Back to article

The Islamic Enlightenment

A counter-argument to the “clash of civilisations”

What happened when Islam encountered modernity two centuries ago

See article

Readers' comments

The Economist welcomes your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful of other readers. Review our comments policy.


article:. "For one thing, it means that Muslims now migrating to the West retain, deep in their collective memories, an intimation that Islam can flourish in an enlightened form."

They also know well the story of Tamerlane who killed 5 pct of the world's population in his conquests. In fact, the Boston Bomber was named Tamerlan Tsarnaev.


When are muslims going to stop banging on about the Crusades? What religions do they think were dominant in the middle east before the islamic invaders turned up?

MySetDancer in reply to TalkyMcTalkface

Good post.

Muslims always ignore the fact that it was the Arabs/Muslims who invaded what we today call Palestine. Prior to the Muslim invasions, Arabs were just another assortment of tribes in what we call Arabia, and there were no Muslims outside of Arabia. The Arabs invaded all the way to Vienna and France before they were stopped cold by superior forces. They spread their "religion" with the sward and scream bloody murder when other peoples reject their "truth." I want no part of it.


"Others retort indignantly that the Islamic world’s problems are the fault of its Western foes, from crusaders to European colonists, who bruised the collective Muslim psych."

Another example of revisionist Islamic history. What we are talking about is the carving-up of the Ottoman Empire after WWI. That empire, created by repeated invasions and war with neighboring countries, was itself rather arbitrary, swallowing-up all sorts of non-Muslim, non-Arabic peoples. What about their bruised psyche???

The poor choice of the Ottomans to back Germany and Austria and invade Russia in an attempt to expand their empire failed. There never was a "rational" geography for the break-up of the Ottoman empire. It grew by accretion, not a rational plan.

The Ottomans, and now Turks, are still angry over losing their empire. Too bad. They had no excuse for creating it in the first place beyond some distorted religious justification.

"The author empathises with the resentment felt by Muslims over being used as geopolitical pawns and over the arbitrary borders that were drawn by Europeans."

I am sure that the Islamic revisionists use this as a social and political tool to provoke and control people. The European-drawn borders could have been redrawn by local nationalists based on their own political needs. Sadam tried. To some extent the current war in Syria and Iraq may be just such an attempt. But since the region has always been ruled by dictators, the real resentment might be rooted in the frustration of looking at the rest of the world and seeing how far behind the "Islamic" world (in their minds) has fallen. Really. Given all the oil money generated in the last three generations and how little relative progress has been made, I can understand their frustration. It is a delusion to think that the Muslim world will return to its conquering role in the world.

"Islam can flourish in an enlightened form."

Well, if you have read the Quran like I have, you will know how difficult this will be. There are so many xenophobic, anti-western, anti-progressive statements and prescriptives in the Quran that anyone who reads it and believes it is going to have to jump through hoops and suspend rational thought to arrive at anything like a modern liberal philosophy. And since Mohammad was the final prophet, no major changes to Islam are allowed.

Sorry Charlie!

guest-ajomjiia in reply to MySetDancer

> "Well, if you have read the Quran like I have, you will know how difficult this will be. There are so many xenophobic, anti-western, anti-progressive statements and prescriptives in the Quran that anyone who reads it and believes it is going to have to jump through hoops and suspend rational thought to arrive at anything like a modern liberal philosophy."
I've seen this claim numerous times and emanating from many mouths across the web, but have yet to see a detailed analysis by someone that didn't set out to deliberately misinterpret every verse in the Quran.
Feel free to provide us with just one such example so we can succumb it to such an analysis, assuming you're willing to listen to and tolerate viewpoints other than your own.

MySetDancer in reply to guest-ajomjiia

All a person has to do is do some Google searching and they will find plenty on the Quran and Hadith. Repeating it here is too tedious and unnecessary.

The most damming evidence is the continual appeal to the Quran by violent Jihadists and other "believers" who fervently believe that they are doing Allah's will. This appears to be widespread and commonly held. While mullahs sometimes claim that there is an "interpretation" issue, they never claim that the Quran is being misquoted or misstated. Curious . . .

The Quran and Hadith really do contain draconian verses regarding violence, misogyny, killing those who leave Islam, taxing nonbelievers, warring on those who will not submit to Islam, slavery, and much else.

