Claire Adida, David Laitin, and Marie-Anne Valfort respond to my review

This is in the comments section at MR, in my view an authorial response to a negative review should not be buried, so here it is:

Dear Tyler,

Thank you for taking the time to read our book and blog about it. We take your review and critique seriously, and understand that our title – which generalizes beyond France to “Christian-heritage societies” – might appear to some as a bit of a reach.

Nonetheless, we have two responses to your review. First, any frank discussion of external validity should, in our mind, address the reasons why the scope might be limited. As we explain in Parts I and II of our book, our challenge was to identify whether we could say anything at all about Muslim integration. Our belief is that work to date cannot, because it confounds discrimination due to religion with discrimination due to region-of-origin. Our book’s primary contribution is to isolate the religious factor. To do so, we had to study a specific group of immigrants who hail from the same country, who migrated at the same time and in the same way, and who differ only in their religious membership. None of the examples you cite – Pakistanis or Bosnians in America – offer such a counterfactual. We therefore cannot evaluate how well those groups have integrated due to, or in spite of, their religious membership.

Second, your critique of our efforts at generalizability ignores our analysis of the European Social Survey, a representative sample of respondents in 17 Western European countries; this analysis corroborates our claim that there is a Muslim disadvantage to integration in Christian-heritage societies. Finally, your focus on a single indicator in the Detroit Arab-American Study – “Proud to be an American” – ignores the relevant point we have tried to make, which is that on a number of different measures and in a number of different contexts, the pattern consistently points toward the same direction: that Muslim immigrants, relative to comparable Christian immigrants, integrate less, and that this situation does not improve over time. It is this pattern, not any single difference on any single indicator, that we find disconcerting.

Thank you, again, for your thoughts and consideration. Best, Claire Adida, David Laitin and Marie-Anne Valfort

My initial review of their book on Muslim integration in Christian heritage societies was here.


You got pwned, Tyler.
People are not all the same--wake up!

I politely disagree, Skeptic;
Tyler [probably bought with his own money &] read this book, & made some intelligent comments on it, for our benefit (I for one had not heard of the book & value 1) being informed of it's existence & 2) Tyler's thoughtful synopsis).
The authors replied with valid points that add further nuance to contextualise & justify their position relative to Tyler's post.
Tyler then highlighted this valuable information, again to the benefit of those of us who do not always read all the comments.

I think that's an excellent example of a civilised discourse, in which both / all parties are open to learning interesting & important things, & are prepared to potentially concede, explore or defend valid points made by either 'side'. To the benefit of us all.
Sadly rare, these small steps to a much better world - but I applaud all those who dare to make such steps

Agreed. We're better off for this kind of interaction.

He did not get pawned at all. They made a valid counterpoint, but they basically conceded his main argument.

Plus as Nick said, this type of back and forth is productive.

I really do not know why they would say that about Bosnians, when it appears to me to be clearly false. Lots of people from Bosnia--sharing a similar culture and language (even the same dialect)--settled in the US during the '90s. Bosnians include Bosnian Serbs (Orthodox Christians), Bosnian Croats (Catholic Christians), and Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims). In this case, I think they would have one of their best possible groups to study for their line of research.

Hardly representative of Muslims--a fringe (literally) group. Most are recwnt forced converts anyway.

Bosniaks converted to Islam in the 15th and 16th centuries. I suppose you could still define that as "recent," but I would not.

I'm not sure they would merit a "fringe" epithet, but before the Bosnian civil war, and to a large degree even today, the Bosnian Muslims were the least religious, most pro-western, best educated muslim population anywhere. Also, unlike Arabs, south-Asians and African muslims, they are physically indistinguishable from other Europeans.

But that also is a control for racism in the host country.

I would not use the Bosnians though because they have barely been here for twenty years. The negative experiences we have in France, UK, etc... are from communities with another two decades of assimilation.

I think I will order the author's book.

Less religious and better educated than Russian Tatars? I doubt it.

Someone needs to fumigate the comment section for nativist trolls. They're in the walls.

