Muslims - Europe's New Jews

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Both Vladimir Putin, Russia's president and Yuri Luzhkov, Moscow's mayor, now takerepparttar trouble to greetrepparttar 132510 capital's one million Muslims onrepparttar 132511 occasion of their Feast of Sacrifice. They also actively solicitrepparttar 132512 votes ofrepparttar 132513 nationalist and elitist Muslims ofrepparttar 132514 industrialized Volga - mainlyrepparttar 132515 Tatars, Bashkirs and Chuvash. Evenrepparttar 132516 impoverished, much-detested and powerless Muslims ofrepparttar 132517 northern Caucasus - Chechens, Circassians and Dagestanis - have benefited from this newfound awareness of their electoral power.

Though divided by their common creed - Shiites vs. Sunnites vs. Wahabbites and so on -repparttar 132518 Muslims of Europe are united in supportingrepparttar 132519 Palestinian cause and in opposingrepparttar 132520 Iraq war. This - and post-colonial guilt feelings, especially manifest in France and Britain - go a long way toward explaining Germany's re-discovered pacifistic spine and France's anti-Israeli (not to say anti-Semitic) tilt.

Moreover,repparttar 132521 Muslims have been playing an important economic role inrepparttar 132522 continent sincerepparttar 132523 early 1960s. Europe's postwar miracle was founded on these cheap, plentiful and oft-replenished Gastarbeiter - "guest workers". Objective studies have consistently shown that immigrants contribute more to their host economies - as consumers, investors and workers - than they ever claw back in social services and public goods. This is especially true in Europe, where an ageing population of early retirees has been relying onrepparttar 132524 uninterrupted flow of pension contributions by younger laborers, many of them immigrants.

Business has been paying attention to this emerging market. British financial intermediaries - such asrepparttar 132525 West Bromwich Building Society - have recently introduced "Islamic" (interest-free) mortgages. According to market research firm, Datamonitor, gross advances inrepparttar 132526 UK alone could reach $7 billion in 2006 - up from $60 million today. The Bank of England is inrepparttar 132527 throes of preparing regulations to accommodaterepparttar 132528 pent-up demand.

Yet, their very integration, however hesitant and gradual, rendersrepparttar 132529 Muslims in Europe vulnerable torepparttar 132530 kind of treatmentrepparttar 132531 old continent meted out to its Jews beforerepparttar 132532 holocaust. Growing Muslim presence in stagnating job markets within recessionary economies inevitably generated a backlash, often cloaked in terms of Samuel Huntington's 1993 essay in Foreign Affairs, "Clash of Civilizations".

Even tolerant Italy was affected. Last year,repparttar 132533 Bologna archbishop, Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, cast Islam as incompatible with Italian culture. The country's prime minister suggested, in a visit to Berlin two years ago, that Islam is an inherently inferior civilization.

Oriana Fallaci, a prominent journalist, published last year an inane and foul-mouthed diatribe titled "The Rage andrepparttar 132534 Pride" in which she accused Muslims of "breeding like rats", "shitting and pissing" (sic!) everywhere and supporting Osama bin-Laden indiscriminately.

Young Muslims reacted - by further radicalizing and by refusing to assimilate - to both escalating anti-Islamic rhetoric in Europe andrepparttar 132535 "triumphs" of Islam elsewhere, such asrepparttar 132536 revolution in Iran in 1979. Tutored by preachers trained inrepparttar 132537 most militant Islamist climates in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Iran, praying in mosques financed by shady Islamic charities - these youngsters are amenable to recruiters from every fanatical grouping.

The United Kingdom suffered some ofrepparttar 132538 worst race riots in half a century inrepparttar 132539 past two years. France is terrorized by an unprecedented crime wave emanating fromrepparttar 132540 banlieux -repparttar 132541 decrepit, predominantly Muslim, housing estates in suburbia. September 11 only acceleratedrepparttar 132542 inevitable conflict between an alienated minority and hostile authorities throughoutrepparttar 132543 continent. Recent changes in European - notably British - legislation openly profile and target Muslims.

This is a remarkable turnaround. Europe supportedrepparttar 132544 Muslim Bosnian cause againstrepparttar 132545 Serbs, Islamic Chechnya against Russia,repparttar 132546 Palestinians againstrepparttar 132547 Israelis and Muslim Albanian insurgents against both Serbs and Macedonians. Nor was this consistent pro-Islamic orientation a novelty.

Britain's Commission for Racial Equality which caters mainly torepparttar 132548 needs of Muslims, was formed 37 years ago. Its Foreign Office has never wavered from its pro-Arab bias. Germany established a Central Council for Muslims. Both anti-Americanism andrepparttar 132549 more veteran anti-Israeli streak helped sustain Europe's empathy with Muslim refugees and "freedom fighters" throughoutrepparttar 132550 1960s, 70s and 80s.