Here are a few quotes that others may wish to review:

“Kill them wherever you find them and drive them out from where they drove you out. Persecution is worse than slaughter.” 2:191

“When you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks.” 47:4

"And, as to those women from whom you fear disobedience, give them a warning, send them to separate beds, and beat them.” 4:34

“Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. Those who follow Him are merciful to one another but harsh to the disbeliever.” 48:29

“Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. Those who follow Him are merciful to one another but harsh to the disbeliever.” 48:29

Quran (4:24) - "And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess." Even sex with married slaves is permissible.

'If a man invites his wife to sleep with him and she refuses to come to him, then the angels send their curses on her till morning.' (Bukhari)

"I looked at Hell and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women." (Bukhari,

'I heard the Prophet saying. 'Evil omen is in three things: The horse, the woman and the house.' (Bukhari)

I have no intention of getting into a religious debate in this forum as it would be off-topic. But I am not saying that all Muslims believe this stuff in their hearts, but the Quran contains many more little "gems" like these, and this is going to be the biggest stumbling block to modernizing Islamic culture and religion. No one who loves liberal democracy can stomach this crap.

Best regards.

guest-ajomjiia in reply to MySetDancer

Alas, the reason I asked for a single example was because I'd be able to show you how it's been taken out of context. The first example you cite from the Quran is a perfect example.
> "And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers." (Quran, 2:191)
Had you endeavored to explore the verse directly preceding it (2:190), you find who "them" refers to:
> "Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors." (Quran, 2:190)
Suddenly your argument doesn't seem so potent. Any person should have the right to self-defence. The question is only whether you choose to ignore this fact, or are simply mislead.
For someone who's taken the time to read the Quran (which is generally applaudable, if part of an effort to understand differing points of view), you've done quite a poor job of it.

MySetDancer in reply to guest-ajomjiia

There are all sorts of attempts to spin violent, insulting, or ignorant texts into some other "interpretation." I reject them all and let the words of the Quran and Hadith stand on their own. Any attempt to justify such language is just a semantic trap.

I said I will not get into a religious debate in this forum but I predicted you would try.

panegyricus in reply to guest-ajomjiia

I thought the best way to interpret the Quran is through the life of Muhammed himself.
If it is not, then a way forward to reconcile Modernity and Islam may indeed be possible.
By the way when Muhammed started his caravan raiding, was this considered self-defense ?


I do not clearly understand why putting the blame on Western colonialism is discarded as "indignant". It is by no means the first idea that comes to my mind, as European countries themselves have been even more often victims of such colonialism, from their neighbors, in an even more deadly manner, and here they are trying to maintain a political union.
But there are sufficient signs in History to support the idea that when a highly developed civilization encounters a slowly developing one, the second one either disappears, dilutes as tiny drops of juice on water, or loses completely the track for development in which it previously was because of the lack of purpose in developing any further when confronted with the view of the unbeatable technology (in short term) displayed by the invaders. There is no need to cut down the bushes when you have already seen the horizon.
This might not be called "guilt", but to me it is a factor that should be considered.


>there was once an era in which the Islamic world drew, selectively and intelligently, on Western ideas and technology while remaining true to itself, still gives hope

Japan did the same and turned out better for it. During the Meiji era, the Genro sought to adopt the ideas that worked from the west while retaining their Japanese culture and identity. Their rapid modernization was not without growing pains, just as their modern culture is not without issues, but effective governance is to some degree timeless.

Reform of the economy and governmental structure can be done largely independently from the culture - adopting ideas and methods is not an all-or-nothing proposition as they deftly showed. Unfortunately, such statesmen are rare in history. Such advances cannot be imposed by an outside force but must be an indigenous response to the economic and political pressures of modernity.

MySetDancer in reply to TheBowski

Good post.

"Reform of the economy and governmental structure can be done largely independently from the culture"

Well, not really. Islam contains a model for government, and while there are many Islamic-majority countries in the world, most of their governments are variations on that model. Even the pseudo-democratic Muslim countries are unacceptable to the modern progressive's sensibilities.

All religious practice is cultural. And all government is cultural. The Quran combines them into one. This is the stumbling-block Islam faces. No matter how "modern" it may look on the outside, on the inside it sees itself as dominant and superior. That always results in all others being second-class, or worse.