"Someone needs to delete comments that I disagree with. They upset me."

So you view dissenters as rats who need to be gassed.


Because the enemy isn't ISIS, Al Qaeda, or whomever. It is Americans that don't agree with fascists such as Aaron W.

Would a trigger warning satisfy you?

There's a thought. There could be customized versions of MR for every user! The Fox News fans could have there own version that never upsets their apple cart, Paul Krugman fans can have their version which supports Paul Krugman's positions, etc. I'll subscribe to the MR food channel.

"Someone needs to fumigate the comment section for nativist trolls. They’re in the walls. "

I'm missing the context that generated this comment. Did another post get deleted?

Start spraying. I determined this on 3 Dec 2015. Das dicke ende commt nach. Translated: The worst is yet to come.

What matter might it make if Muslims have an acknowledged tradition of dividing the world into dar al-Islam and dar al-harb and a separate tradition (dating from the late seventh century CE) of taqiyya (or taqqiya), "prudent dissimulation" interpreted as "concealment of true opinions" by more than one historian of Islam (and a practice common to both Shi'a and Sunni)?
At what point is specific treatment of specific religious outlook and doctrine and ideology relevant to a discussion of Muslim integration in non-Muslim and formerly Christian countries?

It's hardly "concealment of true opinions" if it's also an "acknowledged tradition", is it now?

No: the concept of taqiyya is "an acknowledged tradition" some thirteen hundred years old, its practice today is and would be another matter altogether: recourse to the strategy and implementation to the strategy is not the strategy itself.

You can find a paper summarizing the authors' research into this question from the abstract:

"There is widespread evidence that immigrants from Muslim-majority countries are discriminated against in Western Europe, relative to immigrants from European Christian-majority countries. Yet, it is not clear whether this discrimination is based on religion (Muslim), region of origin (since the bulk of Muslim-majority countries are located in regions outside Europe), or both. Relying on European Social Survey data and an identification strategy that seeks to separate religion from region of origin, our findings indicate that religion rather than region of origin explains such discrimination."

Paper is here:

One of the questions you should ask first is: How religious is France anyway? Not at all I would argue. So the real issue of discrimination might be: If you make a religion the focal point of your identity, will you fit in with those who do not. It's not Christian v. Muslim so much as it is secular versus avowedly and in your face religious. How well would an in your face Christian conservative, telling you how to behave, fit in in NYC.

Orthodox Jews come to mind.

And, how well do they fit in NYC (hair, hats, work hours, etc.) unless they form a small community located in a tiny area. How well have Orthodox Jews assimilated?

I think you illustrated my point: NYC is, in general, a very secular city, and, one could say non-Christian as you would find in the South.

I dont think it is the inability to assimilate in "Christian heritage society" so much as it is an assimilation problem into societies that are secular, and believe that religion should be private.

But wouldn't any description of New Yorkers be dominated not by how irreligious they are, but by how noxious they are?

You've confused New York with New Jersey.

And how many Christian conservatives will burn 1000 cars over the summer.

A few of these guys might consider themselves to be both Christian and conservative:

Bosnians are not representative of immigrants from the Middle East and Pakistan. They were forced to accommodate to life in a larger non Muslim continent centuries ago and they mostly use their religion as a secular community identifier rather than a strict belief system.

They probably drink more booze per capita than Americans and the women behave much like women elsewhere in Europe.

Bosnian Muslims just aren't very religious.

Zemir Begic, RIP

In Austria, at least according to a recent article in Die Presse, Bosnian immigrants have integrated better into the job market than Serbs. The Serbs do as poorly as Turks. The article doesn't really speculate why that might be the case.

Well, they ignored for a second time that country named Canada.

It seems to me that the important question here is one that nobody has answered:

"Given that Muslim immigrants to Christian destination countries integrate into society less fully than do other immigrants -- why? Is this fact a result of discrimination by non-Muslims, or is it because the Muslims themselves are not willing to integrate?"

I offer as a comparison the similar problem Jews experienced in Europe during the Middle Ages. Many countries did throw them out, but wherever they did live, they insisted on ghettos with their own private legal systems, thus making their non-integration somewhat more their own fault than that of intolerant Christians in the destination countries.

