Here’s an interesting — and not always in a good way — article from Der Spiegel on American Muslims. Its thesis is that American Muslims have responded in a positive and potentially empowering way to the challenges of post-9/11 America because the United States has a better immigration policy than European nations.
The article does an excellent job of highlighting the ways in which the American Muslim community has met post-9/11 racism with greater political participation, civic activism, and engagement — rather than retreating into anger and alienation. The US press hasn’t paid enough attention to this angle.
But a some of the language is problematic and just plain odd. Like the bit where the writer claims that "America’s new Muslim immigrants now find themselves being associated with [black] people who were traditionally viewed as America’s losers" because they now vote almost entirely for Democrats. Huh? There’s an odd whiff (or should that be stink) of elitism that runs through the article, as in: Wealthy, educated immigrants are good; working class, uneducated immigrants, bad.
Equally perplexing is the way the writer simply sweeps away the entirely different reason for Muslim immigration to Europe. Yes, immigrant Muslims in America tend to be better educated, perhaps, but they are also significantly smaller in number. The Muslim "ghettoes" that the author criticizes were created when countries like Germany and France "imported" large numbers of cheap, unskilled workers from countries like Turkey to solve their labor shortage problem in the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
And as Der Spiegel itself documents in this 2004 article, these immigrants were then treated like guest workers with no rights, and not integrated into the society or given a path to citizenship. So it should hardly be a surprise that they’re more alienated and at odds with mainstream Germany.
So, fine, it is indeed a "better" immigration policy to embrace the people you invite into your country to do your dirty work. Maybe American Muslims can teach Republicans to apply that lesson to certain other immigrants in this country.