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Italy: Should Europe take a cue from the US on Muslim relations?

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MILAN, ITALY – After watching President Obama's speech, Khaled Fouad Allam, an Algerian-born Italian sociologist, said, "America is teaching Europe a lesson."

"Besides its symbolic value, [Obama] is showing that dialogue with Islam is possible, that there is a common battle against extremism of all faiths," says Mr. Allam, who teaches at the University of Trieste and recently wrote an essay on perceptions of Obama in the Muslim world.

The US is “relaunching a dialogue between civilizations, just as many Europeans nation are taking an ostrich position," Allam says, explaining further that he believes Europe is essentially ignoring its own growing Muslim population.

“Some countries, such as Italy, France, or Belgium, don’t even manage to have a dialogue with their own Muslim communities,” says Allam. Italy and its neighbors “need to learn how to make their own Muslim citizens feel they are an active part of society, and stop looking at them through ethnic prisms.”

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