2005 April 19 Tuesday
Convergence Of Migration And Terrorism Trends Seen In Europe

Robert S. Leiken, Director of the Immigration and National Security Program at the Nixon Center, has written an excellent article for the Center for Immigration Studies entitled Europe's Mujahideen: Where Mass Immigration Meets Global Terrorism.

Television commentators regularly fret about terrorists crossing our southern border concealed in a torrent of illegal immigrants. National media attention is riveted on the Middle East. But the nightmare of Department of Homeland Security officials with whom I talk is not the Mexican border or the Middle East. They lose sleep over Muslim immigrants from enlightened Western Europe.

At the Nixon Center we have investigated 373 suspected or convicted terrorists who resided in or crossed national borders in Western Europe and North America since 1993.1  Despite extensive search our matrix did not include any mujahiddeen with ties to al Qaeda entering from Mexico, In contrast, we found 26 subjects who used Canada as a host country. Moreover, while the U.S. asylum system has been relatively secure, Canada and European are regularly abused by terrorist asylum claimants. Ahmed Ressam, the Algerian who tried to bomb the Los Angeles airport, availed himself of the Canadian asylum system.

The US has such close economic and diplomatic ties to Europe and Canada that a visa requirement for people from those countries would have serious downsides for the US.

European Muslims who can enter the United States without a visa constitute perhaps the biggest threat for future terrorist acts against the United States.

Meanwhile, in Western Europe, the two trends of mass immigration and global terrorism intersect visibly and dangerously. For more than a decade the region has formed a haven for Middle Eastern "dissidents," often a.k.a. mujahideen, and for graduate students like Mohammed Atta. But these visitors or first generation immigrants are by no means the only source of concern. The murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by a Dutch Muslim of Moroccan descent served notice for a new generation of mujahideen born and bred in Europe and the object of focused al Qaeda post-9-11 and post-Iraq recruitment. Because these children of guestworkers are European born, they are citizens entitled to passports. And they are also entitled to enter the United States without so much as an interview by a U.S. official. That is because European countries enjoy a reciprocal agreement with the United States called the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

The new mujahideen are European born and bred and products of a little noticed convergence of migratory networks and terrorist cells. In addition, European Muslim recruits can form the al Qaeda cells most apt to plot a course in the United States. The second-generation terrorists speak European languages, handle computers, surf the internet, exchange e-mail, and are familiar with post-industrial infrastructures and customs. Unlikely to be watchlisted, the new mujahideen not only navigate a modern society but can enter the United States freely. But terminating the VWP would exact a heavy bureaucratic, financial and diplomatic price and would be a major blow to U.S.-European relations and constitute a strategic misstep. This paper proposes to mending, not ending, the VWP.

Leiken points out that advances in communications and transportation technology have simultaneously reduced the cost of migration and reduced the cost of staying in touch with and retaining elements of the cultures that the migrants came from. A flip through cable channels in any part of the United States that has a large Hispanic population demonstrates the truth of this contention. Spanish language channels have been added to many cable services (Santa Barbara has about 6) and the growth of satellite TV services with hundreds of channels will make foreign language programming even easier to provide. By contrast, in the 1960s the only TV watching choices in much of the United States were 3 major English language networks, an English language public TV channel, and maybe a few Engliish language UHF channels. Also, international phone calls were too expensive casual use by all but very high income people whereas they become steadily cheaper today. The internet enables access to newspapers from home countries and correspondence with people who share common beliefs, culture, and experiences. Therefore life in the United States in the 1960s more thoroughly pulled a person into a shared American culture than life in the United States does today.

For Western Europe the ability of migrants to retain their cultures and maintain a separate identity and a different set of loyalties has especially problematic implications.

Western Europe hosts an extremely challenging second and third Muslim immigrant generation who are citizens. To speak more bluntly, Western Europe, in a fit of absent mindedness, during which it became common for Western intellectuals to speculate on the obsolescence of the nation-state, has acquired not a colonial empire this time but an internal colony whose numbers are roughly equivalent to a Saudi Arabia in the heart of Europe.

A portion of this population offers a challenge to social cohesion (what some European scholars call "societal security") and a small fraction presents an international security threat.26  That last is because migratory networks and terrorist cells increasingly overlap, as illustrated by the Madrid bombings and by the Van Gogh incident.


In the 21st century, extremism and terrorism emanating from the same population has converted discontent into electoral rebellion and crisis, as in the foulard (headscarf) controversy in France, the asylum crisis in Great Britain, and the reaction to Van Gogh’s hideous assassination. Pro-immigration lobbies and scholars often treat the connection of Islamist terrorism and international immigration with condescension or invective. But this defensive stance will not withstand what Solzhenitsyn called "the pitiless crowbar of events."27 

This is a very long article and informative article. I urge you to click through and read the whole thing.

