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Veil of Tears: Absurdity in France

Andrew Stuttaford

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Islam," as Samuel Huntington wrote, "has bloody borders." True enough, but in an age of mass immigration where are those borders? Precise numbers are hard to come by, but there are now thought to be at least 12 million Muslims within the EU, territories where, no more than half a century ago, Islam was little more than exotica, a religion of far-off desert places, its presence a distant, if troubling, memory; the faith of the Ottoman empire that, at its peak, reached the gates of Vienna; the faith of the Moors, who swept through Spain, advanced deep into France, and ruled Andalusia for hundreds of years; the faith of the Barbary pirates, slavers and scourge.

And then, when a booming postwar Europe started looking south and east for sources of new labor, history went into reverse. Muslims returned, but as immigrants this time, not invaders. Their stories vary from individual to individual and from country to country, but almost everyone can agree on one point: In France, where there are five million Muslims (about 7.5 percent of the population; other estimates are significantly higher), something has gone terribly wrong.

Read the entire article on the National Review Online website.

Posted: 4/24/04



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