Muslims - Europe's New Jews

Written by Sam Vaknin

They inhabit self-imposed ghettoes, subject to derision and worse,repparttar perennial targets of far-right thugs and populist politicians of all persuasions. They are mostly confined to menial jobs. They are accused of spreading crime, terrorism and disease, of being backward and violent, of refusing to fit in.

Their religion, atavistic and rigid, insists on ritual slaughter and male circumcision. They rarely mingle socially or inter-marry. Most of them - though born in European countries - are not allowed to vote. Brown-skinned and with a marked foreign accent, they are subject to police profiling and harassment and all manner of racial discrimination.

They arerepparttar 132510 new Jews of Europe - its Muslim minorities.

Muslims - especially Arab youths from North Africa - are, indeed, disproportionately represented in crime, including hate crime, mainly againstrepparttar 132511 Jews. Exclusively Muslim al-Qaida cells have been discovered in many West European countries. But this can be safely attributed to ubiquitous and trenchant long-term unemployment and to stunted upward mobility, both social and economic due largely to latent or expressed racism.

Moreover,repparttar 132512 stereotype is wrong. The incidence of higher education and skills is greater among Muslim immigrants than inrepparttar 132513 general population - a phenomenon known as "brain drain". Europe attractsrepparttar 132514 best andrepparttar 132515 brightest - students, scholars, scientists, engineers and intellectuals - away from their destitute, politically dysfunctional and backward homelands.

The Economist surveysrepparttar 132516 landscape of friction and withdrawal:

"Indifference to Islam has turned first to disdain, then to suspicion and more recently to hostility ... (due to images of) petro-powered sheikhs, Palestinian terrorists, Iranian ayatollahs, mass immigration and thenrepparttar 132517 attacks of September 11th, executed if not planned by western-based Muslims and succored by an odious regime in Afghanistan ... Muslims tend to come from poor, rural areas; most are ill-educated, many are brown. They often encounter xenophobia and discrimination, sometimes made worse by racist politicians. They speakrepparttar 132518 language ofrepparttar 132519 wider society either poorly or not at all, so they find it hard to get jobs. Their children struggle at school. They huddle in poor districts, often in state-supplied housing ... They tend to withdraw into their own world, (forming a) self-sufficient, self-contained community."

This self-imposed segregation has multiple dimensions. Clannish behavior persists for decades. Marriages are still arranged - reluctant brides and grooms are imported fromrepparttar 132520 motherland to wed immigrants fromrepparttar 132521 same region or village. The "parallel society", inrepparttar 132522 words of a British government report followingrepparttar 132523 Oldham riots two years ago, extends to cultural habits, religious practices and social norms.

Assimilation and integration has many enemies.

Remittances from abroad are an important part ofrepparttar 132524 gross national product and budgetary revenues of countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan. Hence their frantic efforts to maintainrepparttar 132525 cohesive national and cultural identity ofrepparttar 132526 expats. DITIB is an arm ofrepparttar 132527 Turkish government's office for religious affairs. It discouragesrepparttar 132528 assimilation or social integration of Turks in Germany. Turkish businesses - newspapers, satellite TV, foods, clothing, travel agents, publishers - thrive on ghettoization.

There is a tacit confluence of interests between national governments, exporters and Islamic organizations. All three want Turks in Germany to remain as Turkish as possible. The more nostalgic and homeboundrepparttar 132529 expatriate -repparttar 132530 larger and more frequent his remittances,repparttar 132531 higher his consumption of Turkish goods and services andrepparttar 132532 more prone he is to resort to religion as a determinant of his besieged and fracturing identity.

Muslim numbers are not negligible. Two European countries have Muslim majorities - Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania. Others - in both Old Europe and its post-communist east - harbor sizable and growing Islamic minorities. Waves of immigration and birth rates three times as high asrepparttar 132533 indigenous population increase their share ofrepparttar 132534 population in virtually every European polity - from Russia to Macedonia and from Bulgaria to Britain. One in seven Russians is Muslim - over 20 million people.

According torepparttar 132535 March-April issue of Foreign Policy,repparttar 132536 non-Muslim part of Europe will shrink by 3.5 percent by 2015 whilerepparttar 132537 Muslim populace will likely double. There are 3 million Turks in Germany and another 12 million Muslims - Algerians, Moroccans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Egyptians, Senegalese, Malis, or Tunisians - inrepparttar 132538 rest ofrepparttar 132539 European Union.

This is two and one half timesrepparttar 132540 number of Muslims inrepparttar 132541 United States. Even assuming - wrongly - that all of them occupyrepparttar 132542 lowest decile of income, their combined annual purchasing power would amount to a whopping $150 billion. Furthermore, recent retroactive changes to German law have naturalized over a million immigrants and automatically granted its much-coveted citizenship torepparttar 132543 160,000 Muslims born in Germany every year.