Update: Here is more from the article. The Spanish economy is a powerful lure for Moroccans.

The Madrid bombings were carried out by Moroccan immigrants, legally resident in Spain, many mentored by a Syrian-born Spaniard alleged to be bin Laden’s operational commander in Europe. Spain has a migratory culture similar to our southwest, with Morocco a mere nine miles off-shore. The contrast between Morocco (per capita GNP $4,000) and Spain ($22,000) is the most dramatic between any two borders in the world, greater than the Mexico ($9,000) - United States ($37,800) gap and greater than that between the PRC ($5,000) and Hong Kong ($14,400). When we consider that Morocco has a population of more than 32 million, 1/3 of which is under 14, a literacy rate barely topping 50 percent (compared to Spain’s 98 percent literacy rate) and a infant mortality rate 10 times as high as Spain’s, that 99 percent of Spaniards have health insurance and only 20 percent of Moroccans, we can understand why the Spanish government has budgeted a three year plan to fortify its southern border with radar, sensors, cameras, helicopters, and an identification system.68  This correspondence between Morocco-Spain migratory networks and terrorist cells is reproduced in France vis a vis Algeria. A similar correspondence exists regarding Pakistan and Britain and Morocco and the Netherlands.

The Europeans need to entirely stop the Muslim immigrant influx and deport all illegals.

The bright side in all this for the United States is that Muslim terrorists in Europe are more likely to attack European than American targets because European targets are still easier to reach and require less skill and less resources to hit. As the Europeans get hit they will respond with more aggressive measures against Muslim immigration and against terrorist cells in their own countries. Their reaction to the terrorist threat from Muslims living among them will benefit America.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 April 19 12:04 PM  Immigration Terrorism

PacRim Jim said at April 19, 2005 1:11 PM:

Conservative Muslim countries are being undermined by Western culture, the Web, higher education, etc., faster than Muslim prosyletizers can spread Islam abroad. Look for secular Islam in this, the 21st century.

Proborders said at April 19, 2005 4:16 PM:

"[British] Opposition leader refuses to tone down tough talk on immigration" is posted here.

Stuka said at April 19, 2005 6:21 PM:

Why do most commentators ignore the obvious remedy? Time to push the Muslims out. Time for a Reconquest of Europe.

Kenelm Digby said at April 20, 2005 2:41 AM:

Randall, don't you believe it.
The European political elites are happier to countenance every last White European being blown to pieces by a nail-bomb than to even hint at "racist" immigration controls, nevermind deportations.
You might think I'm exaggerating for dramatic effect, but believe me I'm being deadly earnest here.

noone said at April 20, 2005 2:49 AM:

"Conservative Muslim countries are being undermined by Western culture, the Web, higher education, etc., faster than Muslim prosyletizers can spread Islam abroad. Look for secular Islam in this, the 21st century."

Only after a great deal of bloodshed,not just "there",but "here" as well.Mindless callers for an "Islamic Reformation" should remember that the real Reformation took about 200 yrs and featured war as a major by product.No reason to assume the muslim version would be all that different.

Devilboy said at April 20, 2005 6:06 AM:

Kenelm is right.

But what can really be done? Legal asylum and immigration are important.

Rick Darby said at April 20, 2005 9:19 AM:

The bright side in all this for the United States is that Muslim terrorists in Europe are more likely to attack European than American targets because European targets are still easier to reach and require less skill and less resources to hit. As the Europeans get hit they will respond with more aggressive measures against Muslim immigration and against terrorist cells in their own countries. Their reaction to the terrorist threat from Muslims living among them will benefit America.

So this is what we have come to. Our consolation is that the continent where Western civilization arose is more vulnerable to Muslim terrorist acts than we are. Our hope is that after hundreds or thousands of Europeans are slain, their dozing politicians and intellectuals might wonder if something might, after all, be wrong with the multi-culti welcome wagon.

Where there is no vision, the people perish.

Randall Parker said at April 20, 2005 10:47 AM:


But while Euro politicians ignore their voters even more than American politicians do on the issue of immigration there is a level of fear and anger in the general population that will be reached where the politicians will be voted out.

Here's my brutal realpolitik take on Europe: If the terrorists succeed it blowing up and killing a lot of people in the short to medium term that will save Europe in the long term. Why? Because lots of deaths of Germans, French, etc will eventually cause people to reach a breaking point and there will be a severe reaction as the politically correct leftist ideology is abandoned and as the market arguments for immigration are rejected as well.

The Spanish can rationalize away the Madrid train bombing as being a consequence of Spain's involvement in Iraq. But future attacks are going to be harder to rationalize given the increasing distance between Europe and America. The Dutch have already had their wake-up call. If the French, Germans, and British suffer large numbers of casualties then I expect to see the political tide turn.


