The Corner

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Swedish Muslims


Pity poor Christopher Caldwell, who had the misfortune of seeing his fine piece on Muslims in Sweden published on Super Bowl Sunday. “Islam on the Outskirts of the Welfare State” is definitely worth a read.

In a post last week (“Missing March“) I suggested that British Muslims who might have liked to march in protest against the London subway bombings were intimidated by threatened violence from radicals. Caldwell more or less confirms that with stories of death threats against Swedish imams who have condemned suicide bombings. The radicals clearly have no qualms about terrorizing their fellow Muslims, and that is a huge part of the problem we face.

It seems that the politically correct Swedes hate the Danes for even talking about the problem of unassimilated immigrants. (And this was before the cartoon war.) Swedish government reports on immigration might as well have be written by American professors of Middle East Studies. They’re filled with postcolonial theory and quotations from Edward Said.

Another striking thing about this Caldwell piece is the role of media technology in preventing assimilation. Immigrant houses are recognizable by their satellite dishes. Sweden’s Muslims are out of touch with local and national politics because they’re watching Al Jazeera instead of Swedish television. So technology does allow an end run around the mainstream media. But here, instead of promoting democratic participation and debate, it’s cementing an international religious solidarity that cuts against assimilation.