Muslims aren't integrating as well as many Europeans would like to believe. American political journalist Christopher Caldwell, author of a recent book on Islam in Europe, argues that taboos and wishful thinking prevent an honest discussion of the issue.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Caldwell, Switzerland recently banned minarets in a referendum. What was your first thought when you heard the news?
The most stunning thing about it is the gap between the clear rejection of the ban in public opinion polls and the clear approval given in the actual vote. It means there is an official discussion of Islam and that there is a subterranean discussion. That should worry Europeans.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Are you suggesting there is no open discussion about Islam in Europe?
Caldwell: I think these things are getting much more openly debated than a few years ago. In the Netherlands and Denmark you do have a contentious debate. I think a lot of Danes and Dutch aren't really proud of the way their populist parties are discussing the issue of immigration, but it's generally much better if things are discussed openly.