Best regards.


The Western World accept making loans with interest and Islam does not (and The Russian World generally does not accept it too) this accounts for all the difference.

Then matters are (a) to notice the elephant in the room, (b) to notice that it took 500 years of civil wars in The Western World to get it acceptable and there is no hope that The Muslim World will do it much faster.


Islamic civilizations adopting western armaments or medicine as renaissance is utterly misleading. No human being is immune to western technology, and effects of globalization. That does not mean all different civilizations are mergin, or dashing towards a renaissance.

Stirrups originated in Africa and spread through the world, was the world becoming African, or simply adopting a convinience? Most youth wear jeans, eat French fries, using conveniences does not necessarily mean people support Western ideas. No more that eating Indian food does not make any one less British. Unfortunately that is the kind of flimsy evidence author has produced. Seems having spent long years in the Islamic world, author has gone native and is simply ignoring much heavier counter evidence.

Islam is simply scared of western ideas. A simple read of Koran, will reveal that most of its central ideas will become unsurvivable in a western educated environment. Christian ideas somehow in some shape or form survived the renaissance, Islamists are not sure of that. The result is a fear of survival of a way of life, a belief system and a civilization itself.
Early Islamic contacts with West, that author alludes to, were mere civilizational introductions. Introductions that only revealed Islamic inferiority and clarified western ideas as a threat, producing Islamic insecurity. After introductions, and first date or two with West, Islamic ideologies do not want west anymore. Suddenly west is sinister, bad, responsible for all ills in the Islamic world, right from crusade to current borders in the Middle East.
Instead of apologizing for insecurity led Islamic narrative of the West, author would have done better to explore the Islamic insecurities.


The Islamic world was once the center of learning. Then it fossilized. The result can be seen in the small number of Muslim Nobel laureates, particularly in the sciences.

legen in reply to guest-omnnmei

Indeed. I could only find two Muslim Nobel laureates in the hard sciences of physics,chemistry and medicine and physiology. There have been over 600 laureates in the hard sciences ( and interestingly approximately one third were Jewish ). As far as I know there has been no clear explanation for this profound decline in the Islamic centers of learning although I presume some hardening of Islamic teachings was responsible .


History is ...history. The past will help the Western civilization not at all - neither to survive and much less to progress - as long as Islam is in love with its 'invented' past.

Reality on the ground proves that "Islam 21st Century" will strike at all non-Muslim nations, and many Muslim nations too, until it is victorious or utterly defeated.

This point-of-view is not politically correct but at least it is honest and sincere.


History has proven the author correct that in the previous two centuries the muslim-dominated Near East has been open to ideas of the west. After this the argument trying to be woven in this book looses touch with reality. The islamic world view always has and always will consider itself superior to any other (especially to its main 'rival' the Judeo-Christian narrative). The openness the author speaks of, therefore, has more to do with realizing the economic and military disadvantages that the muslim world faced when France invaded Egypt and Britain flexed its muscle world-wide. Muslim governments have often copied other civilizations that were known to have a leg up on their own with the purpose of perfecting the advancement in order to assert its own dominance. That's all. There is no room for true openness in the islamic ideology to fully embrace a western idea/world view.


New technologies are destroying the control of the clerics in the Middle East. Cell phones, satellite TV and the Internet spread new ideas (including the mocking of Islam). Desalination and solar power are highly complex technologies that no mullah could manufacture or install. The old life of camel raiding, raping slaves and pillaging infidels no longer works. The new rulers are the engineers, accountants and lawyers (oh vey!) that are needed to run the modern system which is far, far more efficient and productive than the Islamic "way of life". The ones that are screaming the loudest are the imam's, ayatollahs and caliphs that are being kicked into the dustbin of history. For revenge, they brainwash teenagers onto blowing themselves up. But it won't last. The Islamic Enlightenment will be followed by the Islamic Sunset.

Sempervirens in reply to Dutch59

"And what will come after that?"

More mass immigration to non-muslim countries. More victim-hood ideology about how the Xtians and Jews have "kept the muslims down". And more and more babies, because as the quran states without reservation: "Allah will provide"


I may be wrong, but based on the review this book looks suspiciously like a popularized version of Albert Hourani's magisterial 1962 publication Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age, 1798-1939.