If by "important" you mean immigration and asylum are economically valuable and morally good I disagree.

Ignacio said at April 20, 2005 1:59 PM:

No more than a conspiracy theory at this point, but a lot of Spaniards have considered that the bombing was not Muslim-planned because of their modus operandi, similar to ETA. In fact, 3 months before THAT bombing some ETA members were detained on their way to Madrid carrying similar explosives. Suspects committing suicide without aiming for any target? Convenient. But the kicker is the fact that at that point, Spain was the ONLY country in the EEC meeting the economic/development goals set forth by the EEC council. France wasn't. Germany wasn't either.

So we have a terrorist bombing that resulted in a change of government. Did the terrorists benefit from that coup d'état? Surely, as the new government (Socialist party) has had a history of bending over backwards to comply to terrorist demands and a lax anti-terrorist policy. The Popular party did not negotiate with terrorism "We'll stop chasing you when you stop bombing us" and their policies were much stricter.

Did anyone else benefit from the new government? Given that the Socialist Party screwed up the Spanish economy during previous terms (was it 1982-1994?), a not-so-healthy Spanish economy will surely benefit someone as well. You connect the dots.

Kenelm Digby said at April 21, 2005 2:03 AM:

The immediate consequence of the Madrid train bombing worked as plannede, of course.The sPanish people roused into an implacable anger evicted the Conservative government from office tout-de-suite from office the very next day and put in the oppostion Socialists.
And what have the Socialists done so far? - Why, acting true to their Marxist form they have instituted several "amnesties" for illegal immigrants and acted to dismantle immigration controls.
Surely there is a moral here somewhere.
On the issue of immigration, predicted trends reliably show that Britain will have a White minority in the space of 40 years.The politicians know this.If they do not know this, then they are damned fools unworthy of office.What is their response - absolutely nothing.So, tacitly, we must conclude that the British political establishment has officially approved and accepted White minority status with all that entails.
All this reminds me of a piece of folklore well known by the long-bearded, buckskin-wearing Kentuckian backswoodsmen, who are fascinated observers of the ways of wild animals.
Apparently if a rabbit is set before a weasel, instead of bolting away, the rabbit is literally petrified (ie "turned into rock")with fear.The rabbit is in a total state of paralysis through sheer terror,being unable to move a single muscle through fear of inciting the weasel to attack.The rabbit, therefore makes an easy meal for the weasel.
Such is the action of White, western politicians and the "race" issue.

John S Bolton said at April 21, 2005 6:54 AM:

Freedom of travel for aggressors is one of the very worst threats to civilization. We can't have immigrants bringing down one hundred storey structure after another, every few years, or bombing central train stations; much less successfully bombing national military HQ's! Europeans are harboring terrorists; they will have to become more and more subject to travel restrictions. We don't need low budget tourism; the top percentiles spend most of what foreign tourists spend here. Therefore, a requirement that all immigrants be in the top 1% or so, of verbal IQ, as shown in English language standardized testing of the most secure kind, would keep numbers manageable, while allowing the main flow of money and high level talent to continue. The needs of science and technology for recruitment of the top percentiles of ability, have to be taken care of. What we stand to lose by not getting those in the 110's or 120's of IQ, could be made up for by the additional recruitment in the 130's and higher. We are sure to be missing out on what could be contributed by those in the top percentiles of IQ, who mostly can't get immigration visas today, and this loss would be greater than that from blocking everyone under that level, in terms of breakthroughs, or significant contributions to the advancement of learning. Immigrants who flop on to net public subsidy do more damage in aggregate than even the new terrorists. Only a strict screening method can keep them from multiplying and metastatizing in their aggression on the citizens who are forced to pay for this. Countries which harbor terrorists are enemies, not allies or neutrals. Ordinary Europeans are complicit in this harboring; they could vote against it. Therefore they are not properly treated as first world in this regard; fatalistic acceptance of terror as an unavoidable aspect of politics is third world. Europe is not civilized in this respect; civilization is freedom from aggression, not tolerance of it.

Lurker said at April 21, 2005 7:01 PM:

It's one thing to be called a racist when the racial demographic is 90/10. I think it's meaning will be a bit different when the breakdown is 50/50, or 30/70. When native Europeans find themselves the minority in their own homelands, it will mean something very different indeed.

Jack Tanner said at April 22, 2005 7:58 AM:

'Conservative Muslim countries are being undermined by Western culture, the Web, higher education, etc., faster than Muslim prosyletizers can spread Islam abroad. Look for secular Islam in this, the 21st century.'

Sorry I'm not willing to sit around for a few more 9-11's first. Getting rid of the jihadis will speed the process along.

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