Between 2-3 million Muslims in France - half their number - are eligible to vote. Another million - one out of two - cast ballots in Britain. These numbers count atrepparttar 132544 polls and are not offset byrepparttar 132545 concerted efforts of a potent Jewish lobby - there are barely a million Jews in Western Europe.

Muslims are becoming a well-courted swing vote. They may have decidedrepparttar 132546 last election in Germany, for instance. Recognizing their growing centrality, France established - though not without vote-rigging - a French Council ofrepparttar 132547 Islamic Faith,repparttar 132548 equivalent of Napoleon's Jewish Consistory. Two French cabinet members are Muslims. Britain has a Muslim Council.

The Self-Appointed Altruists - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

Their arrival portends rising local prices and a culture shock. Many of them live in plush apartments, or five star hotels, drive SUV's, sport $3000 laptops and PDA's. They earn a two figure multiple ofrepparttar local average wage. They are busybodies, preachers, critics, do-gooders, and professional altruists.

Always self-appointed, they answer to no constituency. Though unelected and ignorant of local realities, they confrontrepparttar 132508 democratically chosen and those who voted them into office. A few of them are enmeshed in crime and corruption. They arerepparttar 132509 non-governmental organizations, or NGO's.

Some NGO's - like Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Amnesty - genuinely contribute to enhancing welfare, torepparttar 132510 mitigation of hunger,repparttar 132511 furtherance of human and civil rights, orrepparttar 132512 curbing of disease. Others - usually inrepparttar 132513 guise of think tanks and lobby groups - are sometimes ideologically biased, or religiously-committed and, often, atrepparttar 132514 service of special interests.

NGO's - such asrepparttar 132515 International Crisis Group - have openly interfered on behalf ofrepparttar 132516 opposition inrepparttar 132517 recent elections in Macedonia. Other NGO's have done so in Belarus and Ukraine, Zimbabwe and Israel, Nigeria and Thailand, Slovakia and Hungary - and even in Western, rich, countries includingrepparttar 132518 USA, Canada, Germany, and Belgium.

The encroachment on state sovereignty of international law - enshrined in numerous treaties and conventions - allows NGO's to get involved in hitherto strictly domestic affairs like corruption, civil rights,repparttar 132519 composition ofrepparttar 132520 media,repparttar 132521 penal and civil codes, environmental policies, orrepparttar 132522 allocation of economic resources and of natural endowments, such as land and water. No field of government activity is now exempt fromrepparttar 132523 glare of NGO's. They serve as self-appointed witnesses, judges, jury and executioner rolled into one.

Regardless of their persuasion or modus operandi, all NGO's are top heavy with entrenched, well-remunerated, extravagantly-perked bureaucracies. Opacity is typical of NGO's. Amnesty's rules prevent its officials from publicly discussingrepparttar 132524 inner workings ofrepparttar 132525 organization - proposals, debates, opinions - until they have become officially voted into its Mandate. Thus, dissenting views rarely get an open hearing.

Contrary to their teachings,repparttar 132526 financing of NGO's is invariably obscure and their sponsors unknown. The bulk ofrepparttar 132527 income of most non-governmental organizations, evenrepparttar 132528 largest ones, comes from - usually foreign - powers. Many NGO's serve as official contractors for governments.

NGO's serve as long arms of their sponsoring states - gathering intelligence, burnishing their image, and promoting their interests. There is a revolving door betweenrepparttar 132529 staff of NGO's and government bureaucraciesrepparttar 132530 world over. The British Foreign Office finances a host of NGO's - includingrepparttar 132531 fiercely "independent" Global Witness - in troubled spots, such as Angola. Many host governments accuse NGO's of - unwittingly or knowingly - serving as hotbeds of espionage.

Very few NGO's derive some of their income from public contributions and donations. The more substantial NGO's spend one tenth of their budget on PR and solicitation of charity. In a desperate bid to attract international attention, so many of them lied about their projects inrepparttar 132532 Rwanda crisis in 1994, recounts "The Economist", thatrepparttar 132533 Red Cross felt compelled to draw up a ten point mandatory NGO code of ethics. A code of conduct was adopted in 1995. Butrepparttar 132534 phenomenon recurred in Kosovo.

All NGO's claim to be not for profit - yet, many of them possess sizable equity portfolios and abuse their position to increaserepparttar 132535 market share of firms they own. Conflicts of interest and unethical behavior abound.

Cafedirect is a British firm committed to "fair trade" coffee. Oxfam, an NGO, embarked on a campaign targeted at Cafedirect's competitors, accusing them of exploiting growers by paying them a tiny fraction ofrepparttar 132536 retail price ofrepparttar 132537 coffee they sell. Yet, Oxfam owns 25% of Cafedirect.

Large NGO's resemble multinational corporations in structure and operation. They are hierarchical, maintain large media, government lobbying, and PR departments, head-hunt, invest proceeds in professionally-managed portfolios, compete in government tenders, and own a variety of unrelated businesses. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development ownsrepparttar 132538 license for second mobile phone operator in Afghanistan - among other businesses. In this respect, NGO's are more like cults than like civic organizations.

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