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» Student Handout: "Race and Immigration in Europe"

Originally from The Economist Online, this article is reprinted in Gene Expression, an online blog of current events. The article, beginning with "Multicultural troubles, March 25, 2004," is found by scrolling down below the commentary.

Published in Britain, The Economist magazine features a European perspective on news, analysis, and reporting on business, politics, science and technology. [URL: http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/002019.html]

Directions: Find the article online and answer the Reading Questions below. Meet in your group to review the Reading Questions to make sure everyone in the group understands the article. Then in your group, answer the Discussion Questions as a guide for preparing your presentation to the class.

Reading Questions:

  1. The author of the article points out that anxiety toward growing Muslim immigration has increased since September 11, 2001 and that anti-immigration policies in Europe have gone mainstream. Identify examples of some European governments' policies proposed or put into place to force Muslim assimilation into European culture.

  2. What evidence does the author present that such policy proposals might be legitimate in regards to terrorists living among the European Muslim population?

  3. What conclusions does the author draw from other facts regarding the reasons most Muslims come to Europe that are not related to terrorism?

  4. Though the overall Muslim population in Europe is small (estimated at a little over 3 percent), identify where the concern rises over the increasing Muslim population and why this concern exists.

  5. What evidence does the author present that rejects the view that the increasing Muslim population is a threat to European security and thus, forced assimilation is unnecessary?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Review the examples of European government policies to force Muslim assimilation. Why do you think these governments believe these methods will be effective in preserving security? What possible violations of European civil rights protections might these policies create? Information on the rights enumerated in the European Constitution can be found at [URL: http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/JOHtml.do?uri=OJ:C:2004:310:SOM:EN:HTML Click on "Part II: The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Union".]

  2. What historical parallels can you draw from current European policies directed toward Muslims' assimilation? What differences do you see in these comparisons?

  3. In light of the attacks of September 11 and March 11, the growing evidence of active terrorist activity in Europe, and the growing Muslim rejection of European customs and ideas, do you agree or disagree with the author's conclusion that Muslim immigration is of greater benefit than threat to Europe? Explain your reasons.

In your group, develop a presentation that provides an overview of the content of the article from the reading questions and the conclusions your group developed from the discussion questions.

In the class "summit meeting" have different members of your group present the different parts of the presentation:

  1. A summary of the reading — provide the title of the article, name of the author(s), name and perspective of the publisher and date. Summarize the content of the article by reviewing the Reading Questions.

  2. Point out important aspects of the article that you discovered in the Discussion Questions.

  3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the proposals or recommendations made in the article.

  4. Present your proposals, as close as possible to the point of view of the author, on what you think should be done to address the problems presented in the article.

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