Uncovering the Roots of Islamic Radicalization; Multiculturalism Fosters Growth of Isolated Communities

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Byline: Bob Holland and Don Soifer, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Europe's leaders seemingly have awakened from a long slumber to discover that state-sponsored multiculturalism threatens the fabric of their societies. Their somber conclusions should cause reflection by Americans about the potential threats to national identity here and how educational institutions could play a constructive role in preserving our shared values.

Many well-meaning people still think that multiculturalism is synonymous with pluralism, or a healthy respect for diverse cultures and languages. Unfortunately, multiculturalism is too often used as a derisive ideology seeking to replace Western values and institutions and to transform society on terms dictated by immigrant cultures and belief systems. Much of liberal academe encourages or even actively promotes that brand of multiculturalism.

Islamic extremists have made abundantly clear how destructive separatism can be in inciting clashes of civilizations, as hearings in the House Homeland Security Committee will seek to document, beginning Thursday.

Of course, it is wrong to ascribe hateful motives to most Muslims, who are themselves diverse in their nationalities and interpretations of Islamic law. But it could be dangerous to Western society to ignore the threat posed by radical strains of multiculturalism. In declaring recently that multiculturalism has failed, British Prime Minister David Cameron took a perfectly reasonable first step toward defunding separatist groups that are avowed enemies of the state.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy sounded even more dire tones than Mr. Cameron, asserting that immigrants must embrace a national community: We have been too concerned about the identity of the person who was arriving and not enough about the identity of the country that was receiving him, he argued.

Demographics offer a partial explanation for differing levels of alarm. France has far and away the highest concentrations of Muslims in Europe - as much as 10 percent of the population. Islam is now the second-largest religion in that country.

Though it has been the target of homegrown terrorism, Britain has proportionately one of Europe's smallest Muslim populations - less than 3 percent. As for the United States, Nevada is the only state where Muslims constitute as much as 2 percent of the population. However, Boston College professor Peter Skerry has noted, In specific metropolitan areas such as Detroit, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, Muslims represent a large and visible minority. …