Should Muslim immigrants 'melt' into European culture?

The Monitor's Nov. 26 editorial, "Europe's Muslim Question," suggested that "Europeans play with fire if they think they can Europeanize Islamic culture and many religious practices." I disagree.

We can agree that Europe is experiencing a rise in Islamic extremism, and several measures being taken by some European governments are extreme. Nevertheless, the assimilation strategy of Germany and France, two countries that have large Islamic populations, is the most feasible remedy for escalating religious intolerance. The setting up of European language centers for immigrants will go a long way in bridging the existing cultural gap in Europe.

In retrospect, during the colonization of Africa, the policy of assimilation used by the French was pivotal to the success of France in Africa.
Okwuoma Anakor
Elsah, Ill.

In France, where I live, the nonintegration of Muslims is partly the fault of French authorities, who made inexpensive housing available in the suburbs, thus pushing poor people out of the (more expensive) center of Paris. This has resulted in areas which might be considered immigrant ghettos.

The fault is not only on the French side, however, as immigrants from any particular culture tend to group together to recreate their own environment.

Unfortunately, these ghettos seem fairly oblivious to influence from the country that hosts them.
Nina Contini Melis

There is certainly a greater need for positive integration and better opportunities for Muslims in the labor and housing markets.

Unfortunately, the present laws that are being promoted in European countries to better "integrate" the Muslim communities are actually designed to assimilate them. Assimilation is not helpful and will only violate the minority communities' basic human rights - rights guaranteed by the United Nations and the European Union.

Both the European majority and the Muslim minority should unite in the common effort against all types of extremism - both Islamist and far-right neo-fascist.
Atilla A. Iftikhar
Stavanger, Norway

The Van Gough murder happened in part because of Dutch "tolerance." Immigrant groups do not cease to lead separate lives until they integrate. The problem is that many or most of the Muslim immigrants to Europe did not come with the intention of integrating.

The first EU challenge is that they don't believe in a melting pot at all. America has been enriched by immigration due to our melting pot. Europe, which had immigration without the melting pot (and in fact celebration of the fact that no melting was required), will find that immigration destroys them.

If Europe doesn't Europeanize Islamic culture then either it will expel its Islamic immigrants or be Islamicized.

Here is a prediction: the great cathedrals of Europe will be mosques in 50 years. I don't believe the Europeans believe in their heritage enough to defend it and insist on Europeanizing their Islamic immigrants, but it is wrong not to encourage them to try.
John Hall
Kirkland, Wash.

Regarding the Nov. 24 article "British Muslims push to integrate": I am Filipino by birth, but I do not want to create a Philippines in America.

I believe European Muslims should follow the "majority culture" - that is the rule in civilized society. If they do not want to be integrated, they should go back to their home country.
Maximo P. Fabella
Orange Park, Fla.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Any letter accepted will appear in print and on .

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.