Reporters on the Job

No Stars and Stripes: The American flag was ubiquitous in Normandy this weekend as the 60th anniversary of D-Day was commemorated (see story). It is not often that one sees the Stars and Stripes flying in Europe, says staff writer Peter Ford, and with America's international standing at its lowest ebb for decades here, that is not surprising.

Still, Peter was taken aback a few weeks ago by an incident at his sons' French school in Paris, where they attend the English language stream. At the school fete, parents usually decorate the stand in the English section (selling hot dogs and cucumber sandwiches and so on) with their national flags. This year there was a British Union Jack, an Irish flag, and several others, but no Stars and Stripes. The American contingent, one of them said, felt that "the US flag just would not have gone down very well if we were trying to attract custom."

Muslim Integration: Reporter Jennifer Ehrlich says that today's story about Muslim women (see story) is the fruit of 3-1/2 years of work in Belgium. Not that she's focused on this particular story the whole time, but immigration has been a topic she's consistently covered. For example, the woman in the lead is someone that Jennifer heard speak at a conference 1 1/2 years ago. She introduced herself and tucked the woman's phone number away for future reference.

The thesis, too, is one Jennifer has been gathering information about for years. "There's a pretty widely held assumption that Muslim women are getting ahead faster than Muslim men here. But there are no good statistics because minorities are encouraged to become citizens. So those most likely to move ahead are going to become citizens, and are difficult then to track. But I've done enough research in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands to get a good picture of the pattern."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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