The Elephant in the Room

Islam and the Crisis of Liberal Values in Europe

Opponents of anti-immigration right-wing movement PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) protest in Cologne, Germany, January 2016.  Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters

Europe is still struggling to cope with a massive influx of refugees, with over a million asylum seekers arriving across the Mediterranean Sea. Nearly all of them are Muslims. This fact has shaped public and political opinion but has rarely been openly and honestly discussed. Can a Europe of 28 member states share responsibility for a smaller number of refugees than is currently in Lebanon alone? Of course it can. In fact, most European countries need the labor

The elephant in the room is an underlying Islamophobia. The simple fact is that European member states don’t really want to welcome Muslim migrants. This has been explicit in the case of countries with vocal far-right parties and in central European countries with Christian nationalist governments. But the liberal political elites of western Europe have steered clear of admitting that the biggest single barrier to coherent asylum and immigration policies is public

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