Since the recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium’s large concentration of jihadists and poorly integrated Muslim population have attracted global attention. Why, asks Jeff Jacoby, are such problems typical in Western Europe but not in the U.S.?
The United States has been far more successful at assimilating and integrating Muslim immigrants into American society and culture than has Western Europe. There are no Muslim ghettos here like those in Molenbeek [the Brussels neighborhood that produced most of the perpetrators of last week’s attacks] or the Paris suburbs, where authorities turn a blind eye to antisocial behavior and aggressive incitement by radicals preaching jihad. . . .
Muslims in the United States, like other cultural and religious minorities, have had no problem acclimating to mainstream norms. . . . For despite the rise of identity politics and the balkanizing pressures of multicultural correctness, America’s melting pot still works. Generations of Muslim immigrants have come to America to escape repression, poverty, or war in their homelands. The life they have made for themselves here has been freer, safer, more prosperous, and more embracing than the existence they left behind.
There are tensions, but not enough to keep most Muslims from fitting themselves comfortably into the American mosaic. . . . “Muslims in the United States,” [one study] found, “reject extremism by much larger margins than most Muslim publics” around the world. Americanization—E Pluribus Unum—is not only a key ingredient in the American dream. It also keeps us safe.