One minor grouping on my bookshelves consists of laments for the Islamisation of Europe. Such titles include Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept, Walter Laqueur’s The Last Days of Europe and, most provocatively, Bat Ye’or’s Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis. The latest addition to this genre comes from Christopher Caldwell, a Washington DC-based FT columnist who ‘travels regularly across Europe’, although evidently not much to its central or eastern parts, or its countryside, where there are hardly any immigrants at all. His book also has an abstract feel, as if he has never spoken to a first-, second- or third-generation European Muslim or to the aggrieved ‘natives’ who he senses are growing increasingly restive about immigration. Still, Caldwell writes well and is not afraid to face the fact that Europe may have created a problem from which there is no discernible exit, a truth politicians of all stripes are unwilling to share with us, the noble Frank Field excepted.
The book begins with the startling proposition that ‘Western Europe became a multiethnic society in a fit of absence of mind … Europe became a destination for immigration as a result of consensus among its political and commercial elites.’ They held a number of facile assumptions, and none