That reality notwithstanding, European societies initiated a process that has resulted in their demographic transformation. To a considerable degree, European societies can be regarded as agents of their own metamorphoses. Whether intentional or not, one of the effects of European imperial expansion has been the opening of the continent to penetration by peoples from without. This is not to ignore the reverse of that process, efforts on the part of non-Europeans to conquer the continent. The impact of that activity does not begin to approach that which was spurred through European initiative. Whatever its source, the multicultural transformation of European societies has been well underway for quite sometimeo say that minority peoples in Western Europe coexist uneasily with the majority population is to greatly understate the dimensions of the condition. Nearly every significant indicator of social cohesion indicates that a path toward multiculturalism in Western Europe has been less than smooth. The preponderance of the major cities of the region, where demographic change has been most apparent, has been theaters of inter-group conflict. The early promise of multicultural harmony in Western Europe, in contrast to the American experience across the Atlantic, has given way to mutual recrimination and animosity. The incidence of racial tension will be detailed in the discussion to follow. Suffice it to say though that there has been an alarming rise in xenophobia, discrimination, and acts of violence attributable to social discord throughout Europe. National and multinational efforts are being undertaken to help mend those tears in the societal fabric. Despite these efforts, the impression left on the peoples of the region by these difficulties has probably been indelible.