I started to respond to one of the comments in Ralf’s entry, but it got out of hand. Besides, that savage Anglo-Saxon capitalism has me working my flabby butt off and I haven’t been posting.
There is no reason to doubt that the Muslims will successfully integrate, given the chance. The US had its own “unassimilable” religious minority; poor, ignorant, violent, and superstitious; resistant to the civilizing norms of society; an alien culture that could never be compatible with ours. I am speaking, of course, of the Irish Catholics who arrived in great numbers after the famines of the 1840’s. Their gangs and their riots inspired widespread fear. They were suspected, with some reason, of forming a potential fifth column. In reaction, a nativist political party gained power in several states and cities, which is more than Le Pen has been able to do. Among others, there was a Know-Nothing mayor of Chicago, Levi Boone.
Americans have a bad habit of lecturing the rest of the world on the virtues of assimilation. In doing this, we are demonstrating the blessings of pragmatism and a short memory. We learned to assimilate because we had to, and have forgotten that it ever was otherwise. Now it seems perfectly unremarkable, at least as far as past successes are concerned (there are several incomplete projects, of course). My own ancestors got here some 300 years later than the Pilgrim Fathers, but they are my Pilgrim Fathers now, too. Sooner or later, France will have to raise a generation of French Muslims who will speak without irony of “nos ancêtres les Gaulois.”