05 May 2004

Murdoch Warns About European Muslims, EU, Saudis
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch let his hair down during a business conference in Los Angeles this past weekend, warning of rough times ahead.

"There is going to be real trouble coming in Europe, I think," Murdoch said, noting the large Muslim communities living in France.

Calling his observations random thoughts, Murdoch told the Milken Institute's annual three-day Global Conference at the Beverly Hilton Hotel about his fears.

He sees terrorist breeding grounds in France, offered a blunt critique of the European Union, and voiced fears about Saudi Arabia and China, according to Australia's Financial Review.

Among his other concerns:

* "The Muslim populations in France and Germany are much bigger proportionately to what they are in this country [the U.S.] and they have made a very bad job of assimilating them. "The U.S.," he said, has done a "pretty good job of assimilating" its Muslim population and only has "pockets of trouble here and there."

* "They [Europe] have major centers of problems that are just boiling up. Paris is surrounded by vast blocks of tens of thousands of apartments - all Muslim, all no-go areas for police and totally lawless. There is more danger of terrorist attacks coming than what we have here," he said.

* The European Union has "no political leadership with the will to change." "You have this awful French socialist bureaucracy stuck in Brussels, which is deterring investment in Europe, which is over-regulating every business and everybody."

* The outlook for Saudi Arabia is glum, he said, and is casting a dark cloud on the horizon for the world's economy. "I think the most outstanding thing to worry about, if we are talking about urgency, is in the Middle East and it is with Saudi Arabia.

"Saudi Arabia is really the swing. If there was a revolution there it would happen overnight and you might see oil go from $40 to $80 or $90 [a barrel] and that wouldn't simply affect us. It would bring China and Japan and all those countries into a pretty terrible state."