September 11 put paid to this amity. The danger is thatrepparttar 132551 brand of "Euro-Islam" that has begun to emerge lately may be decimated by this pervasive and sudden mistrust. Time Magazine described this blend as "the traditional Koran-based religion with its prohibitions against alcohol and interest-bearing loans now indelibly marked byrepparttar 132552 'Western' values of tolerance, democracy and civil liberties."

Such "enlightened" Muslims can serve as an invaluable bridge between Europe and Russia,repparttar 132553 Middle East, Asia, including China and other places with massive Muslim majorities or minorities. As most world conflicts today involve Islamist militants, global peace and a functioning "new order" critically depend onrepparttar 132554 goodwill and communication skills of Muslims.

Such a benign amalgam isrepparttar 132555 only realistic hope for reconciliation. Europe is ageing and stagnating and can be reinvigorated only by embracing youthful, dynamic, driven immigrants, most of whom are bound to be Muslim. Co-existence is possible andrepparttar 132556 clash of civilization not an inevitability unless Huntington's dystopic vision becomesrepparttar 132557 basic policy document ofrepparttar 132558 West.

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Visit Sam's Web site at

The Self-Appointed Altruists - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Many NGO's promote economic causes - anti-globalization,repparttar banning of child labor,repparttar 132508 relaxing of intellectual property rights, or fair payment for agricultural products. Many of these causes are both worthy and sound. Alas, most NGO's lack economic expertise and inflict damage onrepparttar 132509 alleged recipients of their beneficence. NGO's are at times manipulated by - or collude with - industrial groups and political parties.

It is telling thatrepparttar 132510 denizens of many developing countries suspectrepparttar 132511 West and its NGO's of promoting an agenda of trade protectionism. Stringent - and expensive - labor and environmental provisions in international treaties may well be a ploy to fend off imports based on cheap labor andrepparttar 132512 competition they wreak on well-ensconced domestic industries and their political stooges.

Take child labor - as distinct fromrepparttar 132513 universally condemnable phenomena of child prostitution, child soldiering, or child slavery.

Child labor, in many destitute locales, is all that separatesrepparttar 132514 family from all-pervasive, life threatening, poverty. As national income grows, child labor declines. Followingrepparttar 132515 outcry provoked, in 1995, by NGO's against soccer balls stitched by children in Pakistan, both Nike and Reebok relocated their workshops and sacked countless women and 7000 children. The average family income - anyhow meager - fell by 20 percent.

This affair elicitedrepparttar 132516 following wry commentary from economists Drusilla Brown, Alan Deardorif, and Robert Stern:

"While Baden Sports can quite credibly claim that their soccer balls are not sewn by children,repparttar 132517 relocation of their production facility undoubtedly did nothing for their former child workers and their families."

This is far from being a unique case. Threatened with legal reprisals and "reputation risks" (being named-and-shamed by overzealous NGO's) - multinationals engage in preemptive sacking. More than 50,000 children in Bangladesh were let go in 1993 by German garment factories in anticipation ofrepparttar 132518 American never-legislated Child Labor Deterrence Act.

Former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich, observed:

"Stopping child labor without doing anything else could leave children worse off. If they are working out of necessity, as most are, stopping them could force them into prostitution or other employment with greater personal dangers. The most important thing is that they be in school and receiverepparttar 132519 education to help them leave poverty."

NGO-fostered hype notwithstanding, 70% of all children work within their family unit, in agriculture. Less than 1 percent are employed in mining and another 2 percent in construction. Again contrary to NGO-proffered panaceas, education is not a solution. Millions graduate every year in developing countries - 100,000 in Morocco alone. But unemployment reaches more than one third ofrepparttar 132520 workforce in places such as Macedonia.

Children at work may be harshly treated by their supervisors but at least they are kept offrepparttar 132521 far more menacing streets. Some kids even end up with a skill and are rendered employable.

"The Economist" sums uprepparttar 132522 shortsightedness, inaptitude, ignorance, and self-centeredness of NGO's neatly:

"Suppose that inrepparttar 132523 remorseless search for profit, multinationals pay sweatshop wages to their workers in developing countries. Regulation forcing them to pay higher wages is demanded... The NGOs,repparttar 132524 reformed multinationals and enlightened rich-country governments propose tough rules on third-world factory wages, backed up by trade barriers to keep out imports from countries that do not comply. Shoppers inrepparttar 132525 West pay more - but willingly, because they know it is in a good cause. The NGOs declare another victory. The companies, having shafted their third-world competition and protected their domestic markets, count their bigger profits (higher wage costs notwithstanding). Andrepparttar 132526 third-world workers displaced from locally owned factories explain to their children whyrepparttar 132527 West's new deal forrepparttar 132528 victims of capitalism requires them to starve."

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Visit Sam's Web site at

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