I was blessed to spend my military service there in a more peaceful time.
I started near Bordeaux, France that had a community of Algerians who practiced Islam. They integrated with the French and welcomed outsiders into their community. The signs on the shops were in French and there was little to divide them from the rest of the city.
I returned to France after the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain went up. The disruptive members of Verdun were not from the local Muslin community but French Foreign Legionnaires ousted from North Africa.
I will admit that I found most French people haughty and less than friendly to we American GIs. But, they lived in peace amongst themselves.
I next spent time in Germany. A little stiff-necked and frosty to outsiders, but tolerant and peaceful.
My final tour was in Austria. I honestly don’t remember there being an isolated community of non-Austrians. Assimilation was the key and no particular groups set themselves aside from the rest.
So, I have been paying attention to what has gone on in Europe for many years. I read of the Muslim youths in France going on rampages and torching cars. The official claims said it was because of high unemployment among their population. It never dawned upon me that perhaps that was caused by their refusal to become French as had their parents.
I was also aware of a movement to let immigrants from Middle Eastern and African countries in to perform menial jobs that Europeans would not. Left to secondary status, was it a surprise that they did not assimilate and set themselves aside in their Muslim enclaves?
I find it so sad to see what has happened there. I spent many enjoyable hours in beautiful, historical places soaking up things that we savor and enjoy here in America. I cannot image returning there now. Not when just taking an evening stroll can find you ending up in a hospital – or grave.
But, here’s the bottom line to me. Our politicians and government bureaucrats have to see what has gone on in Europe. But, they appear to be ignoring it! How many Muslim enclaves are we now finding here in the USA? How many locales and groups are calling for Sharia Law that is completely opposite from our constitutional freedoms/ How soon until we too find it perilous to take an evening stroll or attend a concert?
I wrote a novel about terrorism in Las Vegas. My research came up with things that frightened me when I wrote it nearly ten years ago. Those perils are still here and I wake up every morning wondering when it can happen here. A bomb left in an unobtrusive spot where large crowds gather. It doesn’t need to be a suicide bomber but one of those on the crowded Strip or Downtown could raise havoc.
I just hope we wake up and take steps to defend ourselves and not become terrorist targets like in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Terrorism is everywhere. Just please keep it away from America.