Monday, November 09, 2009

Despite the Fort Hood massacre, America is still safer than Britain

I may have been a little naive, but I never thought that something like the Fort Hood massacre would happen in America. Nevertheless, I stand by what I wrote after the 7/7 bombings, American Muslims are better integrated than their European counterparts:
  • Unlike Britain, America expects its immigrants to integrate as a condition of citizenship. I doubt that America would give sanctuary to members of the Taliban, or to Osama Bin Laden's spiritual ambassador.
  • America doesn't have Britain's self-loathing establishment, it's still a country that for the most part believes in itself and its values.
  • America has a much smaller welfare state. New immigrants are expected to stand on their own two feet and look after themselves, not to rely on the state. A far higher proportion of American muslims have made it to the middle classes compared to their European counterparts. Few languish in urban ghettoes like Rotterdam or Clichy-sous-Bois. Besides, the debate over immigration in the US is about illegal Immigrants from Mexico, not Muslims.
  • Contrary to the Guardian's alarmist headlines, I'm willing to bet money that there will be no backlash against Muslims. Despite the UK liberal establishment's view of Americans being a bunch of homophobic racist rednecks they are actually a pretty tolerant lot. I would feel a lot safer being an American muslim than a British muslim.
However, I would end with note of caution. Before 9/11, Americans were too naive to believe that foreign terrorists would attack their country. Maybe they have also been a little too naive about home grown terrorism. American muslims may be better integrated, but clearly not all of them have signed up to the American dream.