The inane, paranoid meme that Europe is about to be overrun by evil Muslims has somehow managed to burst out of the right-wing cul-de-sac in which it deserves to be confined, and spreading tentacles far more dangerously than is its purported target.

Of the resistance against obnoxious stupidity, this dissection of a recent book on the subject has deservedly got a lot of links. But the one I’m really enjoying is this article from the Guardian. It steps back slightly from the neverending claims and counter-claims, and gets a better view of the whole picture:

Ordinary Muslims in Europe, who suffer from the demoralisation caused by living as perennial objects of suspicion and contempt, are far from thinking of themselves as a politically powerful, or even cohesive, community, not to speak of conquerors of Europe. So what explains the rash of bestsellers with histrionic titles – While Europe Slept, America Alone, The Last Days of Europe?

It also raises a historical angle on the French veil debate which I hadn’t previously been aware of:

The veil, fixed in the 19th century by the French as a symbol of Islam’s primitive backwardness, was used to justify the brutal pacification of north African Muslims and to exclude them from full citizenship.

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