Is multiculturalism dead? That’s the critical question raised by Michel Wieviorka in “Crisis of Identity,” the lead essay in our Spring 2016 issue’s Special Report: Trouble in Europe. He notes that identity questions involve regionalist or even secessionist movements that have been around for awhile—for example in Spain, Britain, Italy, Belgium, and France. But more recently, the refugee crisis, threats from terrorism, and a financial crisis have thrown European cohesion into doubt. Judging from the difficulties facing the continent—including the anti-European Union movements in Britain and Greece—Wieviorka concludes, “there is an enormous risk that countries will begin closing in on themselves.”
Peter D. Sutherland delivers a passionate argument against such a course in “Our Great Migration Challenge.” “We must now demonstrate not merely our humanity but our belief in the equality and dignity of man and seek in our own society to integrate with the strangers in our midst,” he writes. In her essay, “Closing the Gates,” Catherine Wihtol de Wenden surveys the refugee crisis and offers alternatives to Europe’s security-driven policies. The influx of asylum seekers from the Middle East and the recent terrorist attacks in France and Belgium have reignited the debate over Europe’s Muslim minority communities. In his essay “The Paradox of Arab France,” Pascal Blanchard questions how a people so deeply tied to French history have been left permanently on the nation’s margins.
We are grateful to the publisher Polity and Emmanuel Todd for permission to publish an extract from Who is Charlie?: Xenophobia and the New Middle Class, the English translation of his book Qui est Charlie?: Sociologie d’une crise religieuse. Todd writes that a positive integration of Islam would reinforce France’s republican culture, not subvert it.
That brings us to The Cairo Review Interview. In March, I had the honor of moderating a Tahrir Dialogue talk at the American University in Cairo by Danilo Türk, the former president of Slovenia who is a candidate to become secretary-general of the United Nations. Later I sat down with him at the Slovenian ambassador’s residence for an engaging discussion about the crises in Europe, the Middle East conflicts, international diplomacy, the influence of big powers, and much more.