There can be no full and honest critique of Islam re the "clash of civilizations" until the epistemology and methodology of science and secularism are compared with the epistemology and methodology of religion, in this case Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The factual knowledge base of the West rests on the foundation of the Enlightenment, which means empiricism, science, reason, experimentation, and research, including the social sciences. The factual knowledge base of religion rests on sacred texts, divine revelation, supernaturalism, designated authorities and faith.

In the secular West, a fact is a fact because it can be demonstrably and empirically proved to be a fact. In religions, truth is truth because that particular religion believes it to be truth. In short, the epistemology and methodology of the secular West and organized religions are literally worlds apart, i.e., they are fundamentally different.

While there is certainly interplay between reason and faith, society and religion, and culture and theology, that is not in any way to diminish their differences. Even though the secular West superseded Christianity as the dominant knowledge motif, we still have secular professionals who profess supernatural beliefs. The conflict occurs when faith and supernaturalism wants to dominant science and reason, or when one religion wants to dominant a different religion.

In the secular West, Christianity for most practical purposes takes a back seat to secularism. The same is broadly true for Judaism. Until Islam learns to make this accommodation, it will continue to be in conflict with reason, secularism and the West. While there is a lot more that can be discussed, this is the bottom-line.

ashbird in reply to jusdoc

Great post, @jusdoc! And so clearly articulated! First Class!
I note additionally, "secular" is "secular". There isn't a "North", "South", "East", "West" distinction for what is "secular". Once the algorithm for "secular" is switched on, it is on for all intent and purposes in any scientific work - research and/or hands-on practice. There are scientists who maintain a spiritual belief (whatever it is) side by side with science. They don't see a clash, nor does one interfere with the other. Their form of spirituality has got NOTHING whatsoever to do with the belief subscribed to by the 3 Abrahamic faiths in their *Fundamentalist Form*, which is to say, every word in the Holy Book, according to these folks, is treated as *literal* and all endeavors for "truths" henceforth are not necessary because the Holy Book already has all the answers to all Q's. Which make these folks the realest sort of hypocrites - for example, they don't go to their "priests" when they need to have an appendectomy done. There is nothing you can do with this type of minds. Not only are they wilfully ignorant, they are pridefully hypocritical.

guest-omnnmei in reply to jusdoc

As Thomas Aquinas observed long ago, a person can believe a thing as a matter of reason or as a matter of faith.

A person can believe that F = ma as a matter of reason following observation and measurement.

God? The remarkably quiet, uninvolved dude no one has ever seen? A person believes in him (she? it?) as a matter of faith. Or, not at all.


Islam has always been a living and dynamic religion for those followers who truly understood its spirit and which is to maintain a very strong bond with the Creator of mankind through prescribed acts of worship or righteousness. Therefore, for them, it is much easier to respond to human logic or reason. It is also a fact that the Western defaced version of Christianity and free thinkers have always been fearful of renaissance of Islam so arguably they have infected its weaker factions.

Having studied Islam, Napoleon thoroughly appreciated its teachings and unlike other religions he found it to be the most simple, rational and appealing to human nature and thus he converted to Islam. Due to similar reasons, Berke Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan also embraced Islam.

Islam is an open religion which is free from bias unless if things coincides with its fundamental principles. The Prophet of Islam (Muhammd, peace be upon him) has strongly urged his followers to seek knowledge even if they have to travel to China (or a far place). Whilst the West has learnt from Muslim military doctrines, scientists and scholars, the Muslims have also incorporated Western thoughts. It is though extremely unfortunate that Muslims as when they generally distant themselves from the teachings of Islam, they fell prey to materialistic ideology from the West.

British India saw the advent of Promised Messiah (Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) in the State of Punjab in 1889 AD who thoroughly admired this rule as being fair and just which conservative Muslims failed to understand. Whilst reviving the true spirit of Islam, he strongly condemned this orthodox mindset and made it crystal clear that Islam is not against any religious, political or social groups. Working under the prophecies of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) he founded an association which is flourishing across the world.

The author of book has correctly identified the rising weaknesses of West which has caused a serious mistrust between two societies and mainly due to its greedy, treacherous and selfish approach.

