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Europe's Integration Challenge

April 21, 2004
It's hard to imagine some London streets without curry stands or a few districts in Hamburg without a soaring mosque minaret breaking up the skyline. Globalization and a loosening of national borders has turned Europe into one of the most multicultural regions on earth. Waves of Turks and North Africans followed Indians and Pakistanis who arrived in the 1970s, Yugoslavs fleeing from the Bosnian War found refuge in the calmer climes of Western Europe in 1990s. Through the decades, new arrivals, their children and grandchildren have changed the definition of what it is to be Western European.

But how well Europe's governments have performed in integrating its foreign populations is very much up for debate. Discrimination and inequality is still rampant in many big cities forcing some immigrant communities to turn inward and form the type of ghettos that give conservative politicians and law enforcement fits. The aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States and the Madrid bombings on March 11 have revealed a Muslim community not without its fundamentalist element. In Germany, the police crackdown on Muslims amid terror fears has accompanied a growing self-awareness within the community. The combination has forced legal and cultural tussles that are forcing German society to re-evaluate its relationship to the country's 3 million strong Muslim community.

In the following dossier, DW-WORLD looks at the growing integration challenge in Germany and the rest of Europe.