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The Myth of the Muslim Tide: Do Immigrants Threaten the West? Hardcover – Aug 21 2012
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A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Politics Book [Fall 2012]
“Doug Saunders may be on his way to becoming the most important journalist in the Canadian mainstream media.... In a cool-headed manner, Saunders dismantles...claims one at a time with a relentless onslaught of facts.... The Myth of the Muslim Tide is a welcome antidote [to Islamophobia] and for that reason alone, it deserves wide readership.”
—The Georgia Straight
“Elegantly written and important.”
“Convincing…. The Myth of the Muslim Tide should be welcomed in necessary public debates.”
—The Globe and Mail
“Nuanced, informative…. Saunders’ approach is refreshingly levelheaded and fact-based…. An invaluable contribution to the contemporary debate over Muslim immigration and integration into Western communities.”
“Cogent and timely.”
About the Author
Doug Saunders is the former European Bureau Chief of the Globe and Mail and the author of Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World, which won the Donner Prize, and which the Guardian said "may be the best popular book on cities since Jane Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities half a century ago." He has won four National Newspaper Awards. Saunders lives in Toronto.
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Top Customer Reviews
What I found most original and interesting about this book was how it places the current islamophobia in historical context. Saunders demonstrates nicely how prejudice against an influx of potentially dangerous “others” has recurred throughout modern Western history, only to be ultimately washed away by the peaceful forces of integration into a prosperous society. The ironic sense of “tide” in the title thus becomes apparent only when you finish reading the book, or at least the middle of its three sections.
The final section, “What we should worry about”, offers politically correct suggestions about how better education and job opportunities would help prevent extremist violence. Those measures would improve life for all of us. What is only tangentially addressed here, and I was hoping would be further explored, is how a tiny minority of second-generation immigrants are indoctrinated and enabled to act out violently against the West. As Saunders points out, these extremists tend to be well educated and integrated into western society. It seems to me that this is something we should worry about. Maybe another book can address that, which is why I withhold one star in rating this one.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Reading this book had me better educated not only about the myths of the current immigration tide of Muslims but also on the history of Catholic and Jewish immigration to US and Western Europe. Comparing and correlating that background with the analysis of the current statistical data, the author very ably and logically concludes that the fears of the Muslim tide are over blown. The chapter "We have been here before" draws an excellent comparison of similarities between the fears and myths of earlier migrations and that of the current one of Muslims.
Let me make an honest admission here. I am a Muslim immigrant myself and had almost started to believe somewhat in the fears expressed by those who said that Muslims were working on an agenda - that of having the entire host society succumb to the Sharia law - and it's only after reading this book I realized that such reservations were no more than hallucination.
I would recommend this book to all who have reservations about the growing Muslim population and culture among their midst and would go beyond: I would seriously suggest that a condensed version of this book be made part of the curriculum for grade 9 to 10 students so that they can enter their adult life equipped with facts rather than fallacies.
One example is the fact that Mohammed is the most popular name given to sons in Britain. Saunders does a good job of explaining that over 50% of Muslims give their son this name. Also, this fact includes counting around 11 or 13 different variations of the name Mohammed.
What I found most original and interesting about this book was how it places the current islamophobia in historical context. Saunders demonstrates nicely how prejudice against an influx of potentially dangerous "others" has recurred throughout modern Western history, only to be ultimately washed away by the peaceful forces of integration into a prosperous society. The ironic sense of "tide" in the title thus becomes apparent only when you finish reading the book, or at least the middle of its three sections.
The final section, "What we should worry about", offers politically correct suggestions about how better education and job opportunities would help prevent extremist violence. Those measures would improve life for all of us. What is only tangentially addressed here, and I was hoping would be further explored, is how a tiny minority of second-generation immigrants are indoctrinated and enabled to act out violently against the West. As Saunders points out, these extremists tend to be well educated and integrated into western society. It seems to me that this is something we should worry about. Maybe another book can address that, which is why I withhold one star in rating this one.
I'll confess to being a frequent reader of Robert Spencer, Ray Ibrahim, Daniel Pipes and other writers who are critical of Islam. For myself, I thought that this was an important to read to get some balance and perspective on Islamic immigration. I'm very glad I did! This book provides an important demographic and historical background on not just the immigration of Muslims, but the immigration of other groups over the years, and the difficulties of absorbing other groups of immigrants in the past. The balance this book provides for my personal views is indispensable.
Mr. Saunders starts with his own misgivings with his new Muslim neighbors and examines the demographic and historical data that provides the evidence that:
1. We have been here before with other immigrant groups. Irish Catholics in Britain. Jews and Italians in America. Given time, usually within two generations, the immigrants adopt the societal norms of the (for lack of a better term) host country and participate in the economic, community, and political opportunities that the citizens do, at about the same rate as the native born citizens.
2. The truth about Muslim communities is found not in scripture but in action. The Muslims I know and consider friends are not violent. Like me, they're trying to make a living, provide for their families, and give their children the religious training that will serve them well in this life and eternity.
3. While there may be legitimate fears and concerns about Muslim immigration to the West, me must not "let that fear overtake our social harmony, we ought to stop and pay close attention to the well-documented facts about this latest wave of immigration." The author points out that, "we know from tragic historical precedent that a few dark suspicions about a new group of neighbors, combined with a collection of false and misleading facts, can do enormous, irreversible damage to a society."
Overall, the author doesn't gloss over and whitewash the problems within the Muslim community. But he doesn't dwell on them either. If you are looking for negatives, Saunders's book is pretty much all positive. His purpose is to demonstrate that this cycle of immigration, even the immigration of Muslims, is not unusual to any of the Western countries. Since birthrates of immigrants drops once the immigrants settle in and begin to truly assimilate into their adopted countries, the immigrant subpopulations can never really become much more than 10% of the population anyway. Moreover he demonstrates that the immigrant Muslim populations of Great Britain and France have a higher belief in the adopted countries and their ideals than the native born citizens.
Since the book was written in 2012, recent events may open some points for dispute. There are also more than enough "what about…?" questions that can be debated. Also, I'm no expert in population demographics, but I've had enough statistics to say that in my opinion the statistics and demographic data and conclusions are sound. I recommend this book as an important book that people on both sides of the "Muslim tide" argument to not just read, but ponder.