Integration and society

Tito Boeri, a famous Italian economist, analyzes the meaning of the terrible events in Rosarno. The integration of immigrants, from his point of view, is a crucial issue in Italy. Migrants are an economic benefit, but they are also a source of social tension for hosting communities.

The events in Rosarno proves that confining the problem of integration solely into a religious dimension is reductive and intellectually dishonest. He criticizes the thesis of the impossibility of integrating Muslims, and historical arguments of three facts (according to a representative survey carried out by Fondazione Rodolfo Debenedetti, Nov-Dec 2009):

1. One out of every three Italians don’t want Muslims as neighbors. They also don’t want Jews, right or left wing extremists, or AIDS sufferers.
2. Muslim immigrants speak Italian, send their children to public schools and have contact with Italian citizens more than other minorities.
3. Most immigrants work more than Italian citizens.

The answers to issues raised by Muslim immigration, although complex and challenging, cannot be nourished by prejudices. On the contrary, we have to be humble and doubt. We have to observe in order to learn, and to rely on facts and figures to put effective and non discriminatory policies in place.