The fact however remains that Islam has been rejuvenated and will claim its magnificence over the coming decades through victory of hearts.

You've made an error: Napoleon didn't convert to Islam.

Memoirs of Prince Metternich, 1773-1815, p. 272

"Napoleon was not irreligious in the ordinary sense of the word. He would not admit that there had ever existed a genuine atheist; he condemned Deism as the result of rash speculation. A Christian and a Catholic, he recognized in religion alone the right to govern human societies. He looked on Christianity as the basis of all real civilization; and considered Catholicism as the form of worship most favorable to the maintenance of order and the true tranquility of the moral world; Protestantism as a source of trouble and disagreements."

Here -

Claudia Larson in reply to Judge Barbier

Yep! They enjoy killing the NON believers or "Infidels":
Unless they carve this stuff out of the Quran they will always be treated as Primitives.
"Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water melt their skin and bellies." Koran 22:19
"Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them." Koran 2:191
"Make war on the infidels living in your neighborhood." Koran 9:123
"When opportunity arises, kill the infidels wherever you catch them." Koran 9:5
"Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable." Koran 3:85
"The Jews and the Christians are perverts fight them."... Koran 9:30
"Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticize Islam" Koran 5:33

“Allah’s Messenger said: it is a severe warning to the Christians who claim to be the followers of Isa (Jesus) and he will break the Cross and kill the pigs, and all mankind will be required to embrace Islam with NO ALTERNATIVE.” (Bukhari 3:2222)"

Quran (8:12) - "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

Quran (8:67) - "It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he had made a great slaughter in the land..."


"The Islamic Reformation" - We're still waiting... but muslims believe their 8th century holy book is unassailable and its teachings are wholly relevant today.

Apostasy is still recognized as punishable by death.

TalkyMcTalkface in reply to Sempervirens

The big problem with the Koran is that it is the perceived literal word from god. It cannot be changed or read in anything but a literal way. The old/new testaments of the bible however are accepted to be the work of man (although divinely inspired) and as such are open to interpretation. Another problem is that, unlike the prophet of the new testament, the prophet of the Koran spread his values by the sword, so muslims around the world want nothing better than to emulate the life of a 7th century desert warlord.


As the author and other progressive globalists resign themselves to the inevitable Islamic takeover of Europe, many, including the United States, are not so easily subdued. I am not Islamophobic. I am Islamomesoic. That is, I dislike the Islamic culture for being the primitive, uncivilized, homophobic, misogynistic and violent belief and political system that it is. In essence, I like my current culture and I would like to keep it as it is now.

Note: I do not dislike the people, just the belief system. I also dislike progressive globalists, socialists, and communists, including Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid. I also dislike TE for printing fakes news and promoting leftist propaganda.

Statements like, "Others retort indignantly that the Islamic world’s problems are the fault of its Western foes, from crusaders to European colonists, who bruised the collective Muslim psyche" only confuse history and obscure the fact that Islam presented an existential threat to Europe and European culture. The Crusades paled in number and intensity as compared with the Islamic onslaught.

Books, intellectual musings, speeches, debates, or any other high-minded dialogue of rationalization, will never assuage the different world-view between Islamic and western thought. They are incompatible. These word games will never relieve the world of the Islamic invasion that is taking place in slow motion.

If you do not believe this, move to Iran and enjoy the full fruits of an Islamic nation. Or, go to Sweden to observe the invasion first hand. If we wait too long before waking up, the rest of the world will be just like Iran.

There is a sharp line between the Judeo-Christian and Islamic worlds, and the flow of immigration along that line is one-way. The people of the Islamic world themselves assert which of the two is preferable.

And yet it is fashionable in the Western world to praise Islam and condemn the campaigns of war that kept its spread at bay. Like petulant teenagers, we bite the hand that feeds us.

Jackie Holt

If Islam's problems are the fault of the West, why don't we see problems in other regions? In India, in South America? Where is the pushback on human rights and secular law in these regions? Where is the huge sectarian bloodshed?

And why has Western empire 'bruised' the collective Muslim psyche, but Muslim empire is seen in a more rounded light in India, Spain and Southern and Eastern Europe? Why, indeed, is the West blamed for the Crusades, while Islam is forgiven for the brutal expansion termed the Arab Conquests? What makes conquests under the banner of one religion acceptable, but for another religion unacceptable? The Crusades were, after all, a Christian response to the conquest of swathes of Christendom.

