EuropeNews: What is the conclusion on your research? Is the integration of people of Muslim heritage into Western societies possible?
Nicolai Sennels: I would say that the optimists, the people who say that integration is possible, carry a very great responsibility. There is a very great risk that they are selling us hope, a dream, that has no foundation in reality. This means that they will be the ones who are responsible for Europe looking away from and not addressing its problems until it is too late.
There is simply no research in Europe that supports the optimists’ view. On the contrary, all the research that we have on integration of Muslims in Western societies shows that we are continuing to head in the wrong direction. So I don’t know how these optimists come to their conclusion. Maybe it is a vain and childish hope that everything will turn out well, just like in the fairy tales. Or maybe it is a pseudo-Darwinistic idea that everything will develop in a positive direction. One thing is for sure: they don’t base their judgments on facts.
Of course there are exceptions but for the largest part integration to the necessary degree of Muslims is not possible. Clever and compassionate people are working all over Europe on the problem, and they have spent billions of Euros on the project, yet, the problems still continue to grow.
The psychological explanation is actually simple. The Muslim and the Western cultures are fundamentally very different. This means Muslims need to undergo very big changes in their identity and values to be able to accept the values of Western societies. Changing basic structures in one’s personality is a very demanding psychological and emotional process. Apparently very few Muslims feel motivated to do so. I only know a few who managed, but I also know that it was a long and exhausting struggle on an inner level for them and that they often pay a high personal price on the outer level because their Muslim friends and families despise and/or disown them for leaving their culture.