effect a European arrest
warrant allowing police to avoid lengthy extradition procedures.
Despite widespread concerns about possible privacy abuses, several
EU countries have lowered barriers between intelligence and police
agencies since the van Gogh murder. Germany aims to place its 16
police forces under one umbrella. In France, Germany, Spain, the
Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, intelligence and police
officers meet with officials in state-of-the-art communications
centers, or “war rooms,” to share information about interrogations,
informant reports, live wiretaps, and video or satellite pictures.

Still, counterterrorism agencies remain reluctant to share sensitive
information or cooperate on prosecutions. Measures proposed in the
wake of the Madrid attacks, such as a Europe-wide fingerprint and
DNA database and biometric passports, remain only that — proposals.
Fragmentation and rivalry among Europe’s security systems and other
institutions continue to hamper counterterrorism efforts. For nearly
a decade, France has sought the extradition of the organizer of
several bombings in the Paris metro in the 1990s, but his case
languishes in the British courts to the anguish of the Home Office
as well as Paris.

The new mujahideen are not only testing traditional counterterrorist
practices; their emergence is also challenging the mentality
prevailing in western Europe since the end of World War II.
Revulsion against Nazism and colonialism translated into compassion
toward religious minorities, of whatever stripe. At first, Muslim
guest workers were welcomed in Europe by a liberal orthodoxy that
generally regarded them as victims lacking rights. In some
countries, such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, that
perspective spawned a comprehensive form of multiculturalism.
London’s version verged on separatism. While stepping up
surveillance, the British authorities allowed Islamists refuge and
an opportunity to preach openly and disseminate rabid propaganda.
Multiculturalism had a dual appeal: it allowed these states to seem
tolerant by showering minorities with rights while segregating them
from, rather than absorbing them into, the rest of society.
Multiculturalism dovetailed with a diminished Western ethos that
suited libertarians as well as liberals.

But now many Europeans have come to see that permissiveness as
excessive, even dangerous. A version of religious tolerance allowed
the Hamburg cell to flourish and rendered German universities
hospitable to radical Islam. Now Europeans are asking Muslims to
practice religious tolerance themselves and adjust to the values of
their host countries. Tony Blair’s government requires that would-be
citizens master “Britishness.” Likewise, “Dutch values” are central
to The Hague’s new approach, and similar proposals are being put
forward in Berlin, Brussels, and Copenhagen. Patrick Weil, the
immigration guru of the French Socialist Party, sees a continental
trend in which immigrant “responsibilities” balance
immigrant “rights.”

The Dutch reaction to van Gogh’s assassination, the British reaction
to jihadist abuse of political asylum, and the French reaction to
the wearing of the headscarf suggest that Europe’s multiculturalism
has begun to collide with its liberalism, privacy rights with
national security. Multiculturalism was once a hallmark of Europe’s
cultural liberalism, which the British columnist John O’Sullivan
defined as “free[dom] from irksome traditional moral customs and
cultural restraints.” But when multiculturalism is perceived to
coddle terrorism, liberalism parts company. The gap between the two
is opening in France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and to
some extent even in Germany, where liberalism stretched a form of
religious tolerance so much so that it allowed the Hamburg cell to
turn prayer rooms into war rooms with cocky immunity from the German

Yet it is far from clear whether top-down policies will work without
bottom-up adjustments in social attitudes. Can Muslims become
Europeans without Europe opening its social and political circles to
them? So far, it appears that absolute assimilationism has failed in
France, but so has segregation in Germany and multiculturalism in
the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Could there be another way?
The French ban the headscarf in public schools; the Germans ban it
among public employees. The British celebrate it. The Americans
tolerate it. Given the United States’ comparatively happier record
of integrating immigrants, one may wonder whether the mixed U.S.
approach — separating religion from politics without placing a wall
between them, helping immigrants slowly adapt but allowing them
relative cultural autonomy — could inspire Europeans to chart a new
course between an increasingly hazardous multiculturalism and a
naked secularism that estranges Muslims and other believers. One
thing is certain: if only for the sake of counterterrorism, Europe
needs to develop an integration policy that works. But that will not
happen overnight.

Indeed, the fissure between liberalism and multiculturalism is
opening just as the continent undergoes its most momentous
population shift since Asian tribes pushed westward in the first
Christian millennium. Immigration obviously hits a national security
nerve, but it also raises economic and demographic questions: how to
cope with a demonstrably aging population; how to maintain social
cohesion as Christianity declines and both secularism and Islam
climb; whether the EU should exercise sovereignty over borders and
citizenship; and what the accession of Turkey, with its 70 million
Muslims, would mean for the EU. Moreover, European mujahideen do not
threaten only the Old World; they also pose an immediate danger to
the United States.


The United States’ relative success in assimilating its own Muslim
immigrants means that its border security must be more vigilant. To
strike at the United States, al Qaeda counts less on domestic
sleeper cells than on foreign infiltration. As a 9/11 Commission
staff report put it, al Qaeda faces “a travel problem”: How can it
move its mujahideen from hatchery to target? Europe’s mujahideen may
represent a solution.

The New York Times has reported that bin Laden has outsourced
planning for the next spectacular attack on the United States to
an “external planning node.” Chances are it is based in Europe and
will deploy European citizens. European countries generally accord
citizenship to immigrants born on their soil, and so potential
European jihadists are entitled to European passports, allowing them
visa-free travel to the United States and entry without an
interview. The members of the Hamburg cell that captained the
September 11 attacks came by air from Europe and were treated by the
State Department as travelers on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), just
like Moussaoui and Richard Reid, the shoe bomber.

Does that mean the VWP should be scrapped altogether, as some
members of Congress are asking? By no means. The State Department is
already straining to enforce stricter post-September 11 visa-
screening measures, which involve longer interviews, more staff, and
more delays. Terminating the VWP would exact steep bureaucratic and
diplomatic costs, and rile the United States’ remaining European
friends. Instead, the United States should update the criteria used
in the periodic reviews of VWP countries, taking into account
terrorist recruiting and evaluating passport procedures. These
reviews could utilize task forces set up in collaboration with the
Europeans. Together, U.S. and European authorities should insist
that the airlines require U.S.-bound transatlantic travelers to
submit passport information when purchasing tickets. Such a measure
would give the new U.S. National Targeting Center time to check
potential entrants without delaying flight departures. And officers
should be stationed at check-in counters to weed out suspects.

Europe’s emerging mujahideen endanger the entire Western world.
Collaboration in taming Muslim rancor or at least in keeping
European jihadists off U.S.-bound airplanes could help reconcile
estranged allies. A shared threat and a mutual interest should
engage media, policymakers, and the public on both sides of the
Atlantic. To concentrate their minds on common dangers and solutions
might come as a bittersweet relief to Europeans and Americans after
their recent disagreements.


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