Europe's breeding ground for terrorism

Dan Hannan:
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Few Bruxellois are surprised that Molenbeek is the epicenter of the Paris plot. It's not a uniquely poor district, at least not by comparison with the tower-blocked banlieus — the suburbs that ring some French cities. Molenbeek is run-down, jobless and listless rather than seething. Its local council has a reputation for uselessness. The commune has been under the control of the Left for as long as anyone can remember, and councilmen rely lazily on Muslim votes. But it would be idiotic to argue that growing up in a down-at-heel, dull, vaguely corrupt borough somehow puts young men on the path to mass murder.

Alienation is a common enough phenomenon among second-generation immigrants, pulled between their countries of birth and the sunlit lands of their grandparents' stories. Sometimes, the sense of dislocation becomes a clinical condition: Schizophrenia is eight times more common among second-generation Dutch immigrants than in the general population.

Still, a sense of mild dislocation doesn't normally push people into political violence. Something else is happening.

I think it has to do with the way that patriotism has been derided and traduced by Europe's intellectual elites. If you want newcomers to assimilate into your society, you have to give them something into which to assimilate. You have to project a sense of pride, of common purpose, of self-belief.

This is perhaps especially difficult in Belgium. There is no Belgian language, no Belgian culture, precious little Belgian history. The country is divided between French and Dutch-speakers and subsists, as the saying goes, only in its monarchy and its football team.
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There is more.

Liberalism's rejection of patriotism seems to be at the heart of the problem.  But it is also the fantasy world created at the mosques about lost wonders of Islam that never were.

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