I had a great time doing this morning’s podcast with John Chappell of Inside Europe: Iberian Notes and Jose Miguel Guardia of Pajamas Media and Barcepundit. As promised, we talked about the March 11 terrorist trials, and illegal immigration into the EU.
The trial of 29 people accused of planning, supporting, and carrying out the March 11, 2004 explosions in the Madrid trains started eleven days ago on February 15. Missing from the trial are the four suspects who blew themselves up in a Madrid apartment during a police raid
Among the dead is the alleged ringleader of the Madrid bombings, Sarhane ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, a Tunisian named in the international arrest warrants, the authorities say.
Brett Stephens explains the rules under which the suspects are investigated when in a Napoleonic code judiciary, as Spain has.
The BBC has an article discussing some of the issues surrounding the trial. The International Herald Tribune takes A brief look at the 29 suspects in Spain’s March 11 Trial.
During the podcast we also talked about the possible sentences. The way the Spanish laws work, no matter how long a sentence, the culprit serves only a maximum term of forty years.
You can listen to the podcast here:
How are the subjects of terrorism and immigration related?
Europe, however, is also a magnet for immigration: It will attract up to 1 million newcomers this year. But the European experience with immigration is quite different from that of America. Part of the reason is that many immigrants to Europe end up on welfare, while in the United States, almost all immigrants take one or more entry-level jobs and work their way up the economic ladder. Welfare is simply not the American way.
Islamic Conquest of Europe?
Moreover, most immigrants to the United States are fully integrated into American society by the second generation, regardless of their country of origin. By contrast, most immigrants to Europe are Muslims who refuse to assimilate and instead tend to cluster in marginalized ghettos on the outskirts of cities across the continent.
Here, too, the American experience is quite different. The best available estimates show that there are between 1.9 million and 2.8 million Muslims in the United States. And unlike their European counterparts, American Muslims generally do not feel marginalized or isolated from political participation. According to a 2004 Zogby Poll, American Muslims are more educated and affluent than the national average, with 59 percent of them holding at least an undergraduate college degree. Moreover, the majority of American Muslims are employed in professional fields, with one in three having an income over $75,000 a year.
But back to Europe: The Muslim population of Europe has more than doubled since 1980, and according to some estimates, there are some 25 million Muslims living on the continent today. Demographers predict that this figure may double by 2015, and that the number of Muslims could outnumber non-Muslims in all of Western Europe by mid-century. This prompted Princeton University’s Bernard Lewis to tell the German newspaper Die Welt that ‘Europe will be Islamic by the end of the century.’
This reality is already influencing European foreign policymaking and does not auger well for the future of transatlantic relations. Indeed, many analysts believe that the steady weakening of Europe is the underlying cause for the widespread anti-American and anti-Israel bigotry found among Europe’s elites, many of whom are bowing to pressure from Muslim residents as a way to buy a fake peace with radical Islamists. Says Fouad Ajami, a well-known authority of the Arab world: ‘In ways both intended and subliminal, the escape into anti-Americanism is an attempt at false bonding with the peoples of Islam.’
The analysis of personal profiles of more than 300 jihadists arrested in Spain shows that there is a significant proportion that belong to the middle-class, have family, are fluent in Spanish and have even obtained Spanish citizenship. For example, in the Abu Dahdah network, an Al Qaeda cell dismantled at the end of 2001, half of the members would be classified as “socioeconomically integrated.”
Social exclusion, imprisonment or arriving to Spain without family and work are factors that can make an individual even more vulnerable to the recruitment process. Under these circumstances, the jihadist group offers friendship, camaraderie and material support, while inculcating the subject with radical ideas. Nevertheless, the process can occur without any material favors being offered. To explain it in simpler terms, the key ingredient is the “bad company” one keeps. In most cases, jihadist values are spread through confidential ties and friendships.
Follow Barcepundit‘s links for more background on the trial.
Botched investigations, feeble sentences, massive unrestrained illegal immigration into a welfare state, and social isolation of immigrants add up to an explosive mess.
We’ll do a follow-up podcast as the trial develops.