It is not only Europe’s failure, but Europe’s conscious decision — as Bat Ye’or demonstrates in the forthcoming Eurabia. The Europeans are reaping what they have sown for thirty years. From Newsday, with thanks to Nicolei:
But beyond the outpouring of rage, “the Dutch Sept. 11,” [the murder of van Gogh] as it is referred to here, has spurred extraordinary soul-searching about immigration, identity and the threat of radical Islamists. It has come to symbolize European vulnerability – not just to terrorism, but also to the erosion of foundational values like tolerance and free speech.
“After the attacks on America, we were very shocked, but we thought it was far away and it would never happen to Europe, let alone the Netherlands,” said Geert Wilders, a right-wing member of Parliament under death threat after calling for a five-year halt to non-European immigration and the deportation of radical imams.
In many ways, Van Gogh’s murder has held up a mirror to Europe, and many are frightened by the reflection: a culturally and religiously polarized continent that is as vulnerable to jihadists from within as from without.
The 26-year-old murder suspect, Mohammed Bouyeri, was a homegrown jihadi, one of thousands of young Muslim men educated in Dutch schools, speaking perfect Dutch, but living on the margins of society. He was part of a cell here that police call the Hofstad group, which included two Islamic converts born to an African-American serviceman and a Dutch mother, as well as a Moroccan translator for AIVD, the Dutch intelligence agency.
Many fear that other disaffected young Muslims who are born and educated here, and who identify with Islamist grievances around the world, may be ready recruits.
And concerns about terrorism also have spotlighted the failure here and across Europe to integrate a large and fast-growing Muslim minority. In Amsterdam, the most popular name for a newborn boy is Mohammed, and a majority of residents will be Muslim within 10 to 15 years. Yet most Muslim children attend largely segregated schools, participate in their own sports clubs and live in neighborhoods that are increasingly separate islands with high rates of joblessness and crime.
“For far too long, we have said we had a multicultural society and everyone would simply find each other,” said immigration minister Rita Verdonk, also targeted in the note left by Van Gogh’s killer. “We were too naive in thinking people would exist in society together.”
The same debate that has preoccupied Britain, France, Germany and Italy is now raging here: How does a liberal democracy defend an open society against those who don’t share those values? And how does it integrate a fast-growing Muslim population in a society with very little experience of multiethnic identity – where American-style notions of hyphenated identities like Muslim-American or Italian-American, for instance, simply don’t exist.