This is an ignorant comment by Mr. Galt.
"They insisted on ghettos..." is false; let him provide evidence of any ghetto that existed without state coercion or the threat of mob violence or retract.
"with their own private legal systems" is irrelevant to the issue. Many people today look to various systems of private arbitration to settle disputes, and a "private" legal system without the power of the state is simply a private arbiter, better trusted than the state because staffed by one's co-religionists. It clearly does not apply to disputes between Jews and non-Jews, unless non-Jews voluntarily submitted to it, which did occasionally happen.

Up until about 50 years ago, Jews were endogamous.

Remember a week ago when we were being lectured about how we have nothing to fear from Muslims coming to America?

How'd that work out, anyway?

A Pakistani immigrant and the son of Pakistani immigrants at that, a group Cowen emphasized as an American Muslim success story. Eventhough Pakistani-Americans are a tiny group that's relatively educated I would guess that their production of jihadis is wildly disproportionate.


basing immigration policy - or any public policy - by anecdote is foolish and can lead to tyranny.

Muslims as a group commit very few crimes in the U.S., relatively speaking, compared to most other immigrant and non-immigrant groups, and have made valuable contributions with, for example, tech startup companies in Silicon Valley and other places, in athletics, engineering, science, medicine, and many other areas. I would say they have been a net asset in the U.S. and are overwhelmingly loyal Americans. And they are angered, saddended for the victims, and especially distraught when one of these horrific incidents occur.

basing immigration policy – or any public policy – by anecdote is foolish and can lead to tyranny.

Sailer doesn't suggest we do that. He's just jabbing the moderator.

The citizens of a country have an unqualified right to their borders just as, one might argue, the Tibetans have a right to their distinct polity. Or the Israelis. Or the Palestinians. Whether 1 million, 100,000 or zero are let in is solely up to them. Nothing to do with "tyranny."

"that Muslim immigrants, relative to comparable Christian immigrants, integrate less, and that this situation does not improve over time"

The pragmatic implication would be to let in fewer Muslim immigrants.

But of course since we know we'll never ever do the practical thing, we must therefore undertake to make non-Muslims feel ashamed of themselves in order to make Muslim newcomers feel more at home.

But of course since we know we’ll never ever do the practical thing, we must therefore undertake to make non-Muslims feel ashamed of themselves in order to make Muslim newcomers feel more at home.

I think you've reversed the order of causality here. Try this (and see Thomas Sowell): the self-concept of much of our bourgeoisie is derived from psychological self-aggrandizedment which incorporates a certain view of ordinary people. The striking of attitudes on this subject rules out practical public policy.

Like the US kept out the Jews in the 30s because Jews were refusing to integrate and just lived in isolated communities talking some unintelligible language...

Like the US kept out the Asians because they never integrated and just lived in isolated communities talking some unintelligible let langauge.

Like the US tried to keep out the Catholics especially the Irish because they never integrated and just lived in isolated communities and talked unintelligibly.

Like the US tried to keep out the Italians who were Catholics and only integrated into criminal gangs.

And kicking out the Mormons was clearly justified because no one can possibly integrate with them when they won't integrate with real Christians. And Congress banning the Mormon religion and jailing anyone who professes the Mormon religion was totally justified and that's why the Supreme Court upheld these laws of Congress - Mormon are not due first amendment rights because they can't be Americans.

What's long and green and smells like Miss Piggy's butt?

Kermit's finger.

@ Wheelchair Fred: thanks, you made my day!

On June 11, 1910, The New York Times had an article titled: "THE SLAV IN AMERICA; There Are Millions of Him Here, and the Prospect of Ultimate Assimilation Is Not Bright"

"Miss Balch presents the results of a painstaking investigation, in the course of which she studied the Slavs with great care and from many points of view...In respect to assimilation she seems to think the Slavs will be harder to deal with than any other class of our immigrants. She discovers no present tendency on their part toward Americanization. As she sees them, they are still foreigners isolated from the social and political life of the country."

