Globe and Mail European bureau chief Saunders (Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World, 2011) examines the fearful reaction of today's native-born Western Europeans and North Americans to Muslim immigration.
The author takes a nuanced, informative look at the alarm that has greeted the latest wave of Muslim immigrants to Western countries and explains, with admirable precision, why this response is unjustified. In a methodical, point-by-point approach, Saunders analyzes the myths from which Western fears of a “Muslim takeover” have sprung, as well as the actual facts surrounding Muslim immigration patterns and population trends—e.g., birth rates are actually falling in many Muslim immigrant communities. The author argues that early-21st-century Muslim sentiment in the West is nearly identical in origin to the anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish fervor that swept the same region when immigration from those communities increased in the early-20th century. Few Americans today recall Paul Blanshard's 1949 book American Freedom and Catholic Power, but it was a massively popular bestseller in which the author warned—in terms strikingly similar to those employed by the authors of contemporary books about the threat of Muslim immigration—that fast-breeding Catholics, left unchecked, would eventually seek to gain control of the American presidency and implement a “Catholic plan for America.” In the last section, Saunders provides a sober reflection on “the genuine problems and challenges of immigration” (as opposed to the trumped-up, hysterical anti-Muslim myths the author so effectively eviscerates in earlier sections). Saunders' approach is refreshingly levelheaded and fact-based; he reproaches those who have allowed fear and anger to overwhelm reason, while acknowledging that terrorism and religious extremism pose real dangers to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
An invaluable contribution to the contemporary debate over Muslim immigration and integration into Western communities.