Berthold Leibinger Lecture
Barriers to Integration: Is Islam in Western Europe Like Race in the United States?
Religion and race stir social tensions and create barriers for immigrants and their children in both the United States and in Western Europe. But there are important differences in the impact of religious and racial divisions on the two sides of the Atlantic. In this lecture, Nancy Foner explores why Islam has become a more significant cleavage between immigrants and the majority population in Western Europe than it has in the United States. Color-coded race is a more severe barrier in the US, especially for those labeled black, although immigrants of color in the US have certain advantages that Muslim and other immigrants in Western Europe do not. While racial and religious fears in the US and Europe may seem immutable, Foner argues there may be grounds for cautious optimism looking to the future.