First David Cameron is echoing Angela Merkel in saying that we don't want a society within the society. We don't want alien values although cultural pluralism is OK. Now also Nicholas Sarkozy has joined the fray today in The Financial Times and denounced multiculuralism.
Marine Le Pen, the new leader of the French anti-immigrant party FN, lauded Cameron for his new stance. I guess Sarkozy wanted a little of this attention in France as well to boost his chances in the upcoming presidential election. The question is if Fredrik Reinfeldt will be tempted to follow Sarkozy's lead in order to steal votes from the Sweden Democrats. The question is if this path is not the best to stop the appearance of anti-immigrant parties when immigration is necessary for a future prosperous Europe.
Reinfeldt has spoken about the guarding the open society of Sweden, as recent as his Christmas speech after the Stockholm suicide bombing, and it is of course important to know if a free Islam, even political Islam, is something condoned by an open society. In this case Germany, Britain, and France now are less open.
Timur Kuran concludes, in his book The Long Divergence from 2011, that even if Islam historically has had deleterious effects on the development of the economy in the Middle East there should not be any problems today. Still, he claims, there are problems with corruption and with the efficiency of the economy there. If this is something that Europe might import with immigration, this could be a problem.
While remembering that approximately 300 people have died in Egypt already, we can ponder the prospects of change there if the people get what they want, eventually. Dr. Kuran does not think change in the economy of the Middle East will come in a "hurry" as he suggested. With the result from Tunisia and Egypt at hand, I must admit I'm still a little pessimistic on the prospects of significant change during the upcoming year, although it will eventually happen.
The feeling I'm getting from reading The Long Divergence is that the Middle East is fundamentally different and that the final goal of its society might not be the same as for the West. It was interesting to note that Westerners had been admitted in the Middle East with their own legal systems in the past to do business but that this was not as abundant as the ghettoisation that occurs in Western European cities where Muslims now number up to 20%.