All too frequently, experts discussing conflict in Europe cite the competing groups as Muslims vs Christians or those born in a nation vs recent arrivals. Lost in this view of conflict is any awareness of tensions between immigrant groups who vie for similar goals in housing or jobs. The Netherlands is being rocked by a growing conflict between Muslim and Moluccans who have come to blows and many fear it will escalate into more serious consequences. Sociologist Rudy Koopmans says, “it’s all about competition for public space, but it could also be about competition for the labor market.” The current tension arose when a car owned by a Moluccan was damaged by a group of Morrocan youths.
This form of tension between immigrant groups IS the history of American immigrants. Some recent arrivals refuse to back down when confronted. As Moluccan Rev. Nah Sahaleka emphasizes a Moluccan “won’t be driven into a corner. Whatever it cost we try to defend the area in which we live.” This feeling reflects a sense of strong family and community ties. The good news is such feelings reduce crime within an ethnic area, the bad news is it results in willingness to confront “the stranger” who enters your turf.