In This Review

Breeding Bin Ladens: America, Islam, and the Future of Europe
Breeding Bin Ladens: America, Islam, and the Future of Europe
By Zachary Shore
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006, 240 pp.

Shore's wise and thoughtful book addresses Europe's "Muslim problems" -- those problems faced by the 15 million Muslims in the European Union and those encountered by the EU in trying to cope with them. The issue, Shore points out, goes way beyond the matter of terrorism -- and may get more troublesome as Europe, with its aging population and low birthrate, needs more immigrants. In his interviews with Muslims in most European countries, he has found deep "ambi-Americanism" and "ambi-Europeanism." There are, of course, profound political causes for their hostility to the United States, but there is also "among younger European Muslims a growing sense that Europe and America are spiritually empty" and a feeling of being rejected by the Europeans among whom they live. Their consequent fundamentalism (which "simply means returning to the fundamentals of a religious doctrine") is not synonymous with terrorism, but it is often perceived as a first step toward violence -- especially since "Muslims on the whole still represent part of the underclass, overrepresented in unemployment, low wage earnings, and political disenfranchisement." Shore is, however, confident that solutions can be found, and he makes a series of "modest proposals" -- such as retiring the vocabulary of war from the current language and creating a "Head Start" program for low-income Muslims in Europe. This eminently readable volume deserves to be widely known and seriously pondered.