[this was a few years before my own Slavic ancestors moved to the US with no skills, and they saved enough to own a restaurant and a hotel in Florida. Their children became doctors.]

The authors tried to justify the study on France by saying that France has
the largest Muslim population in Europe. However, is using percent pop Muslim
as the indicator reasonable and the selection of France to study appropriate ?

A reasonable measure of radicalization is the number of foreign fighters
per million of population from ICSR
(to avoid rounding off errors, the per capita data are recalcualted),
some of which are listed below,

PerCapJihadi PctPopMuslim Rrad IQGap2 Country

42.702 6.1 7.0 -11.875 "Belgium"

23.408 4.2 5.573 -10.46875 "Denmark"

20.244 7.9 2.562 -8.28125 "France"

11.59 0.8 14.487 -10.625 "Finland"

9.374 4.8 1.953 -7.65625 "United Kingdom"

6.679 5.0 1.336 -6.25 "Germany"

3.258 3.0 1.086 -2.03125 "Canada"

0.352 0.9 0.391 -1.71875 "United States"

Where PerCapJihadi is the number of foreign fighers per million population,
PctPopMulim is the Muslim population number from Pew Research Centre, and
Rrad the ratio PerCapJihadi/PctPopMuslim and this can be a rough estimate
for the radicalization of Muslim. It can be seen that although France has
the largest PctPopMuslim in Europe, the ratio of radicalization Rrad is
merely 2.56. By fixating on PctPopMuslim and looking at the Gallic Rooster,
the other elephants in the room are missed (Oh yes, Belgium has elephant beer ,
Denmark has the Order of the elephant and Finland has the
Funky Elephant Festival ). The
appropriate countries to be studies should be Belgium, Denmark, and in
particular Finland with IQGap2=-10.63, Rrad=14.49 and only 0.8% of
populations are Muslims. (Oh yes, Canada data are also listed.)

It has previously be shown that Muslim radicalization can be explained by
IQGap2, the IQ idff between the 2nd gen Muslims and the natives. What is
the relative significance of PctPopMuslim and IQGap2 ? The regression
result shows,

lm(formula = PerCapJihadi ~ IQGap2 + PopMus)


Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)

(Intercept) -1.495 4.119 -0.363 0.72209

IQGap2 -1.705 0.500 -3.410 0.00423 **

PopMus 90.449 71.931 1.257 0.22916


Signif. codes: 0 '***' 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ’ 1

The coeff of IQGap2 is significant at p=0.01, the coeff of PopMus (the
ratio of Muslims/Overallpop) is not significant even at p=0.1

IQGap2 correctly identifies Belgium and Denmark as the top 2 most radicalized
westernized countries for Muslims, that France has moderate radicalization
(considering that PopMus=0.079), and that Germany has among the lowest

The use of names at birth as the indicator for religion when job seeking is
questionable. The method also cannot differentiates between 1st gen and
2nd gen immigrant applicants. In general, the economic inequality measure
Gini Coeff has been shown previously to be not significant when paired
together with IQGap2.

Actually, Rrad ratio of radicalization is simply the number of foreign fighters over the Muslim population. But it sure sound more important :)

In case you are wondering, the correlation btw PerCapJIhadi and Rrad is not significant at p=0.05

Does this discussion betray something of a North American bias? Surely the key counter-example is Australia. Migration rates to Australia remain high - the latest data is that well over 1 in 4 Australians are migrants. The proportion of the population born in the Middle East and Asia is increasing, joining a substantial number from Balkans areas. These migrants have a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds, including many from similar geographies but with different religions.

But the Aussie ones are highly selected, and not on the criterion of faking being a refugee. Even then there is some resentment at the tendency of young male Lebanese moslems to form nasty gangs.

Why is there concern only about the problems muslims have in integrating with the cultures they decide to settle in? How come no discussion about migrants of other faiths? Do they integrate well or at least mind their own business instead of spreading hate ? And how come those who abhor western values dont migrate to non-western societies they are more culturally comfortable with?

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