I don't buy into the idea that Islam cannot reform, but let's not allow it to foster such hypocritical grievances against the West. It is precisely the warped perspective of history which gives spurious legitimacy to Muslim anger against the West. European empire was no different to any other - Christian or Muslim - the conquered were ruthlessly controlled and exploited: there were just as many rebellions against the Ottomans as against the British; or indeed, against the pre-Islamic Persians as against the pre-Christian Romans.

The reason for the Muslim world lashing out against the West is the chauvinism of Salafist ideology: an ideology which insists it is superior to all others (including other sects of Islam) and which insists it has the God given right to rule over all humanity. Which sounds suspiciously like fascism.

Let's not give fascists a helping hand by giving credence to a lopsided view of history which allows them to play the victim card. Instead, we ought to set the historical record straight and champion the West's development of secularism and universal human rights.


The only solution to avoid such a clash is segregation. Leaders likes Trump and Marine Le Pen, who you called anti-muslim are less likely to bring about the clash then liberals likes your precious Obama. Western values and Sharia laws are worlds apart so it's westerners' right to ban us from entering their country or to not allow Islamic lifestyle inside their boarders. It's also our right to have sharia laws inside our boarders and it's absolutely nothing to do with westerners how we live in our lands. We won't brook homosexuality and feminism inside our boarders and it's not your business.
Muslims and Westerners cannot becomes friends but it doesn't necessary follow that we have to fight each other. We cannot have any cultural interaction, yet we could do business for the sake of our pecuniary interests.
You want diversity, we want homogeneity. You name it Monogamish, we name it cuckoldry. Your wives and girls are orts of fetid-mouth aliens but no one is allowed even to touch ours outside of marriage. Live a life as befit you and we will live inside our boarders according to what we deem appropriate. 99% of you are nothing more than ciphers who're programmed to spout liberal platitudes such as diversity to profess to be well-educated. lulz! Segregation, segregation and segregation.

Kurt Lessing in reply to mohdan

Thank you for sharing your interesting views. We don't get that sort of insight in this line of thinking. But segregation won't save you. You can close borders, but not to ideas, certainly not in the 21st century. You have nothing to offer, not to your youth and especially not to your women and that is the reason you will loose in the end and that without a shot fired.

Kurt Lessing in reply to mohdan

Thank you for sharing your interesting views. We don't get that sort of insight in this line of thinking. But segregation won't save you. You can close borders, but not to ideas, certainly not in the 21st century. You have nothing to offer, not to your youth and especially not to your women and that is the reason you will loose in the end and that without a shot fired.

guest-ajalease in reply to Kurt Lessing

Mohdan has a good point. Like fences that make good neighbors, segregation allows people the freedom to live as they like without a fascist state telling everyone how to live the same way. Freedom is not free if the government shoves a forced diversity and diverse culture down our throats.

Give me segregation, away from the hoards of unwashed idiots who even Hillary eschewed and called Democratic low lives and idiots.

Mario Ferretti in reply to mohdan

Cultural segregation is the natural state of hunter-gatherer groups, because living on the border of subsistence means very low population densities on the ground. But—since the Neolithic Revolution—sustained economic progress has altered that via demographic growth, leading inevitably to cultural contact (and conflict) with strangers. Moreover, large growth differentials due to uneven cultural innovations have produced since time immemorial vast scale migrations into already inhabited regions with different cultures. True, the detailed dynamics of the process has changed during the latest century, with the demographic transition in some areas leading to a reversal of migration flows. But the upshot remains the same: you cannot stop the meeting of historically different cultures on an increasingly small planet. Neither would you really think that you need to, was it not for the fact that some cultures include intolerance, leading to violence. So it's the culture of intolerance that you really want to stop, not any cultural contacts. And that—as European history seems to suggest—is probably feasible.

Claudia Larson in reply to Kurt Lessing

So! Open YOUR front door 24/7 and invite people to eat everything in your frig and give them the pass word to your Bank Account NOT MINE, you pay for their education and Medical care and DON'T ASK YOUR NEIGHBORS CAUSE THEY HAVE BORDERS!!

Same with countries.... DA!