Unlike the US, with its sizeable Muslim population, it is widely held in many influential circles in the EU that its more than 15 million Muslims pose a serious cultural and political threat, and that this shows, among other things, that multicultural societies do not work.1 Sometimes this view is stated explicitly; but more often it takes the form of an attack on multiculturalism for which Muslims are largely held responsible and which is a coded word for them. It cuts across the political and ideological divides and is shared, albeit in different degrees and for different reasons, by right wing nationalists, conservatives, liberals and socialists. In this chapter I critically examine the basis of this view, paying particular attention to how the Muslim identity has evolved over the years, and why liberals, the champions of minority rights, cultural diversity and civic as opposed to ethnic nationalism, feel threatened by it.
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