Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Studies

First Advisor

Vijay Prashad

Second Advisor

Janet Bauer


Islamophobia is on the rise and is now a sentiment that has transcended almost every European country. In the aftermath of 9/11 and the subsequent bombings in Madrid and London, anxiety and fear of the “other” has been heightened. This fear has been harnessed by political parties in many European countries, most notably Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and France. These countries all have supported political parties that have formed an anti-Muslim platform. The main claim is that the “Islamic identity” is incompatible with the “European identity”. Despite these xenophobic attitudes, the immigration population still inhabits European countries and continues to grow. An intense debate has ensued about the immigration and integration polices within many European countries. Immigration policies in general are being reexamined in the rise of this discourse.

My thesis examines the issues and questions surrounding the conflict of foreigners in Europe. Through my research I have found that the issue of Muslim immigrants in Europe is particularly problematic and complex. My paper seeks to outline the immigration and integration policies in Europe and to compare the difference in circumstances in Southern and Northern Europe. I have focused on Spain as a sample country for Southern Europe, and Denmark as a sample country for Northern Europe. While my findings and conclusions are by no means true for all Southern or Northern European countries, there is evidence of general trends for each region. My thesis is framed by this comparison but what it really analyzes is why countries have such a challenge with the successful integration of immigrants. I look towards historical imperial legacies, 20th century migration trends, geographical location, the legal systems, and the construction of national identities.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in International Studies.