Category Archives: Islam

When Everything is Black or White: Caldwell’s book on Islam in Europe

In the Photoshop program for editing photographs, there is a facility by which one can increase or decrease the contrast of an image. I took a black-and-white portrait of my youngest granddaughter, and then dialed up the contrast to a maximum. The result is a picture, interesting in itself, but lacking all nuance of shading. Everything is black or white.

I thought of this ability to rev up contrast, with its result of utter distortion, as I read the book “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe” by Christopher Caldwell. Caldwell is upset by the large Muslim populations in Europe, and, indeed, there are real enough problems. But Caldwell sees everything in black and white. The Muslim populations, he claims, have not assimilated, AT ALL, to European culture. Caldwell is not a scholar, and his use of statistics (and other data) is tendentious and naive. I think that he does point to things we need to worry about, but his highly contrasty portrait will not help us think about the problem intelligently.

I have reviewed this book for Amazon.