Instead, denial is their standard metric: That bomb didn’t go off here, our national soccer team is full of Muslim players, and we haven’t elected any anti-immigrant parties to Parliament, or if we have, they’re ultimately manageable. The less we talk about this stuff the better.
Then something happens. A conflict comes into focus that, beyond its particulars, raises the question of the ultimate compatibility of Islamic communities in Western environments. An issue that, most comfortably, is kept vague, suddenly demands that Europe — in this case, the Netherlands — draw the line. But where is the line? (…)
This dark vision has particular impact here because of Mr. Bolkestein’s reputation among many of the Dutch as kind of seer concerning Muslim immigration. When he suggested in a speech in 1991 that integration had to mean compromises from newcomers concerning their old identities, he was denounced as a bigot.
In the intervening 20 years, large parts of the Dutch political spectrum, and much of Europe’s, have evolved toward a position (closer to his)…