Copenhagen attacks renew integration (of Muslim immigrants) debate

A group of young men pray at the spot where Omar El-Hussein was killed by police. Photo: Jens Astrup/Scanpix

Problems with immigration and integration – topics that have dominated the political debate in Denmark for over a decade – have become more urgent in the wake of the twin killings that have shocked the nation.

A drab collection of four-storey buildings in a rough area of Copenhagen has become a potent symbol of Denmark’s struggles with integrating Muslims in the wake of last week’s attacks.

The Mjølnerparken neighbourhood was the home of 22-year-old Omar El-Hussein, the Danish-born man of Palestinian origin who is believed to have carried out the attacks that killed two people.

It is also where 86 percent of residents have an immigrant background and 46 percent have no job — in a country where unemployment is among the lowest in the European Union…

They are forming an underclass which will be impossible to integrate. Symptoms: high crime rate, attachment to violent creeps like Omar El-Hussein (he is their “buddy” in a loose tribal sense), low employment rates (helped along by the welfare state) and hatred of native Danes.  

I cannot say how much of this is directly connected to Islam per se.  Such underclasses exist elsewhere and they are not necessarily Muslim.  Still, if an underclass forms and it is Islamic, Islam powerfully reinforces it. 

I would be curious to know how Middle Eastern Christian communities have fared. I have no first-hand experience. I believe that many moved to the USA and Australia.

Even that would not answer the question completely: it appears that when Islam swept through the Middle East, higher status and wealthier people were less likely to convert. Thus two populations might have been different for centuries.

It is clearly a complex situation, involving ethnicity, religion and class. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. But I can see what it is happening in Europe now. It has often been remarked that English Hindu and Sikhs are not forming an underclass  because they were high status immigrants to start with.

And don’t tell me it is “racism.” Take a look at the differing rates of crime by ethnicity. The translated article is here.