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A Europe of Mohammeds

According to Norway's The Local English-language news website, Mohammed became the most common male name in Oslo, surpassing Jan and Per, which are in the second and third spots respectively. Apparently, for the last four years in a row, Mohammed was at the top of the list of male names in Oslo. The city itself is 8.4 percent Muslim.

To most Americans, really, to most people outside of Scandinavia, Norway is a land of beautiful, breathtaking nature; deliberate polite, tall, and blond people; delicious herring; and to those more intellectually aware - Knut Hamsun, Henrik Ibsen, Edvard Munch, Roald Amundsen, Fridtjof Nansen, and Thor Heyerdahl (and Roald Dahl, Jo Nesbø, and the fashionably trashy europop band Aqua of "Barbie Girl" fame to drop some rungs down the ladder). Until a few years ago, no one associated Norway with mass Muslim immigration.  Like elsewhere in western Europe, this is changing rather fast.

According to the Russian news website Lenta.ru, not only in Oslo, but in Rotterdam, Hague, Utrecht, Amsterdam, and Brussels, Mohammed is the most popular newborn name. In Milan, this typically Lombard name became the most popular not only among newborns, but among the city's businessmen. I had the misfortune of running into these "businessmen" during my four days in Milan last month. They specialize in hassling both tourists and locals at the square outside the Duomo cathedral, thrusting their shabby wares (strings and toys) in your face while aiming for your bag and wallet.

More troubling, than the Mohammed statistic is the reaction to it of one Jørgen Ouren of Norway's central statistical bureau SSB. "It is very exciting", said the leftist bureaucrat to The Local. Perhaps outrageous is a better word than "troubling" in these circumstances.

Eugene Girin

Eugene Girin is a New York-based attorney and commentator.

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